My Photography: Jakarta National Monument Panorama

My Photography: Jakarta National Monument Panorama

If you read my previous blog post, you know that previously I when to Capital Jakarta and shot cityscape and architecture photography. I said, that I shot a lot but haven’t processed all of them yet. Now, I still haven’t. But I did just finish one photograph. This photography probably my hardest photography yet. This is my photography: Jakarta national monument panorama.

This time I wanna show you how I took this photograph and how created it. One step at the time. Specific to this one photography.

Pre-Processing

For this photograph, I took with my camera, Sony A58 with Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO. Sirui T-2204X tripod and remote shutter. All in my Kata DL-B-210 BUMBLE BEE backpack.

My photograph was taken in capital city of Jakarta. Right in the middle of the city in heart and symbol of this national, national monument or simply refer as “Monas.” In the middle of day. Actually I want to go there in morning but I can’t. The good thing is I was planning to shot black and white long exposure photography. So it wasn’t much of a problem.

That’s the plan. Okay…confession?

I don’t really have much of a plan back then. I just packed all my camera gear into my bag, got in a bus, and then went to a mall and bought a earphone. After that, I went to Monas. I even got lost for a bit. But still…I was there with my camera.

Basically I don’t really do much in pre-processing.

Processing

This is how I shot it.

First I scouted the area. The problem is the place is huge and I have to walked about 2 km, I think, in the middle of the day. The good thing was it’s cloudy and the place always windy. So it kinda help a little.

After I found a good spot, I set up my gear. A tripod, attach the camera, and my camera bag to the tripod as a weight leverage, since it was windy.

First I did some trial. Took some shot, adjusted my focus, set up the camera setting, and then I shot the panorama.

My idea was a cityscape photography with Monas as the main subject and some building aligning on the horizon as the background.

The planed was to used my NiSi Nano IR ND32000 filter and create long exposure effect (the huge one). But I decided not to do it for some reason. First is for technical reason. I wanted to shot a panorama. In my experience long exposure and panorama doesn’t work well. The problem is that when you put it to software and stitch all the photos into panorama, sometime it doesn’t work, a simple error. Of course not all the time. Even if you manage to stitch it together, the problem is in the detail, which will be mismatch. Second is for personal reason. At the time, I felt like the cloud look amazing. I felt it would be a shame if I just motion it out of that dramatic looking sky. So in the end I didn’t use the ND filter.

This is how I took the panorama photography:

Attach my camera to the tripod. Put the camera in vertical and shot 180 degree all side from left to right with Monas in the middle. Each shot have the same 2/3 frame of the previous shot. These are all the photograph that I took:

My Photography: Jakarta National Monument PanoramaMy Photography: Jakarta National Monument PanoramaMy Photography: Jakarta National Monument Panorama
My Photography: Jakarta National Monument PanoramaMy Photography: Jakarta National Monument PanoramaMy Photography: Jakarta National Monument Panorama
My Photography: Jakarta National Monument PanoramaMy Photography: Jakarta National Monument PanoramaMy Photography: Jakarta National Monument Panorama
My Photography: Jakarta National Monument PanoramaMy Photography: Jakarta National Monument PanoramaMy Photography: Jakarta National Monument Panorama

For that shot, it took almost 30 minute. In the middle of the day, in the middle of a huge field. Frankly speaking, it’s not easy and for a moment I was thinking, “what the hell I’m doing here?”

Post-Processing

It not only hard in processing step, but also in post-processing step, especially for my laptop.

I used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC, Adobe Photoshop CC, and Google Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 for this photography. I also use Wacom Intuos Pro Small pen tablet.

Before I transform it to black and white cityscape, first I must combine all of the photos into one panorama photo. First I stitch all the photos that I took into one panorama photo. Usually I use Photoshop for this. But not anymore, since Lightroom CC now can create panorama itself.

Select all the photos and right click->photo merge->panorama

Give it a few minute and you can see the preview of the panorama and click OK. And here how it looks like:

Done…just kidding. Not even close.

In my experience in stitching photos into panorama. I never got the perfect one and I’m sure a lot of people experience it, even if they don’t realize it. What I mean is the problem of panorama isn’t visible at first glance, but in the detail.

Take a look at my panorama. Look nice huh. But then I zoom in and then I can see some part of the image doesn’t align well.

See the red circle
When zoom in

There’s a way to fix it. I can just patch it up. All I did import the panorama photo into Photoshop and also import the original photo to match with the crooked part of the panorama. And just combine it using brush tool to make it match and fix it. If I can’t, I used the clone tool to paint the problem part.

fixed

Now this photo ready. Save and close. Back to Lightroom and start with the basic adjustment. Transform to black and white. Just decrease the highlight, increase the shadow, and match the white and black. Then edited it back to Photoshop.

Before I began to edited it in Photoshop, I created a plan on what I’m gonna do with the panorama. And here’s the idea:

Don’t understand? You don’t have to. Basically there are three part in my composition. The ground as my foreground; Monas buildings as the Subject; and the sky as the background.

First I select all of my subjects using the pen tool. Just select the Monas and all the building. So later they have their own adjustment.

Monas and Buildings selection

Then I began editing the background. I used Silver Efex Pro 2. What I want was a smooth looking sky. But at the same time I want to keep the cloud form detail since it look great.

Then I used Silver Efex Pro 2 again for the foreground. For this, I want to make it more visible. So I just reduce the exposure and increase the contrast. And reduce some detail. But not as much as the background.

Now the background and foreground are finish, next is the subjects. Using Silver Efex Pro 2, I edited the subjects, mean the buildings and Monas. Since I already select all of them, I can edited them specifically. And here what I did:

Look pretty good!!! But not yet. I still want more. My final editing go back to Lightroom.

Just burn & dodge in Lightroom. I used radial filter for this and mostly on buildings and gradual filter to decrease the sky and ground exposure. And then brighten some part of the sky and ground with radial tool. Here where I put it:

The grey dots are radial filter

Then I add a little adjustment and sharpening and the finish it up.

Jakarta panorama cityscape with national monument or Monas

***

If you think it complicate, because it is.

When I said it hard for my laptop, it’s because how heavy the photo data is. Imagine this, one RAW photo sometime heavy for a normal computer to process. Causing lag and loading. Now what happen when you combine 12 RAW photos into one? My laptop not exactly for photo editing. Which is one of the reason it took me so long to finish.

I think I broke my laptop. I hope not. Well anyway that’s how I create Jakarta Panorama in black and white fine art.


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