My Photography: Jakarta National Monument Panorama

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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 is 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 a 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 the 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 the day. Actually, I want to go there in the morning but I can’t. The good thing is I was planning to shoot 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 on a bus, and then went to a mall and bought an 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 walk about 2 km, I think, in the middle of the day. The good thing was it’s cloudy and the place was always windy. So it kinda helps 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 weight leverage, since it was windy.

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

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

The planed was to use my NiSi Nano IR ND32000 filter and create a long exposure effect (the huge one). But I decided not to do it for some reason. The first is for technical reasons. I wanted to shoot a panorama. In my experience, long exposure and panorama don’t work well. The problem is that when you put it to software and stitch all the photos into a panorama, sometimes 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 mismatched. The second is for a personal reason. At the time, I felt like the cloud look amazing. I felt it would be a shame if I just move 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 shoot 180 degrees on all sides from left to right with Monas in the middle. Each shot has the same 2/3 frame as the previous shot. These are all the photographs that I took:

For that shot, it took almost 30 minutes. 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 is not only hard in the processing step but also in the 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 into a 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 minutes 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 a 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 a panorama isn’t visible at first glance. But can be seen in the detail.

Take a look at the Jakarta National Monument 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

There’s a way to fix it. I can just patch it up. All I did was 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 a 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 the photo is 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 edit 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 parts to 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 buildings. 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 looks 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 finished, next are the subjects. Using Silver Efex Pro 2, I edited the subjects, meaning the buildings and Monas. Since I have already selected all of them, I can edit them specifically. And here is what I did:

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

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

The gray dots are radial filter

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


Jakarta National Monument Panorama

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And that’s how I create the black and white fine art cityscape of Jakarta National Monument Panorama. If you think it complicates. Because it is.

When I said it was hard for my laptop, it’s because of how heavy the photo data is. Imagine this, one RAW photo is sometimes heavy for a normal computer to process. Causing lag and loading. Now, what happens when you combine 12 RAW photos into one? My laptop is not exactly for photo editing. Which is one of the reasons 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.

Check out more of my photography in my gallery and Instagram.


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