My Photography: Cycling to The South
I have this little tradition that I did every Christmas for the past 3 years. I take my bicycle and taking the long road.
Where to? I don’t know. I choose random road every time. You know, like that thing said in National Geographic:
“Let’s get lost.”
For this year Christmas, my choice of the long road is to the south of Yogyakarta City. Going south means I will end up in Parangkritis beach. From my place to the beach it’s around 35 km and it gonna take around 3 hours ride with a bicycle. From there, I’ll think about it later on.
Because it’s a long travel, of course, I need a lot of preparation. Which I did on the Christmas eve.
The good thing is my bicycle is a touring bike. That means there 2 panniers on front and back; and also a big bag on the back of the bicycle. So I put all the necessary stuff. Food (bread), water (2 bottles), charger, and some bike tools (pump, Allen key, lock plier, and knife) in chase of something happen to my bicycle. All stuffed in the bag.
Of course, I also packed my camera gears. Just the usual stuff, Sony A58 with Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO, Sony A6000 with Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens, Nisi 15 Stop Super Stopper and remote shutter. All in my Lowepro Passport Sling III, which then I put in the bicycle’s bag. Also my Sirui T-2204X tripod, which I strapped on the front pannier of my bicycle.
So there’s the preparation for the next day.
The Long Road
I know it gonna be a long road when I start preparing my bicycle, and so I must go out as early as possible. I already awoke 02:00 AM and began cycling around 04:30 AM. What I forgot at the time that I live in the far north of the city and because of that, it took me almost an hour to reach the south end of the city. When the I reach the south side of Yogyakarta, the sun already rises.
But I already expected something gone off the plan (since I’m a sloppy person). So it doesn’t really matter to me.
So there I was at the end of the city and taking the straight road to the south. I stopped once in a while to take a breather. I also take a look around, wondering if there anything good to photography. Since I was in the countryside. And I did find some. And so I also stopped few times to take some landscape photography. which I think will look good.
I kinda circling around and because of that, it took me until around 08:00 AM to reach the Parangkritis Beach.
But I didn’t actually go to the beach. No sir, I took a detour.
I arrived at the front gate of the beach. But before I went to the beach, I want to eat something first. Since I haven’t eaten anything. There, at the diner (you can call it a diner, I’m not sure though) I met a group of cyclist. It seems it’s a common place for a cyclist to eat. So I joint them since I all by myself. We had a few conversation and basically ended up with this talk:
“Where are you going?” Asked one of them.
“Well, the plan was to go the beach. And who knows where else.” I answered.
“Then why don’t join us.” One of them offered.
“Huh!? Ehhhh…Okay.” I just said yes.
At first, it sounds like a good plan. It’s not like I actually have a plan of where I want to photograph. Silly me, I should ask first where we were headed.
What I didn’t realize half-way through there is that I was going to Paralayang Parangkritis. I thought it’s another beach, but actually a hill.
I’m going uphill using a bicycle, a bicycle with around 6 kg of stuff on the back. So on the way, I have to get off my bicycle, walk, and push my bicycle uphill. And I can tell you, its heavy. Damn heavy.
The good thing I’m not alone. I’m with the group of cyclist that I just met that morning. They even gave me food.
After the hard work, I finally get to Paralayang Parangkritis.
Beautiful view. From there, I can see the entire south of Yogyakarta. Beach, sea, and the countryside. And obviously, I took some photos.
Since I’m on the hill, obviously I took landscape photography. The problem is to find a good composition, which was difficult. Using my Sony A58 with Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO, I took a variety of shots. Some with maximum focal length (I zoom in).
What I learned that day is taking a photo with my lens in high focal length (80-200mm) with 15 stops ND filter will never work. I tried everything to keep my camera stable and still. But no matter what every time I took a 15 stops long exposure photography, the photo ended up blurry.
My theory is because zooming in cause the lens less stable. If I just take a photo in at least 1/60 sec, it wouldn’t a problem. But if I take a photo in more than 10 seconds, it won’t work. I assume the solution for this problem is by changing my lens with an actual telephoto lens, which I don’t have. So I gave up on long exposure and instead only use the CPL filter.
And here what I took:
After that, I just sat there up to around 12:30 PM. Don’t know where to go. So I decided to go to the beach. Which again, didn’t go exactly as plan.
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Going downhill wasn’t that easy as I thought it would be. It scary actually. But I manage.
And so I cycling in the scorching day. But first I stop by the convenient store and bought an ice cream. Then rode again to the beach. But I took the wrong turn and ended up on the wrong Beach.
Instead of Parangkritis Beach, I ended up at Depok Beach, 6 km to the west of Parangkritis beach. But whatever, a beach is a beach.
Once again I took out my camera gears and set it up to take some photo. The problem is the sun is up above the head and there’s only a few good composition that I could found. And a shot took me a lot of time. A mean seriously, it took me more than 2 hours. I wasn’t moving, just standing there, alone, didn’t move at all.
And here a few shots that I got:
It’s 03:00 PM and I know I have to head back home.
A Long Way Home
It took me almost two and a half hours to get to the city. I make a lot of stops along the way. Because I simply tired. I just wish I can just lay down. Which I did the moment I got to Alun-Alun Selatan. Not exactly home, but I just can’t go anymore.
I lay down for almost an hour while watching the sunset.
And I get back home. To post-processing my photo.
On the second thought, I did it the next day.
My Photography: Cycling to The South:
The next day, I started to check back my photos, choose the best one, and did post-processing. 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.
And here the results:
Unlike the usual, this time I wanted to post-processing my photos in color. Since its a nature landscape photography. But the problem is this: I have two basic principal of a good landscape photography, especially as a color photography, lighting, and composition.
The priority is the lighting. If the light is bad, I wouldn’t bother to try. Since most of my photos were taken around midday, that means the sun is already above the head, which means it wasn’t a good lighting.
But there’s one that has good lighting because it was taken in the morning (around 07:00 AM):
There’s more photo that I haven’t processed yet. There also some photos that I choose to leave for. Because I haven’t got any inspiration.
That’s it for my photography: Cycling to the south.
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