Nightscape photograph of downtown Bangkok.  Bangkok Images

Bangkok Skyline


You've heard me talk about the "magical minutes" before.  This is the time after sunset when the sky appears dark to the naked eye, where properly exposed you'll find all sorts of color floating around.  Sometimes, as in this case, you'll find the magic colors within 5 minutes of total darkness, sometimes you'll have to keep trying for 30-45 minutes.  And once you find the colors you'll need to fine tune the exposure to take advantage of them.

See the bright reds, the swirls, even the violets and darker purples?  Great stuff.  And none of it is Photoshop.  This is 98% straight from the camera.  The other 2% is adding the border and cropping.  The magic minutes are very common in SEA skies.  You'll need to develop some patience, scout out the best sites, and generally get the feel for it.  But when you do the colors are wild and fun and that, that is significant.  Anyone interested in a step by step "how-to" for the magic minutes?


Rayong Pattaya Thailand

Refinery in Rayong


This is an industrial complex shot.  Specifically an oil refinery.  The image is a bit underexposed, the sky is very dark, and rain drops are starting to fall.  My assignment was to capture an interesting and colorful scene that was both bold and maximized light.  How am I going to do that with this image, have you ever seen anything more drab and boring?

Never say never!  Taking the image is only part of your skill set.  Another part of your skill set is Photoshop, and the other part is your creativeness.  Looking at the above picture I knew it had potential so I sat there staring at it for a few minutes until my vision was complete.  Now I knew how I wanted it to look.  And the sun be damned, if the light wouldn't cooperate with me then I'd cooperate with the light!


Oil Refinery in Rayong Thailand

Edited Refinery Shot


The resulting picture perfectly captured my vision.  I created several adjustment layers and started drawing in the light.  I wanted a directional light from over my right shoulder hitting the shiny steel towers, and from the same direction hitting the cranes and bringing out their yellow colors.  Another layer helped me bring out the dark greens as if light was actually striking them.  One more layer for the light rays on the work truck and sign, and one more for the worker.  Notice how the worker now has blue pants, color in his jacket, the cones are the right color, and his transient is green as it's supposed to be?

101 little things needed to be adjusted to realize my vision.  I think it looks pretty good and the quality will stand up to any size of enlargement.  This is much better than giving up that day, and possibly more days, waiting for the sun to be perfect for your vision.  Sometimes the right tools work just as well to bring your vision to life.