Tag Archives: tree

St Mary’s Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Today’s Photo

For the past week or two, a number of the older historic stone buildings in downtown Sydney have presented projected lighting displays on the front of the building. Of these, the most impressive has been at St Mary’s Cathedral. A dramatically lit structure throughout the year, it really comes alive with the projected display of lights and moving images that are set to music and designed to match the building’s contours and details. Unfortunately, as fabulous and dramatic as my photo is, it doesn’t do the display justice.

St Mary's Christmas

St Mary's Cathedral at Christmastime

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Posted in Cultural, HDR, Photography, Sydney Also tagged , , , , , , |

Darling Harbour Christmas

Today’s Photo

Once a large industrial area, Darling Harbour is now mostly a tourist ghetto with overpriced restaurants, bars, and shops next to downtown Sydney. A lot of cultural events are held there throughout the year, many being of the semi-manufactured type where a foreign holiday or festival is recreated in an attempt to bring the community together.

For several nights over the weeks leading up to Christmas, carols are sung at the Darling Harbour Christmas tree followed by a small fireworks display over the water. The event of course draws large crowds, which for some reason seems to have a large percentage of Asians, greater than what might be expected from the community at large. Maybe it’s just the proximity of Darling Harbour to Chinatown, but if anyone has some cultural insight into why the Asian community might enjoy this type of event more than people of other ethnic backgrounds, I’d be curious to hear your comments.

Holiday at Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour Christmas Tree and holiday crowd

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That HDR Thing…

That HDR Thing happens to be one of the latest crazes in photography. HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is a technique used to bring out more depth in an image, or the difference between the light and dark areas. The human eye has a much greater dynamic range than the current digital cameras can produce. In order to improve the dynamic range of an image, multiple images shot at different exposures; usually three exposures are bracketed +/- 2 stops, although some people will do 5 or even 7 exposures. The multiple images are then processed using either Photoshop or a separate dedicated program, one of the most popular being Photomatix.

HDR is somewhat ‘controversial’ (can’t we all just get along?) and it seems that most photographers either love it or hate it. Depending on how the images are processed, the final result can look incredibly realistic or can have a surreal, even apocalyptic feel to them. Photographers who don’t care for HDR tend to base their arguments on the idea that with all the post-processing and photoshopery required that HDR isn’t really ‘photography’. I tend to take a middle road viewpoint. Although I generally prefer images that are processed to look realistic, and that’s how I try to make mine (with varying degrees of success), I can appreciate images that are processed a bit more over-the-top. It’s just art. Photography is art. How an image got to its final form to me is irrelevant.

That said, I don’t feel the need to turn every photo I take into an HDR image but it definitely has some uses. I find it most useful for architectural and interior shots (see today’s photo). I’ve sometimes used it for landscapes as well, although I feel the dynamic range problems often inherent with landscape photography are usually best alleviated in-camera using neutral density filters.

This is a pretty basic explanation of what HDR is. If you’re interested in learning more, Trey Ratcliff at Stuck in Customs has some great tutorials and ebooks on how to do HDR as well as a daily blog with some great travel photography.

Today’s Photo

This is another one from Queen Victoria Mall in Sydney. It’s the bottom of a Christmas tree that extends up through three floors of the mall. If you look closely, you can see it in the background of this image.

Christmas Tree at Queen Victoria Mall

Christmas Tree at Queen Victoria Mall

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Posted in Cultural, HDR, Photography, Sydney Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

At Circular Quay

The City of Sydney skyline at night as seen from Circular Quay.

Sydney Skyline at Circular Quay

Posted in Photography, Sydney, Urban Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Sydney Sunset

The sun sets over the City of Sydney in the distance.

Sydney Sunset

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Posted in Landscape, Photography, Sydney Also tagged , , , , , , , , |