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General Blog

Bridges Are Important In Bhutan!

Tachogang Lhakhang Bridge, Bhutan.
Canon EOS 5DSR with 11-24mm lens, 30 seconds and 1/320 second @ f5.6 and f8, ISO 100
NiSi 180mm Filter System with NiSi IR ND1000 10 Stop filter.


David Oliver and I have returned from Bhutan with some great stories and even better photographs. In fact, David was just saying to me yesterday that he thinks he's taken some of his best work in many years and that the whole trip was incredibly inspiring. Certainly I'd be pretty happy too having seen some of his photographs - even if he continues to believe that black and white is the only way to go! :>)


On our first day in Bhutan, the photo above was pretty challenging because the bridge was in deep shade, but the background sky was incredibly light looking into the setting sun. If you click through,you can see the three exposures that were used to put the image together and why, at the end of the article.


Inititally I didn't think the photo was going to work because the bridge tower was so close to the bright sky, but careful exposure has created something that is better than I expected.


However, what I wanted to discuss was the colour balance - the cool foreground with the warm background. In recent photography competitions, I've commented on some entries where the foreground is completely different in colour to the background. For instance, a seascape reflecting a strong orange sky, except the sea is completely blue.


In this photograph, my camera is angled towards the river so that there is no reflection from the background mountainside, yet I felt the photo looked a little unrealistic. How does that work? My solution was to introduce a little warmth on either side of the flowing river, as though the water were reflecting the mountainside, just to tie the foreground and background together. I guess the point to take away is that with post-production so prevalent today, even when something is 'real', we may need to make it 'more real' by doing what we expect to see, even if it wasn't really there.


And thanks to NiSi Filters I was able to use my Canon 11-24mm lens and its bulbous front element with a 10-stop ND filter. You can read a fuller review about NiSi Filters in the AIPP Journal which is currently available for reading here:


If you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article.


This is the processed raw file without the filter, and greatly underexposed to ensure the sky exposure is correct. 

This is the raw file of the 30 second exposure, processed so there is plenty of detail in the foreground to work with. However, there is quite a strong difference between the foreground and background.

This is the same long exposure file, but darkened down and used as a transition between the other two exposures. 


In Photoshop, I loaded the three images into a single file and used masks on their respective layers to control the opacity. The third 'transition' exposure was used on top of the first exposure of the sky, and then the second exposure brushed in underneath to reveal the river. 


We have one place left for Tony Hewitt and my photographic counsel in South West USA. It leaves second half January so don't miss out! Full details on the Better Photography website!


Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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