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6 Nov 2013

Weather is good this morning, and I went out searching for a inspirational topic that I could work on at Fort Canning Park which I last came here 5 years ago. Not before long after taken only a small handful of photographs, I had to end my field trip as my shoe sole has given way on me.

Fort Canning Park is one of Singapore's most historic landmarks where many ancient artefacts still remain amidst the lush greenery park. Besides the usual flowers and insects/bugs expected of a park, the Fort Canning Park has many other interesting photography subjects such as burial grounds, ancient grave stones, fort gate, battle bunkers, art sculptures and old huge trees.

Standing in the middle of Fort Canning Green, I couldn't help admiring how majestic the huge trees was looking on a green field against the blue sky. The idea of making this entire scene into an art painting struck me.

Does the picture above looks like a beautiful art/oil painting? Turning photographs into an art painting look-alike picture can be done easily by taking bracketing shots of the scene and generating the photographs taken into a single HDR (High Dynamic Range) picture using software programs.

Taking Bracketing Photographs

  • In bracketing, typically 3 identical photographs are taken with different exposure - normal, over-exposed and under-exposed. The amount of "over" or "under" exposure stops is defined in the bracketing function menu which can be accessed from the camera's function menu.
  • It is easier to take the bracketed shots in Aperture Priority (Av) Mode. Adjust the aperture that you want the shots to be taken with.
  • Before taking the 3 bracketed shots, switch the shutter drive mode to multiple shots so that you can just hold the shutter for the 3 shots to be taken. It is best to have a tripod so that the composition of the scene is the same, otherwise it may cause some problems when generating the HDR picture.

Converting to HDR

  • It is easiest to convert bracketed photographs to HDR using software programs such as Photomatix Pro which I'm using. These programs do most of the "stacking" job, and leaves the final adjustment of the picture to you.
  • To make it look more like an art painting, I made further manual adjustment to the generated HDR image by increasing the strength of the dynamic details, color saturation, luminosity and micro-contrast.
Here is another "painting" which I had took from the wall of gravestones along the stairs. I've converted the painting into black and white, and painted color over the walls and stairs.

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