The Steel Mosque – Masjid Tuanku Zainal Abidin

I’ve been home for about 24 hours now but my body is so confused that it might take 24 more to get me back on track.  What with the 12 hour time difference, 21 hours in the air, and a little Daylight Savings Time to boot and I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.  I’ll probably crash hard sometime this afternoon but since I was up early I took the opportunity to process one of the HDR images I shot while visiting Putra Jaya in Malaysia.  Putra Jaya is the home to most of the national government buildings in Malaysia.  There is some controversy over how much money was spent to build everything, including a big lake and seven bridges (which wouldn’t have been needed if they hadn’t built the lake).  But all that aside, it really is an amazing place with spectacular bridges, wonderful architecture, and a big, wide boulevard for national parades.

This particular image shows a view of Masjid Tuanku Zainal Abidin, otherwise known as the Steel Mosque.  The view is from the main boulevard, through a giant archway.  I wanted to get a direct, head-on view but there was an Indian video crew making some sort of music video or something just off to my left so I settled for this view.

Putra Jaya Mosque-sm

So here’s the technical info on the image above.  I shot a 5-image bracket with my camera set to high-speed continuous.  I didn’t have my tripod with me so I just made sure that my shutter speeds were going to be fast enough to hand-hold.  One thing I like to do when shooting hand-held brackets, besides having fast shutter speeds, is to set my focus point on a specific spot in the image.  This helps me from drifting the camera during the exposure sequence.

Once captured, I imported the images into Lightroom and did some minor adjustments to the white balance and a little image spotting (my sensor really needs a good cleaning).  From Lightroom, I exported the five images into Photoshop using the Merge to HDR command in Lightroom.  I still prefer the image alignment in Photoshop over Photomatix so once the HDR image was created I saved the file as an EXR and then opened it in Photomatix Pro for some tonemapping.  I tried to stay fairly light with the tonemapping settings and then saved the image as a 16-bit TIFF file.  From there I imported the tonemapped image back into Lightroom where I could do the rest of my image processing (clarity, black point, vibrance, saturation, etc.) and then back to Photoshop one last time for some perspective correction and a little noise reduction in the sky areas using Nik Dfine 2.0.

It sounds like a lot of work but it really only took about 20 minutes total for the whole process.  I have a lot of other images that I am looking forward to processing, like some panoramas and more HDR images.  I’ll be sure to share my processing and the final images with you in the days to come.

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  • http://mikelao.wordpress.com Mike Lao

    nice one… went to putra jaya last year (i think) and the buildings there are really huge! it’s like they just don’t run out of space… =)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/iskandarazaman Iskandar Azaman

    Just had to tell you I had a great 2 weeks of photography. Thanks. Learned a hell of a lot especially on Lightroom. Now I’m slowly transferring EVERYTHING to Lightroom. It’s taking awhile since I didn’t really manage my photos all that well before this. Such a powerful software and to think it was just lying there being used for the occasional JPEG snapshot processing.

    Great shot by the way. The Indian movie crew did get the best spot for this particular shot. Been browsing through your HDR stuff and tutorials. AWESOME. I’ve always disliked the cartoony HDR effect but your tutorial was great showing how it can be used to create a more realistic photo. Will be ordering Photomatix Pro soon. :-)

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  • http://www.kentoneyphoto.com Ken Toney

    Jeff, i do alot of HDR’s and one thing I’ve always wondered is if you make white balance adjustments before you merge do you do them to all of the set of photos in sync (ie raw sync)? I use bridge and cs4. I have lightroom but am not comfortable with it yet. Been shooting for 35 years. thanks

    • http://www.revellphotography.com jeff

      Ken, you should always sync any pre-HDR processing for your images. Color correcting just one can lead to some funky color balances when you try to combine them.

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