I did not quite know what got into me today but my hands were unbearably itchy for the whole day, desperate for some shutter clicking action. After work I rushed home to my beloved Olympus PEN E-PL1 with half-charged battery and chucked that into my camera bag with two lenses: the kit lens 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 and also my newly acquired CCTV lens 25mm F1.2. I was not quite sure what I wanted to do, and surely I have no proper plans or whatsoever, all I knew was that I just had to go out and shoot something, to ease that itch. The sky was quite clear and the sun was looking intense, so I made a last minute decision to rush over to the 16th floor of a low cost apartment in the city to shoot a landscape view of Kuala Lumpur approaching sunset.
All images in this entry were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1 and M.Zuiko 14-42mm kit lens, or CCTV lens 25mm F1.2
Panorama Stitched Photograph composed of 9 separate images, created by freeware Hugin.
For larger display (2500px width) please click the image above.
As I was at the top of the low cost apartment, overlooking the heart of Kuala Lumpur, I suddenly realized that my kit lens 14-42mm was not exactly wide enough to capture the sweeping landscape I have had in mind. In all honesty, 14mm (or 28mm in 35mm format equivalent focal length) is not really sufficiently wide for most of my wide angle shooting. I have been so used to my beloved Zuiko Digital 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 (in reality, many reviewers have commented that the field of view was closer to 10mm) that at 11mm focal length, I can squeeze in a lot more width into my frame. Now, not happy being restricted to just 14mm, I did not give up. I shot 9 separate images, with intention of them being stitched together to form a larger panorama photograph, wide enough to display what I have pictured in my mind.
In order to create the panorama image, a few things must be taken into consideration. To maintain consistent exposure, I shot all 9 separate images in manual, making sure all shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings were the same. I trust Olympus' in camera Auto White Balance engine to be consistent, hence I left the white balance to Auto. In case your camera is being overly sensitive to changes of white balance as you shift the camera around, you might want to set the white balance manually to minimize irregular colour blending when you stitch the images together. The trick to good panorama shooting is to allow a lot of room for overlapping. I gave each image about 30% or more room to overlap, hence the lines will converge easier, minimizing errors in combining the images. If you are diligent enough to carry a tripod with you, please do so for more controlled output. I shot all the 9 images hand-held, and with a little luck the images combined nicely in the freeware Hugin to deliver the above output. If you are shooting on a tripod, you may increase the number of images to 12 or more, to provide more data for better stitching process.
In case you are wondering what the advanatage of doing this panorama, or was it worth the trouble taking 9 shots and stitching it in computer, let me show you what the 14mm wide end is limited to in the following image:
Single image, taken at 14mm wide end.
In comparison to the earlier panorama image, surely the panorama image has fit in a whole wide world, showing the surrounding villages of Kampung Baru which resisted change and modernization, despite pressure from the government to evacuate the residents there. It was indeed a stark contrast having traditional village setting residing just adjacent to a concrete jungle erected with skyscrapers. Should I have decided to just stay with the 14mm, the story-telling capability of that restricted field of view would not fulfill my intention of showing the contrast between the two worlds that exist together, side by side in Kuala Lumpur. I have always, always stressed the importance of having an ultra wide angle lens. Of course, if you have the 9-18mm, or even better the 7-14mm, you can save yourself the trouble of going through all this painful panorama shooting procedure. But where is the fun when it gets too easy?
I did not intend to stay long at Kampung Baru, because that area was known to be high crime zone, hence I left before sunset. I took a train to KLCC which was just one stop away, and had a quick dinner there. After dinner, I went to the top floor, and visited Kinokuniya, one of the largest and most reputable bookstores in Malaysia. Guess what I found at the photography section?
Hi Kirk!! Nice to find your LED Lighting on our local bookshelves here !!
As I have mentioned before, this roaming around did not have any purpose thought out beforehand. It was practically aimless, and I had no fixed direction to go. After spending about an hour at the bookstore, I felt a little exhausted already, not surprising since it has been indeed a long day. However, that itch for shutter clicking has not been satisfied, and I was going to go home just yet.
So I took a longer stroll to another LRT station which was at Hang Tuah near Times Square (about 2km walk away). Along the walk, I just kept myself relaxed, and when I saw something interesting, I clicked the shutter button. I think in this session my photographs are being as random as they can be. I just wanted to be out there, and snapped something. Anything. It did not matter if I come home with anything usable, I just wanted to walk and shoot a little. Sometimes, it is the process of shooting that is truly enjoyable, regardless of the end results.
I did not even know what I was thinking when I shot this. I saw the guy walking into the bright, colorful background, and I just clicked the shutter button.
A muslim boy awaiting for the time to break the fast. It is the month of Ramadan where the Muslims have to fast all day till sunset. It was very, very near to sunset and you can see that frustration on the kids face.
I came home feeling so much better. Shutter therapy to me, is a way to relax and take off my worries from my mind for a while, and let myself heal.
This weekend is going to be a very, very busy one indeed. And that means, even more shutter therapy sessions to counter-balance things off !!