Thursday, July 15, 2010

Curved Towers

It was quite a draining Thursday at work, and coming to the end of it I do feel like re-energizing myself with a quick shutter therapy session. If you know me well enough, you would know the fact that usually I leave my camera behind on weekdays and only go full on shutter mode on the weekends. However, special circumstances called for exceptions, and after work I stormed my way to KLCC, chasing the last bit of sunset.

I was hoping to capture a few night shots of the infamous twin towers. However, I was also well aware that this structure must have been photographed millions of times by millions of tourists and locals alike, with camera phones, compact cameras, DSLRs, film cameras…. And God knows what other kind of recording tools known to mankind. If I were to make another ordinary looking KLCC shot, it would have been a total waste of time, no? I myself have taken shots of this building for probably more than half a dozen times already, both during day and night time. It is time to try out something new, at least something different that I have yet to try.

View from the park.

What I had in mind before and during the shoot:

1) Exaggerated perspective

To create the wider scene, I intended to exaggerate the sides of the frame, to pull them out, amplifying the space captured in the photographs. This may not be the best interests of everyone, but capturing a technically perfect photograph all the time is getting boring. Lets just break the rules once in a while and let loose!! Screw the rules; I want to do what I want to do.

2) Sense of scale

To show how large the structure, or the entire area being cramped into that one frame, I used passer by people as measuring scale. Having sense of scale can open up the sense of being there, true to the extent and magnitude of the subjects. KLCC is tall and huge, but how tall and how huge?

3) Distortion fetish

I wanted to implement imperfections in my output. Humans are not defined by their perfection, because no one is perfect. It is our imperfections that made us who we are.

Why do the buildings have to be perfectly straight, and not bend over? Yes, in reality they are perfectly vertical, but if every single photograph is going to repeat what we visually record in reality, don’t you think it is getting a little bit over-redundant? With some extra-added distortion effects, the structures can be presented in a fresh point of view, something many people may not have imagined seeing before. Again this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am slowly breaking away from the norm here. Honestly. I do not wish to be called boring !!

4) Golden Hour

I was really hoping the time before, during and after sunset hours would add drama to my KLCC shots. Unfortunately, cruel Malaysian skies are just plain useless. There is no such thing as golden ray, no such thing as beautiful sky, everything was just so plain and uninteresting. This is one area which is lacking, and I do wish KLCC was built somewhere else in the world sometimes. Seriously, the weather and sky do not do justice to the grandeur of this majestic structure.

What I did during and after the shoot:

1) Tripod

All shots taken with camera mounted on a tripod

2) General Settings

All settings were set for Long Time Exposure method. ISO 100, Manual Exposure, Shutter Speed varies from 4 to 8 seconds, Aperture F8-11, Manual Focus, IS (Image Stabilization) off, composition via Live View, mirror lock-up set to 2 seconds delay.

3) Multiple Shots

Most images were taken with at least 6 to 9 separate images, to be combined and stitched together in a panorama software later. Use of tripod was essential in making sure everything was properly leveled for easier stitching.

4) Panorama Action

I used Hugin, a freeware pano-sticthing software for my final output. I added the fisheye effect to create the distorted effect.

This is nearly 180 degrees view (both horizontally and vertically), taken at the front of the main entrance to KLCC.

I am well aware that photography purists, or technical junkies would fire nuclear missiles at me right now. Well, I do not care really. If I were to shoot the KLCC for newspaper or travel magazines, yes I will abide by the rules and create universally accepted kind of photographs. However, I am not shooting for others but only for myself. Hence I am free to explore out-of-the ordinary options, some which others may not quite agree, but seriously, I should learn to stop worrying about what others think and focus on what truly makes me happy.

Weekend is near. Heavier dosage of shutter therapy shall follow. I am looking forward to that.


  1. You made KLCC look so small and stunted and practically fit everything in 1 frame.Screw the rules, I like it. Lol

  2. hey rustie,
    thanks !! Yeah screw the rules !!

  3. That´s f-ing awesome..........

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