Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to get Long Exposure Light trails In a HDR image.

        One of my Favorite places to shoot and just explore is the streets of Shibuya. So last week i wanted to re-create one of my images that i took earlier this year but this time i wanted to have the traffic coming towards me with long light trails coming towards me.  So i started to look around the area and looking on 500PX i found a few images that had the look i was trying to get. However i wanted to do a HDR of it and put my little spin on it. So i had a place and a plan on how to go after this new shot i have been thinking of. Here is the image (pictured below) that i was wanting to re-create that i did after i seen Trey Ratcliff image.
My first shot of the intersection.

So i took the local train to Shibuya station and went to the spot that i had picked out earlier that week. It was a little median that divided the lanes of traffic heading north and south. So i went to the spot and started to set up my gear and looking for the best composition that would show off the local area and get the light trails of the traffic that i was looking to capture.  I set up my Canon 5D Mark III with my 17-40 F4L on my Manfrotto 293A4 tripod. I really enjoy this set up and how handle and what i put it through.  I started to use a remote timer over the last few weeks to reduce camera moment and get that sharper image i look for and it working just fine. Its the Neewer LCD Timer Shutter Release Remote Control.  Its a fraction of the price of the name brand Cannon remote, but it works just the same as the high end one. The only down side is that there is no ON/OFF switch so you have to remove a battery to keep it from draining the battery when not in uses.  Here is a video of what the whole set up looks like in action.

Now that we have seen the whole set up to capture the images that i needed. I set up the Camera to do a set of 5 exposures to try and capture all the dynamic range of light in this area.
Final Image

6 images that i used.
I shot a -2 / -1 / 0 / +1 / +2  for 5 shots plus 1 shot at -4 for just the highlights of the signs.  But that hard part of this was just trying to time it just right for the light trails i was looking for since i  was working with shutter speeds of 1 secs or more.  I think it took about 7 or 8 attempts to get the buses and the streaks in the right part of the frame. I wanted to get the light trails very close to me in the frame but still leading back towards the intersection.  Best thing i have learned from doing this kind of stuff is just being patient and good things will come to you. Cause right when i was about to give up, I had 2 buses go by at the same time! how cool is that!!!!
     So now i have the images with the light trails that i been wanting to capture. All i have to do now is create the image that i have been wanting to create.  I use Photomatix/Lightroom 5/Photoshop CS6/ and NIK plugins. I know that its a lot of software use to create one final image but every single one has something that i need from it. I could make a very long video just on editing but i will leave that for another day. till then, get out there and explore!