Blue Hour Photography in Singapore and Beyond

Making of a Photograph: Part 1 – Gyeongbokgung Palace (South Korea)

So, I’m also starting a new series called “Making of a Photograph” where I post my best images (personal favourites) and share behind-the-scenes stories. The first up is a photo of Gyeongbokgung Palace that I captured in Seoul, South Korea back in December 2018.

One thing I still remember vividly is how freezing the weather was. At minus 10 to 15 degrees, it was the coldest ever experienced in my lifetime. 😅 After shooting in the extreme cold for a full hour without having gloves, I couldn’t even put my lens cap back on the lens, because my hands went completely numb. 😂

As for the technical aspect, I used a 3 stop ND filter for this shot, extending 4 seconds of base shutter speed into 30 seconds (at f/8). For waterfront cityscapes, I always use a 6 stop ND filter to expose for a few minutes and smooth out the water, but for light trails, I typically expose for 20 to 30 seconds only by using a 3 stop ND filter.

One benefit of using a 3 stop ND filter is I can shoot quite a number of photos during blue hour (unlike using a 6 stop ND), as each exposure is much shorter. In fact, this particular shot was the last photo taken on the day at the very end of dusk (17:51 pm).

Those light trails running in the sky are the lights of a bus. I saw the bus waiting for a traffic light to change to green, so I started the exposure upon the traffic light turning to green in order to record those lights, which I believe added more interest to this photo. 😀

Hope you enjoyed the story. This is one of my most favourite photos taken to date (probably in my lifetime top 5 so far). I’d love to revisit Seoul, but not in winter! Too cold for someone living in the tropics. 😂

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