Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

djc_7562When the unthinkable happened and we got not just clouds but drizzle today in Mandalay during our Myanmar (Burma) photo safari it threw us for a bit of a loop. December is typically bone dry here. So we dawdled a bit at a primary school and a nunnery handing out pencils and taking loads of photos while making some new friends before starting our drive up Mandalay Hill for sunset.

And when we first got there our reticence seemed to be justified as the mist shrouded all the typical “view shots” over the city that are favorites at sunset. But then we noticed something unusual. The mist in the sky was picked up the in the temple lights and the dome had a really haunting effect, as if it floated in a slightly dreamy space. Cool! It made for a great shot but after looking at it in the viewfinder I realized it was a little to “clip art” for my tastes without a real foreground and background. Wandering to a different corner of the temple we found a great shrine perched right below the temple dome. Unfortunately it was not nearly as well lit. And flash would never do it justice.

Thankfully HDR was designed for exactly this type of situation. The low light interior shrine and more brightly lit dome were only a few stops of light apart so a simple +1, 0, –1 bracketed trio of shots was enough to work with. A quick run through the “Compressor” setting of Photomatix Pro to keep the natural (already quite saturated) colors while compressing the tonal values and a little perspective correction in Photoshop produced an interesting image:

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I’m sure I can do some more work on it when I have some more time and a bigger screen to work with but it definitely helps convey the moody evening scene at the temple. Definitely a silver lining for a cloudy day!—David