I carry my camera with me everywhere but am rarely moved to pull it out. This particular day, yesterday, I was on my way to buy a light bulb and the clouds surprisingly started to do really nice things. It was pretty dark and I didn’t have my tripod so I waffled on bringing the camera out. In the end I decided to swing over to Hai An road (a newly developed, wide road) to see how things looked from there. The clouds were amazing so I plunked the camera down on a box in the middle of the road and fired off a couple of shots. As is often the case, the first one was the best (the clouds were changing very quickly and as I fine tuned my exposure they lost some of their apocalyptic-ness). This was taken with my trusty Nikkor 28mm f2 manual focus lens at 1/15th of a second at f8 or 11 (the exif doesn’t record on this old lens). It’s really well built, and at 28mm, can cover anything in a snap so it is the lens that I take everywhere with me. Yes, it looks totally photo-shopped but that is what it really looked like! All I really did was bring out the bottom portion with a gradient, increase the clarity in the clouds (just a bit, they really did look that surreal), give the rider in the foreground a bit of lightness, clarity and saturation and then lens correction (I didn’t want to lose the tall building on the right so there is a portion of picture missing that I could clone in). And correction was done in Lightroom, not Photoshop.This one is Photoshopped. Four frames stitched together, not easy with 28mm, then back into Lightroom for a quick and dirty develop. Probably could ease back on the throttle a little.
The sky continued to do amazing things for an hour or so before a light rain came but you’ll have to take my word for it because I didn’t take any more photographs. At one point patches of deep blue poked through the clouds and I considered scooting back to Guo Hua Street (a narrow photogenic alley in the old part of town) but the light bulb had to be bought.
Oh, I set up on Hai An road because I remembered that cross would poke up into the sky and really add to the theme of the photo. No, not really, that was just a happy accident, but it’s nice up there, isn’t it? For me it takes it from a photo of a nice sky to a nice photo that is trying to say something. Something apocalyptic maybe.