For a very long time, ever since I first stood down by marina bay looking from end to end of the beautiful city skyline, I have always imagined putting that into a picture that did it justice. It was an ambitious goal I had in mind, and to capture that scene while doing justice to the beauty of Singapore's most iconic area, was no easy task.
For those who haven't been to Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands building (the one on the left) sits on the opposite side of the marina to the city. This means that it is very difficult to capture the entire city from one side of the bay to the other. It is not impossible, but it does come with a few problems. To get it in one shot you would need a very wide angle lens, almost a fisheye. What would happen if you shot the city like this? Well, you would end up with a lot of sky, a lot of water, and a very underwhelming city through centre of the frame because the lens has distorted the image so much, that it “squashes” all the buildings and make them appear very flat.
In comes the panoramic photo to achieve the look we want. By stitching multiple images together we can use a lens that is not as wide, allowing us to come away with the buildings looking as they should - tall!
This panoramic required 6 separate vertically orientated images from left to right to achieve the look I was after. This way I could fit in the ideal amount of sky and water, overlap each frame by a third to allow photoshop extra room for stitching the images, and voila! But enough about mechanics of taking a panoramic image, if you have any questions on this topic you can leave me a comment at the end of this post.
When I normally take a cityscape image, I will leave my camera in one place for the entire sunset or sunrise. This allows me to capture different stages of the event as the light changes from golden hour, to sunset, to blue hour, into complete darkness (or vice versa for a sunrise). The advantage of leaving the camera in one place is it allows me to blend in different moments to invoke an emotion of feeling as if all this was happening all at once in my photos. Think of when you are sitting in an amazing spot witnessing an amazing sunset turn into night. You remember the event as one continuous sequence, but it is very hard to portray that entire event into one image and invoke the same emotion.
What was tricky about this image was that I could not just leave my camera in one place without moving it. I had to swing it from left to right for every moment I wanted to capture. This makes it hard when it comes to the blending, because individual elements may not align anymore. There are many variables that can go wrong with this type of image but thankfully I did come away mistake free and nailed the look I was after, with a little help from the weather gods who were on my side that evening and putting on an epic sunset on the first attempt!
Overall, a total of 12 indvidual images were used to get this shot. 6 stitched together to get the base, and an additional 6 stitched together to blend in the magical city lights. All this mixed together with a little pushing and pulling in the right places, and some personal taste, I got the image I wanted for so long. And a shout out to my Fiance Erin and our friend Neil, who were attempting to distract me from my concentration by taking selfies, with me and my gear in the background! However I won’t get into too much detail on the many reasons why travelling alone as a photographer is far easier ;-)
If you have any additional questions please feel free to leave a comment below!