Photoessay-challenge: A single location, revisited

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Only the clouds are truly free, II

During the last ten years, it’s quite possible that I’ve photographed in just about every accessible (and some inaccessible) location in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Many times, I’ve revisited the same location multiple times at different times of day and in different weather conditions to try and get something unusual; the more often you go, the more likely it is to be a bust – that’s just the law of probabilities at work. One location I don’t go to very often – mainly because of weather and its one-trick-pony nature – is the KL Tower; 421m to the top of the spire, about 335m to the outdoor observation deck, and a little bit more altitude (50m? 70m?) by virtue of being on top of another hill in roughly the highest part of the city. There are two challenges: one, good weather at the times of day when the sun is still casting interesting shadows; two, there’s always some degree of atmospheric haze or pollution, visible especially with distant subjects even if you’re on the roof deck with no glass in the way. My challenge for this visit – on the spur of the moment to make the most of a break in the schedule and a clear morning – was to try and make something different… MT

This set was shot with a Nikon D810, AFS 80-400/4.5-5.6 VR G and PCE 45/2.8 and processed with PS Workflow II.

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Superstructure in pink

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Obvious by camouflage

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The wedge

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In the remote kingdom surrounded by clouds

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The flood

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Fifty years before

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Fifty years after

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Obligatory KLCC image

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Just another day at the office

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A subtle sort of dominance


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  1. Thanks for sharing!
    Love the remote kingdom…

  2. Carlos Polk says:

    You wrote “….two, there’s always some degree of atmospheric haze or pollution…” regarding challenges. You turned the haze challenge to great advantage with #3 (no caption), ‘Fifty years after’ and ‘Obligatory KLCC image’. You couldn’t resist the clouds either with ‘In the remote kingdom surrounded by clouds’ . Very Ming; very nice. Many thanks for sharing as always.

  3. I’m not big into cityscapes or architecture, but when you do it I find it really captivating. (That’s a compliment BTW in case it’s not clear!)

    I often challenge myself to go back (& back & back) to the same place, but to go to something as confined as an observation deck on a tall building and find so many varied shots is really something Ming.

    Seeing your output… hard for my limited vocab… Ok analogy it is then…

    It’s like following a faster driver around a race track, you can almost understand what they’re doing in the turns, but you have no ability to keep up!

  4. Beautiful shots. Never thought cities could be seen from such perspectives. These could easily compete with quite a few natural landscape shots in terms of breathtaking-ness.

  5. Good article!
    Great compositions and your processing really shows the “transparency” you are always talking about. I have the workflow video but haven’t realy been able to put it in practice.

    I’ve done this “trying to find different compositions from a high place” here in Rio on the Christ the Redeemer statue (typical tourist attraction) and it’s really fun.

    • Sorry! Didn’t know the flickr links would embeed the actual images in the comment, though it would only be the hyperlink

    • You may want to pull back very slightly on the contrast, especially further away (try a gradient to reduce contrast from the top) – this helps to reinforce the impression of distance since we are used to a bit of atmospheric haze…

  6. Love the long landscapes, they are a personal favorite of mine.

  7. Never seen Genting so clearly from the Tower before. You must have had a good day!

  8. I think the idea of challenging yourself to revisit the familiar with fresh eyes is an example of another important way of seeing. Thank you for the great images – I love Superstructure in Pink – and for an interesting assignment!

  9. John Nicholson says:

    I particularly like the pink superstructure and trio: they have an immensely satisfying abstract quality about them. I could see a similarly abstract motif in a more tightly cropped excerpt of the Flood, but I wouldn’t dream of telling you what you should do! And it’s super as it is. It’s just that there is almost always more than one image in a picture.

  10. Great shots Ming! I’ve been to KL a couple of times but never really had much luck with the conditions – I guess I’ll have to try again some time in the future 🙂

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