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Old Feb 24, 2010, 3:01 PM   #1
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Default Wenzhou Monastery - China

I promised Ordo I would put up more cultural photos so here are a few taken at a local monastery whilst visiting my wife's family in Wenzhou during the Chinese New Year. I know some of these are a little touristy but still .....

The Winter sun was low in the sky and created some problems as you can see. I would appreciate any tips on how to handle that in future !

All taken with Sigma 18 - 125 on a K7.
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Old Feb 24, 2010, 3:05 PM   #2
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A few more ......
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Old Feb 24, 2010, 3:09 PM   #3
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and just for good luck .....
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Old Feb 24, 2010, 3:33 PM   #4
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Interesting photos, Frogfish. You definitely had the light working against you. only good way to fix that would be to shoot when the sun is behind you. Fill flash might have helped on some shots. I enjoyed looking at them just the same though, thanks for sharing.
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Old Feb 24, 2010, 10:50 PM   #5
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Thanks GW. Yes there were two factors influencing the shots ... the strong light from the low sun which is noticeable in a number of shots (unfortunately I had no control over the timing of the visit) ..... and trying to keep other people out of the shots. Almost no matter where you go in China there are always hundreds of others enjoying the same sights !

Also it is forbidden to actually take photos of the Buddha figures from inside the buildings (because we don't want to disturb any worshippers), so you have to shoot from outside looking in.

I couldn't get a shot of the outside of the monastery that wasn't strongly influenced by at least one of those factors (I was trying to keep the sun at my back but sometimes it was a case of 'just this angle or none at all' ! ) which is why I cropped the only half usable shot of the exterior into a panorama to at least give people a feel for the whole even though it isn't a keeper.

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Old Feb 25, 2010, 12:01 AM   #6
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These are neat, I quite like them. As you say, you can't always choose when you are shooting travel pictures, but I think you came up with quite a few very nice ones. Thanks for posting them, I hope to visit that part of the world some day - what wonderful scenes.
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Old Feb 25, 2010, 12:49 AM   #7
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Very well done. I enjoyed them all. To counteract the sunlight you can do 2 things in camera...As suggested you can use a fill flash or a Graduated nuetral density filter. The fill flash is easiest.
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Old Feb 25, 2010, 7:37 AM   #8
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Very interesting tour - despite the difficulties with lighting you got some great photos that well illustrate the details of this monastery. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Feb 25, 2010, 10:30 AM   #9
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Very nice series despite the lighting challenges.

Another way to overcome some of the lighting issues is to use a tripod and shoot a HDR series (3 to 5 pictures at +/- .03-.05 exposure values).

Having visited China 2 years ago I really enjoyed seeing these pictures. I know that the large number of people at tourist venues often negates the ability to use a tripod. I took one on my trip but never had the opportunity to use it. Lighting because of haze and smog also contributed to difficult picture taking.

We visited a shrine in Hong Kong and it was a special holiday. The incense burning was so intense and the number of people so dense that we stayed only a few minutes. I was barely able breathe never mind raise my camera to take a couple of shots. Your pictures make the shrine look peaceful and serene as I would have liked it to be.

Photographing while touring is a great challenge. I found that I had to lag behind our tour guides to get some of the pictures I wanted but in doing so missed a lot of the narrative and history that was being given. It was a compromise I was willing to make.

In very crowed attractions we were given headsets and receivers that we wore around our neck so we could hear our tour guide speak. When I heard the voices in my ear get soft I knew it was time to stop photographing and find my group again.

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Old Feb 26, 2010, 2:36 AM   #10
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Thank you Mtngal !

BigDawg - I like using the fill flash on the K7 but totally forgot to use it *slaps head* . I will however now go and buy myself a ND filter as the sun is often very strong in this part of the world. Is the difference in price worth the difference in quality between say a B&W or a Hoya and an unknown brand for example ?

Thanks Mole !

Keltech - HDR series. An interesting idea I'll have to try (I'd like to try my hand at HDR anyway so good practice). Yes there are some unique challenges to photographing in China ! This shrine was relatively quiet (most people preferring the nearby zoo, visiting relatives tombs or taking in the mountain scenery) but there were still quite a few people around. It had a great feel to it and I would have liked to stay longer than the time I had.
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