Monday, October 1, 2012

Montagne des Signaux at night


The last time I climbed Signal Mountain, I said I would be back for another attempt at sunset, with a better camera. Only this time, I had two new cameras to test; my S100 and another one with a 41MP sensor

Since I can’t upload 38MP photos without slowing down your connection, I have embedded the photos here with a free cloud service from Microsoft - The downside is that it will not work properly on mobile phones, RSS readers and with tools like Readability.
All high-res photos were taken with the Nokia 808 at 38MP/34MP and the rest with the Canon S100 & 808 at PureView 8MP mode. All 808 photos are unmodified except those with slightly lower resolution where I’ve corrected/cropped for straight horizon (the on-screen grid on the 808 isn’t very good).


So here I was at Plaine Verte, waiting for the other 2 explorers to pick me up.


I seized the opportunity to take some high-resolution photos of Khadafi Square. The level of details in those images is absolutely amazing. Like in the first photo, I can easily identify the number plate of the motorcycle.




Eventually, the car arrived and we made our way to Labourdonnais street via Champ de Mars.





Along the way, I snapped a few shots of the city life. One of these day, I will have to do an urban walk – Port Louis is full of old buildings, signage and other interesting things to shoot. & of course, it will be shot in B&W. ;)


Another shot with the 808. Even with a bigger 1/1.2” sensor, it struggles a lot in low-light. Not surprising given the 1.4 microns pixel size which is the same as most mobile phone cameras.


The parking at the foot of Montagne Signaux was crowded as the city inhabitants were here for their afternoon walking/jogging sessions.



We began climbing at 5:44 pm, at a time when almost everyone were climbing down.




A view of Port Louis from the start of the track. The downside of using two cameras at the same time was that I momentarily forgot that one of these had an optical zoom.


There are 5 dogs on the roof of that house in the foreground.



The nearly full moon rising. At least, there would be no need for my bat-torch on the way back.


The Citadelle & Champ de Mars.


IMG_1263 Panorama_3

The golden hour in Port Louis.



The Thien Thane Pagoda.



The Window.



As the final rays of the sun were disappearing…




… the city lights started to appear.




& at last, I reached the hairpin bend before the summit at 6:20 pm, 35 mins later. Not bad for a 2nd climb.



As this point, both cameras were starting to struggle to take photos handheld. No time to waste as I had to reach the summit before dusk .

Although, we had planned to get here way earlier, the delay meant that I had a limited time frame to setup my equipment and take photos before starting the climb down. I couldn’t again miss the last 7.24 pm bus at Immigration Bus Station.



The pro equipment consisting of my $12 tripod and a $4 tripod holder for the 808. & that was my first shot – (f/2.0, 8s, ISO-80). Over-exposed.




I made the serious mistake of not researching the EXIF of similar photos to get an idea of the settings to use. Subsequent trials proved to be better. While the photos weren’t very noisy, they lacked sharpness. (f/5.6, 8s, ISO-80).


The 808 wasn’t doing better. As there is no manual mode on the 808, the only thing I could choose was ISO. ISO-1600 here.


ISO-800. The noise made the photo almost pastel-like.



The Albion lighthouse. (f/5.9, 13s, ISO-80).



Pailles & beyond. (f/5.6, 8s, ISO-80).



People practicing Gangnam Style at the Chinese Embassy. Just kidding, probably it was Tai Chi. (f/5.9, 8s, ISO-80).



Moving to the other side of the mountain didn’t improve the sharpness of the photos. (f/5.6, 8s, ISO-80).

One reason why I couldn’t really spend a lot of time fiddling with settings was that the S100 is no DLSR. It takes a lot of time to process the long-exposure photos. Say for every 8s exposure, it took 10s of processing. 15s took 20s & so on.




As I zoomed in to take a photo of the city centre, I realised what I was doing wrong all along. For maximum sharpness, I had to use the smallest aperture. (f/8, 15s, ISO-80).



Port Louis is absolutely stunning at night! (f/8, 15s, ISO-80).


It was a similar story with the 808. Instead of dabbling with ISO 800 & 1600, what I should have done is use ISO 50. As I learnt much later, at ISO 50, the 808 exposes for the longest time - 2.7s. Not that it would have made a great difference, but it would have been nice to have that benchmark.


The light pollution in the port is no exaggeration. There is really no need for so much light if everything is automated. & I didn’t really care about it until I started taking an interest in astrophotography.


The glow coming from the left is indeed Port Louis.



(f/8, 15s, ISO-80).

By the time I learnt the lesson about aperture, it was already time (7 pm!) to start climbing down. I had barely taken any images, haven’t even used CHDK for longer exposures and neither did I record any videos. Not a very successful outing.



But that second trip with the S100 was one where I learnt the importance of preparation before shooting. If only I had researched, I could have made better use of my time. Better luck next time. Well, until the day I’ll reach this level… ;)

Oh, & I missed the bus. :o

Full-sized photos of the 808 can be found on my DeviantArt gallery.




Siganus Sutor

Why these lines on some of the pictures?


It's Chrome. The lines do not appear on other browsers.

Xtol Lord

Man! Awsome article and mind blasting shots!

Muzzammil Nabybaccus

Just took an olympus xz-1
photography tips?:P

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