I love how colourful and sharp this image has turned out and I’m still in awe of the clarity you get when viewing photos on the new retina screens of the 15inch Apple Macbook Pro’s. I wish you all could see what Im looking at with the custom colour profile I have on my macbook, it’s full of juicy details from the blades of grass down to the individual windows on the skyscrapers in the Sydney CBD.

To get to this location there are many ways but I got the ferry over from the Eastern Suburbs to watch the sunset, which was just off to the right of the image. There was a nice pink and purple band across the sky and it was really peaceful down on the waters edge listening to the sounds of harbour. I love Sydney and really enjoyed making this composition of the Bridge feeding into the city CBD. I think I have my trusty 14-24mm to thank for allowing me to get such a wide angle view of the city as it illuminated for the long night ahead.


I was shooting 5 brackets on my camera and I was making sure that my 5th image didn’t exceed 30 seconds. It would have been easy enough to go and do a manual frame of the 5th image but I don’t often like it to go much longer than 30 seconds. So I was constantly changing my ISO and aperture as the light faded from the sunset and blue hour came on. My camera tells me what my “0” frame is so I try to have it around 5-7 seconds during blue hour but it depends on what I am trying to achieve in terms of movement within the frame. Wanting to capture the waves in the ocean would require me speeding it up and blur in the clouds would mean slowing it down for example.

Taking HDR images with a compact camera

If you were to try and make your own HDR image you should make sure that all your images have the same Aperture. This is very important so that they are all in the same plane of focus. You could do this for compact camera HDR and it would most likely mean that you can create your 3 images in manual mode or maybe your compact camera has AE bracketing mode in which case it will make it much easier. So you would use your -2,0 and +2 for example or maybe your camera does -1, 0 +1 but always make sure you shoot the images with the same “aperture“. Next you would just need to load your images into a tonemapping software and the most widely used of them is Photomatix.


Photomatix PRO – Is a MAC and PC HDR software for creating stunning HDR images. They have a free trial, but if you end up buying a copy of Photomatix you can get a 15% Discount with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography

– Perfect Effects An amazing Filter program to stylise the image. a standalone Filter program which can also be launched from Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture

 Topaz Clarity used to adjust the contrast of the image


Post processing for this image was done by taking my 5 bracketed images, shot in Aperture Priority mode, and tonemapping them in Photomatix Pro. You can get 15% off all Photomatix software using the code LukeZemePhotography. I then took it into Perfect Effects which is a Filter program I run many of my images through and inside Perfect Effects you can layer as many filters as you like. You can even use masking brushes and tools in there which allows you to selective use certain parts of individual filter layers (bonus!). This is important when you are just trying to bring out the texture in say the old sandstone in this image but not wanting that effect to be applied to the entire image, plus its a lot faster not having to go back to Adobe Photoshop CS6 every time you want to mask in parts of a filter like in other software. After Perfect Effects I then took the image into Adobe Lightroom 5 and made adjustments to Highlights, shadows and blacks and whites. I also finalised the image by using a Filter from Topaz Clarity in the foreground and on parts of the Bridge. 

Image Location:

View “Path to the Ferry” by Luke Zeme in a larger map


Thanks, Luke

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Please use this contact form for any enquiries and we will get back to you asap. Thanks :-) Thanks, Luke