This will be my last HDR image for the year and it’s of something that everyone finds awesome, FIREWORKS!!! If you haven’t spotted the location i’ll help you out- it’s Sydney! and this is Darling Harbour also known as Cockle Wharf Bay. The backdrop skyline is the city CBD and floating in the bay are all these giant blow up Santa’s to celebrate xmas. I arrived about 30 minutes early to the location and explored looking for a vantage point over the bay. I spotted a bridge that had a bunch of photographers setting up and found my way up there too. Thanks to them! I was able to get this amazing view looking over Sydney. I also noticed that they all had this special way of leaning the front of their tripod on the rail of the bridge and leaning the shaft of your tripod out over the edge. I ended up doing this too! So thanks to them for that also 🙂 This location for fireworks is incredible! The lights and colours bounce and reflect off all the water and glass and its just a magical feast for the eyes.

I shot this with one on my brand new Sony A7r with the native Sony FE full frame lens the 28-70mm and I have to say I am loving this camera, especially paired with the native lens. So looking forward to taking this camera travelling with me next year as it’s as light as a feather.


This one is a HDR and I used the NEW HDR algorithm in Photomatix Pro 5 called Contrast Optimiser. It is my new favourite HDR method because as you can see the results are realistic yet have a touch of that gritty raw HDR look to them. I am a huge huge fan of this new algorithm in Photomatix 5 and it is one of the reasons you should get this software.

Checkout this video I made on all the NEW features of Photomatix 5 for making HDR images. 

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

I also wanted to add some pop to this image and to do that I used a few other programs including-

– Adobe Photoshop CC  used to layer, mask, make adjusments plus much much more

– On1 Perfect Effects– An amazing Filter program to stylise your images. Comes as a standalone filter program which can also be launched from Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture.

Thanks, Luke


Sony A7r


Sony FE 28-70mm

Focal Length




Shutter Speed

1.0 sec



HDR info

HDR using Photomatix 5


Sydney Harbour, Australia

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