We’ve had a lot of rain in Sydney, especially on Saturday night where we had a lightning storm that went on for a couple of hours as a huge storm passed through. It was miserable again last night, so there was going to be no colourful sunrise unfortunately. So as soon as the light faded I grabbed my camera and tripod and headed for Dixon St, China Town Sydney. I’d been waiting for conditions like this to photograph China Town as this is perfect for HDR. The combination of shooting in the wet with software like Photomatix Pro is awesome and well, you can see the results for yourself. I first learnt about shooting in the rain from Trey Ratcliff and when I got my D800 I used to just stand in the rain with my camera just because I could haha. On this night though I was shooting with my Sony RX 100 II mirrorless camera and its sealing isn’t as good as the pro body DSLR’s so I was shooting whilst holding an umbrella high above my camera and tripod, which is a great way to shoot in the rain. You just have to make sure your umbrella isn’t poking in the frame which I’ve done a lot!

Processing and Software:

So I shot 5 different frames at 1EV for this HDR image as I find this is my magic number. I used a closed aperture of f/9.0 which is almost the smallest on the SONY RX 100 II, which only goes down to f/11.0.

Because there is tonnes of movement in this image you are best using the HDR software Photomatix Pro because it allows you to selective do you deghosting throughout the composition. If you think about it 5 frames= 5 different positions a person will be in as they move through the frames. PLUS you have 30-40 people in this frame. No matter how smart your HDR software is, it’s going to struggle to handle that and doing it manually makes the whole process so much easier. See my tutorial on removing all that ghosting with Photomatix Pro. Tutorial on desghosting using 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

I then had a lot of work to do with the contrast and brightness of this image so I used On1 Perfect Effects to adjust these. I also used Perfect Effects to create a nice glow on the surface of the stone, but I only added a slight amount of glow as it was already really reflective from the HDR processing using Photomatix Pro.

I also did adjustments in Photoshop to colours and brightness, plus played around with the lighting using luminosity masks.

Another thing I did is use a filter from On1 Perfect Effects called “Big Softy” which is my favourite vignette filter. It just has this cool way of creating a vignette and doing funky stuff with the colours in the corners.

There was some noise, not a lot, and I reduced this with a preset in Topaz DeNoise 5, using masking in Photoshop.

Software discounts:

– Photomatix Pro – HDRsoft offers my readers 15% off with discount code LukeZemePhotography

– Topaz DeNoise 5  – A really powerful noise reduction software add-on. 15% off all Topaz software use discount code LukeZemePhotography

Image Location:

View China Town, Image by Luke Zeme in a larger map

Cheers, Luke


Sony RX 100 II

Focal Length




Shutter Speed

0.5, 0.8, 4.0, 4.0 & 8.0 second exposures



HDR info

5 bracket HDR using Photomatix PRO 5




7:31 pm


China Town, Sydney Australia

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