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Budapest Chain Bridge

12-30-2012 · By PF Staff in Favorite Photos

I would like to share this photo of the Budapest Chain Bridge with you all. There are two main reasons why I really love this picture. First, I love Budapest, always have, and I have always had a soft spot for this gorgeous structure. The second reason is, simply, because this was the first image that came out exactly as I had imagined it in my head before the shoot, and is also the first image to have gotten serious praise even from pro photographers. So without further ado, the image:

Click to enlarge



I set up the camera and tripod on a small ledge on the edge of the Danube river North of the bridge on the Buda (West) side of the city, and faced the Pest (East) side. After some trial shots I determined the correct settings for the shot. This final image is the result of HDR combination of two shots. Both shots were f9, ISO400, 52mm, and the exposures were 4s and 0.5s. 

Here is one of the images (1/2 s exposure) before processing SOOC:


First, the two RAW files were imported into HDR Efex pro, combined and settings adjusted until I had the desired result. As you can see from the original 1/2 s photo above, there was in reality very little merging and compression needed, only some locally to pull up the buildings in the background. Next, I wanted to make the image into greyscale, and for this I prefer to use PS6 (it has great control over all colours and their ranges). So the image was desaturated in PS6 and colour cast applied. The final step was some minor sharpening, and cleaning up/smoothing the dark sky.

In the end this is exactly the image I was looking for. If it wasn't for the dynamic range limitation of the sensor this could've been accomplished without much post-processing (only desaturation and minor sharpening would've been needed), but since the range was too much for the camera I needed to use some minor HDR. It was a slightly challenging shoot, but in the end a very rewarding experience. I hope you enjoy the picture as well as the story that goes with its creation!

- VTerlakyPhoto

PF Staff's avatar
About the author: Various writers regularly contribute articles to the Pentax Forums homepage blog. More recent articles are published under each author's forum username. We hope you enjoy our guides and news coverage!

Tags: image, hdr, minor, shots, needed, range, pro, result

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VTerlakyPhoto [Delete] Feb 23rd, 2013 4:54AM

Thanks alecan!

alecan [Delete] Feb 17th, 2013 12:55AM

Great shot,and tension in-between the pillars.

VTerlakyPhoto [Delete] Jan 2nd, 2013 10:17AM

Thanks filoxophy and tessfully!

tessfully [Delete] Dec 31st, 2012 3:02PM

Just a super final rendering! Good eye and nice shooting and post processing techniques!

filoxophy [Delete] Dec 31st, 2012 10:23AM

Excellent shot...already shared it with a friend.

VTerlakyPhoto [Delete] Dec 31st, 2012 9:32AM

Thank you all for the comments!

yusuf: apparently I cannot attach or link in replies, so I'm not sure how to show both images. But it's essentially the same, just a little brighter. The main difference is that the other side of the Danube is properly exposed, so you see the buildings a little better, but the bridge is a little over-exposed.

kenez: according to that logic you would have to include people's feet in each portrait shot. Sometimes to achieve a better composition you need to crop to the essentials, in this case the pillars. Thus, the main subject of the photo are the pillars, not the cabling, which only act as leading lines.
As for the "chains", or cables, of a hanging bridge always being the most powerful, I really have to disagree. In most cases, as with this bridge too, I find the pillars a lot more fascinating than the steel cables - but that can be personal preference.

kenez [Delete] Dec 31st, 2012 9:01AM

Technically, a chain bridge - which is the Chain Bridge - the pillars are not the most powerful details of her. The chains that are both visible in the picture (the middle section) and also the ones that secures the chains to the banks of the river. Without these sections IMO the picture is as a photo of someone without her foots...

dtra [Delete] Dec 30th, 2012 6:40PM

Yep, really nice photo.

rruntsch [Delete] Dec 30th, 2012 6:48AM

Beautiful photo.

yusuf [Delete] Dec 30th, 2012 2:15AM

Nice, can you post both the original images (with 4s & 0.5s), just to get some more idea.