Photographer's Note

Sunrise at Borobudur – Indonesia's most popular tourist attraction – can be quite spectacular in the rainy season when there is cloud in the sky and morning mist in the valleys.

This is an image created with three exposures using HDR software. If you don't like HDR images, then please have a look in the Workshop where you will find the same shot with minimal PP – but unfortunately doesn't convey the splendour of these few moments after sunrise as well as this HDR image does.

I am not a great fan of HDR imaging myself (so please don't berate me for posting this) but it was the best way that I could show you the detail of the stupas in the foreground as well as the beautiful orange flare that appeared in the valley for a few seconds after the sun appeared over the horizon.

The workshop image had an exposure time of 1/8th sec whilst the three exposures used to create this HDR image had exposure times of 1/20th, 1/10th and 1/6th sec. They were all shot in RAW at ISO-200 at f/8. The intense orange colour comes from the 1/20th exposure and is 'real'. The only part of the HDR that is a little unreal are the over-saturated greens – but if you have a look at the 'real' Workshop post, you will see that HDR processing hasn't exaggerated it as much as would first appear.

Borobudur is a complex of Buddhist stupas that date back to the ninth century. It is about an hour from Yogyakarta in central Java and from the top of Borobudur you can see three large volcanoes which look spectacular in the early morning light (I will post a photograph of one of those later).

Borodudur is visited by over two million people a year, so if you want to photograph it without hundreds of tourists in shot, you have to go there before sunrise and buy a special pre-dawn entry ticket (the morning I was there about 30-40 people had done the same, but most sit up on the top stupa to watch the sunrise, so they don't get in the way of the serious photographers).

After 6.00 am when the gates open to the public, the visitors start streaming in, and by 8.00 am they are swarming over the stupas like ants on a nest.

If you want to see what Borobudur looks like later in the day, you can check out these photos on my blog. You will then be convinced that rising at 4.00 am is the ONLY way to get a good photograph of Borobudur.

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1231 W: 108 N: 2568] (7797)
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