"Hong Kong - A Blended City"

For a while now, I have pictured a specific image from Victoria Peak, Hong Kong. In my mind, I imagined the city lights and harbour highlighting a backdrop of the stars and a full moon, particularly when approaching the Lunar New Year. Star trails would have been ideal.

This would be an impossible image to capture in one shot. The light pollution from the city would result in the stars being difficult to see, and to expose for the moon to see detail would result in a grossly underexposed city.

Yesterday, Hong Kong city remarkably had near cloudless skies, and the heavy smog, which had drifted down from China over the previous few days had largely been blown away by prevailing winds. A trip up to Victoria Peak was thus in order.

On arriving at the peak at sunset, I immediately discarded the possibilities of Star Trails. The light pollution and near full moon would mean that star trails would be barely visible even if I used stacked images. I tried initially to capture the image I imagined with my wide angle Zeiss 15mm, but this resulted in too much distortion of the buildings.

I finally decided on a 16 image stitched panorama, with 3 different exposures for the critical elements. All shot at focal length of 73mm (24-105).

City: 1dx, ISO 100, f14, 20 sec
Moon: 1dx ISO 100, f14, 1/30 97% Waxing Gibbous Moon.
Stars: 1dx ISO 1600, f2.8, 4 sec

"Hong Kong - A Blended City"

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