This is a view over Lac Anosy in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar (which the locals call just “Tana”) looking across to the hill on top of which you should just be able to make out Tana’s famous Rova (pronounced ‘roova’) which was burned down in 1995 and is now being reconstructed (it is the building with the crane halfway between the middle of the picture and the right hand side of the frame – the structures on the far right are TV and radio masts). This was the palace designed for Queen Ranavalona I (known as Ranavalona the Cruel) by Scottish missionary, James Cameron, but not built until 1867 when she had been succeeded by Queen Ranavalona II. The first queen was called cruel because she murdered all the king’s heirs after he died and she used to throw Christian missionaries off the cliffs (the Jehovah’s Witnesses are back in Tana in force today though).
The other palace on top of the hill, the one with turrets right in the middle of the picture, is the former home of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony who stayed in power for about 30 years by marrying three queens (Ranavalona I, II and II) in succession (why didn’t Tony Blair think of that?). The monument in the lake is a WWI memorial erected by the French who controlled the country from 1890 to 1958.
This was an experiment for me with a graduated ND2 filter and post processing. I took this shot from the window of my hotel in Tana. I had just checked into the hotel in the late afternoon, when I saw these clouds that looked like smoke signals over the lake. There was too much shadow for a polarising filter, so I used the ND2 filter instead to try and balance the light between the sky and the foreground which was starting to get dark. I took a shot of the whole lake, and the exposure was okay, but there was a large black shadow cast across the foreground by the hotel which completely spoilt the composition (I have posted the unedited original to the workshop if you’d like to see it).
So I cropped away about two thirds of the image to avoid the shadow, and composed this to accentuate the cloudscape. As I had taken the original with a wide angle lens (12 mm) it needed some perspective adjustment. Then I adjusted levels, lightened the shadow areas, increased contrast and saturation and finally sharpened. With all of that PP, I had introduced some noise, so I had to run it through NeatImage. It is not quite as sharp as I would have liked, but trying to sharpen it further only introduced a halo effect around the hill which I didn’t like.
Critiques | Translate
elifpetan (1204) 2006-10-12 19:09
Beautiful city. Beautiful image. Weldone.
lucski (3691) 2006-10-12 19:17
great composition, nice colours i like the blue sky on this photo and super details...
bostankorkulugu (42416) 2006-10-12 20:49
hey what a beautiful city and a great picture also. brilliant colours, perfect sky and a superb POV. congrats david,
aloyho (6798) 2006-10-12 21:55
Indeed a shot not to be missed especially with these extraordinary clouds formation. You are in the perfect position and the filter just worked successfully. Capturing a scene as how we felt and see it demand good planning and you just did it here. Congratulations!! Have a nice day.
PJE (20758) 2006-10-12 22:18
Hello there Global Trekker!
Thanks for sharing a scene from Madagascar which reminds me of the Disney movie. A very well captured scene with interesting clouds that really do look like smoke signals. Perhaps its a sign for you to get out of that city before its too late. Thanks for sharing David!
osse (2808) 2006-10-12 23:08
Good shot. Good colours, light, sharpnes, details, DOF and POV.
ribeiroantonio (22637) 2006-10-13 4:23
Definitely a very nice picture of one not so well known African capital. Madagascar is not that often in the big news so it must be quite calm and peaceful. And “Tana” looks interesting. I like your compo and your note explaining what we are watching. Well done.
cunejo200 (7281) 2006-10-13 10:45
After seeing the original photo, I must commend you for the cropping and pp work done. A very scenic view of “Tana". Thanks for your discussion of graduated ND2 filter as this may be included in my wish list. Your TE portfolio is quite impressive. As PJE stated, you are a true Global Trekker. Visited your personal website quickly, and I'm more impressed. Best wishes. Danilo
jaywalker (16101) 2006-10-13 10:47
Hi David, A wonderful photo, great lighting & a brillient sky, good DOF also superb composition & a very informative note to acompany the photo, i love it, kind regards Wilson.
vincz (19113) 2006-10-13 11:02
This is a very interesting image together with a very useful note. Catching clouds formation as you did has always been a challenge fore me since the polarizer is not always doing a perfect job. Thanks for the tip on the ND2 filter, i'll try and see how I can manage. Thanks!
macondo (19453) 2006-10-14 4:48
Hi David. I can see the difficulties you had, thanks to your WS. The image still has pretty good clarity and definition, and the compositional aspects are very good after such a big crop. I think this is the first shot I've seen from Madagascar, and your interesting notes have helped a lot. I had never imagined such a city in Madagascar. I like the title of your photo, and the rather unusual clouds that made you think of it. Well done.
ChrisJ (112315) 2006-10-14 6:25
Good overview of the city from this superb high vantafe point. The 3 layered clouds in the sky are fantastic, and add a lot to the image. Well done!
capthaddock (28790) 2006-10-14 8:53
Hi David - wow, what an incedible sky and light, these days here in europe I am running into boring clear hazy skies, but at least its not raining! The city below looks decent and developed, something I would not have expected from a poor african country, at least I think its poor.
jemaflor (96037) 2006-10-15 6:00
well seen with thes clouds to give an original shot of this landscape, lovely light too, well done.
plimrn (21344) 2006-10-15 13:36
Excellent work. I really like the way you posted the original version. I had been thinking that I should have done that with the last two shots I posted. From your reviews, I can see that many people found your discussion really helpful. I think this is especally true because many people aren't familiar with the usefulness of ND filter. It must have been the wide angle lens that gave yo such awful shadows. I occasionally get a corner but nothing like your results. Your notes about Madagascar are very interesting; I agree with your implied ambivalence about religion; I'm impressed about how you managed to imply it so subtly. I need to work on subtle and stop preaching.
jafadabret (56501) 2006-10-15 14:38
Un ciel, comme on en voit peu, David !
C'est lui qui fait pour beaucoup dans la beauté de la photo. J'aime également la belle courbe que dessine la rive ainsi que les reflets dans l'eau.
alainh (33201) 2006-10-25 2:09
beautiful light in the city and the nice cloud to decorate this blue sky. nice sharpness and colours.
.....and an excelent note as usual
have a nice day
elmec (12210) 2006-11-01 8:59
Great scene with the amazing sky!
I like the composition with delicate reflections i the water!
ruisc_pt (10892) 2007-05-20 10:33
THis is a great Image David. All the pre and pro results superbly fantastic.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-09-28
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G ED, Cokin P121L (ND2)
- Exposure: f/6.3, 1/160 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2006-10-12 18:06