While hurrying down a slope to the Botany Bay shore to capture quickly setting sun I turned back and saw a small rainbow touching the ground. At that day of changing weather small pack of rain clouds patrolled Sydney watering various locations. That is the kind of weather when sky is putting up a great display and a final act most of the times coincides with a sunset.
The Macquarie Watchtower was built at around 1810s as a military guardhouse and a lookout station with an intention to intercept smugglers. A preventive officer who lived there would watch all vessels coming along the coast from the tower`s flat roof. Ships that entered the bay were required to stay mid-stream until the clearance papers were checked by a customs functionary.
I had about 3-5 minutes to photograph everything I wanted here. Sun was setting down quickly and I did not want to miss that. In a hurry I set my tripod at the lowest position possible. This helped to remove the background views of parking and distant bay creating better composition. Lying on the grass I then made a quick bracketing set varying exposures and focusing straight on the tower. For next attempt I decided to do a panorama in 4 parts: 2 below the horizon and 2 above. Focus is set and I am switching it over to manual to stop re-focusing between the shots. Vibration Reduction is off too and here we go, 3 clicks and [-2,0,+2 EV] is captured. Looks good on the preview and I am gone to the rocky shore. But when I looked on the pictures on my PC afterwards I was upset by a mistake – one of the panoramic sets has the tower in soft focus. Looks like something went wrong with my manual setup. However, I was lucky first shots came out alright and I was able to use the tower from there. The next part of workflow is as usual: create a HDR file from every AEB set (3 RAW – 1 HDR), stitch 4 resulting HDRs into one panoramic HDR, tonemap into a 16-bit tif and do some post-processing for contrast and colors.