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Friday 11 May 2018

In Pictures : Heritage travel pics

Heritage in pictures - Part 1

Here are some of our favourite pictures of Indian heritage and monuments from our travels and trips, post-processed with Photoshop, and enhanced with Instagram filters.

Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani basadi, at Moodabidri, near Mangaluru, in Karnataka, is well known as the "Saavira Kambada Basadi" in local languages, meaning, the Thousand Pillars Jain Temple. Originally built in 1430 CE, this temple is considered as the most ornate of the Jain temples of this region.
Read more about Thousand Pillars Jain Temple of Moodabidri »

The lights turned on in the Bhairadevi mandapa, the front pillared hall, shine in a golden glimmer in the evening. This is an east facing temple, and the sun was behind the building when this picture was taken. Original image had a background sky too bright in comparison with the temple, and I had to enhance it accordingly in Adobe Photoshop, by reducing the exposure and adjusting the Vibrance. I got rid of the glaring white part of the sky by adjusting the Levels. That picture can be seen on the original post.

This picture was enhanced again using Instagram filters, to make the temple and its mandapa look brighter and better. I adjusted the Warmth, Saturation, and then the Shadow tools to brighten the darker areas, followed by the Highlights tool to reduce the brightness of the brighter sky area in the background. A little bit of Orange (or was that red? I forget. It was one of the two colours) was applied through the Color option for the Shadows, to make it look even better, and finally some Vignette was added to give the feel of a glow in the middle and a vignetted look around the edges.

A closer look at the beautifully carved granite elephant balustrades before the Bhairadevi mandapa

Okay, I believe I overdid this above one a bit. I added Blue for Highlights and Pink for Shadows in the Color tool of Instagram. Then, adjusted the Highlights and Shadows tool to get the glaring sky less intense and to make the darker regions more visible. The resultant image looks blurry. It would've looked better if I had used the Lux tool to make it look sharper, before publishing this one.

The 12 foot high monolithic Naga-Linga of Lepakshi.

The legendary Lepakshi is famous for its 470+ years old Veerabhadra Swamy temple complex with beautiful Vijayanagar styled sculptures and monoliths. The temple was built in around 1540 CE. Lepakshi is in Andhra Pradesh, and about 120 kilometres from Bengaluru.
Read more about the wonderful Lepakshi »

Similar enhancement tricks were used for this picture, just like for the earlier one. In Instagram, a bit of orange was given to the shadows along with a little cyan/blue to the highlights through the Color tool. It was cloudy when I took the picture and the sky looked rather gloomy in the original picture.

Here's another one from Lepakshi.

Sculpture of a dancer, in the 478 year old Veerabhadra Swamy Temple

This one was easy. It just took the application of a pre-set Instagram filter called Gingham. Wait, or was it Reyes? Ok, Gingham, more likely. Just a little bit of Vignette was added, but it's not evident when you see it, because that's the way I wanted it. And of course, it was slightly enhanced on Photoshop earlier, just slightly, with the contrast.

Okay, one more from Lepakshi :

An arched entranceway beside the unfinished kalyana mandapa in Lepakshi.

This one didn't require much enhancements. A bit of Saturation, a bit of Color (bit of pink for the Shadows and a bit of blue for the Highlights), and a bit of Vignette. You can't make out the Vignette here too, right? Yes, as I said, a bit of it. So, this one was subtly enhanced from its originally enhanced form, which was also a very subtle enhancement, because at the time this one was photographed, the clouds had cleared and it was sunny enough for a nice blue sky in the background and for a nicely illuminated arch in the foreground.

The southern vimana, or garbhagruha with a shikhara, of Keshava Temple of Somanathapura.

Keshava Temple of Somanathapura, in Mysore district of Karnataka, a spectacular example of the intricately beautiful Hoysala temples, which are well known for their sculptural magnificence.
Read more about Keshava Temple of Somanathpur »

I used the pre-set filter called Aden for this one and then went on to add a bit of Red for the Shadows and a bit of Blue for the Highlights in the Color tool. The intensity of the sky was reduced using the Highlights tool, and the intensity of the object was slightly increased using the Shadows tool. A bit of vignette was subtly added too.

It's always better if there are some people before the building or structure you are photographing, as it gives a perspective about the size of that structure. However, make sure that the people in it aren't recognisable unless you have the permission of the person to be photographed.

A close-up of the intricately carved sculptures that adorn one of the shikharas, or peaks, of Keshava Temple of Somanathpur.

The above picture didn't need much enhancements. But I did subtly add some Vignette.

Relief sculptures depicting Dashavatara, on the outer walls of Sri Vidyashankara Temple of Sringeri

It is best not to overdo something which already looks good. For example, the above picture of Dashavatara sculptures on the Vidyashankara Temple of Sringeri. The white and reddish variations on the granite gives it a nice unique look which I don't want to ruin using excessive filtering. Of course, I did add a bit of Vignette and a little saturation, but that's barely noticeable.

The Vidyashankara temple at Sringeri is a magnificent architecture, beautifully built entirely out of carved granite in around 1338 CE.
Read more about the Temples of Sringeri »

The towering entrance tower of Virupaksha temple of Hampi, as seen from the temple courtyard.
Read more about Virupaksha Temple of Hampi »

The magnificent World Heritage site of Hampi in Karnataka houses the monuments and ruins of the great city of Vijayanagara, the grandiose capital of the great Karnata Samrajya, or the Vijayanagara empire.
Read more about the magnificent World Heritage site of Hampi »

For the above image, I used a standard filter, Gingham, or Reyes (or maybe it was Aden, or Valencia with reduced Warmth. I really don't remember which one it was for this one), and then from the Edit tools, I reduced the Highlights to reduce the glare of the sky which was too bright, and increased the intensity in Shadows tool to make the foreground look brighter than before. Then, I used a bit of Red for the Shadows to complement the reddish columns of the colonnaded corridor, in the Color tool. I thought of adding a bit of blue in Highlights in the Color tool, but that made it look too unnatural, and so I skipped it.

The trick is to add filtering elements as subtly as possible, not only on Instagram, but on any image enhancing platforms, so that the resulting image doesn't look too artificial. But I see that many overdo the things with the filters, and enhancements, especially the Saturation, making it appear too good to be true.

A view of Tungabhadra River, with some structures and ruins, beside the Virupaksha temple of Hampi. The river, the hills of boulders and the ruins and structures scattered across them make the landscape of Hampi and surrounding areas a uniquely spectacular one.
Read more about Virupaksha Temple of Hampi and other nearby monuments »

For the above picture, a little bit of Saturation and a little bit of light intensity was increased in Shadows tool. Then some vignette was added to give it the above look. You can see the original image which was post-processed on Photoshop for subtle improvements, on its original post.

There is another trick that you can use, one which I've used for some pictures, for example, the below picture from Udaipur's lake palace. The trick is to apply the Rise filter. Now, this makes the image look yellowish, like early morning light. To reduce this yellowish look, just head to the Warmth tool in Instagram and reduce it. This will make the image look more like the normal bright daylight rather than the yellowish morning/evening light. You can use the same trick with other yellowish filters like Slumber and Valencia to reduce the "yellowishness".

Jagmandir island Palace, in Lake Pichola Udaipur

Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in Lake Pichola of Udaipur, in Rajasthan. Its construction began in 1551 CE and was completed by Maharana Jagat Singh I in the 17th century. This is now a heritage hotel called the Jagmandir Island Palace. Some scenes of the Roger Moore starrer 007 James Bond movie Octopussy were shot here.
Read more about Udaipur, the city of lakes and palaces »

Just like most other images here, the Highlights were reduced, and intensity increased in the Shadows to reduce the sky's intensity and to make the object look brighter. I used the Blue colour for Highlights in the Color tool to make the sky and water appear bluer than it was in the original. After reducing the Warmth, as mentioned above, I increased the saturation a bit to make image look more colourful.

Lions stand guard to the romancing couple at Hampi.

A romantic scene depicted on a pillar of a mandapa (pavilion) in the premises of the great Vitthala Temple in the World Heritage site of Hampi in Karnataka.
Read more about the magnificent Vitthala Temple of Hampi »

I used the Aden filter for the above, and no preset filter was used for the below one. In both cases I used Vignette, but subtly. Also, for both the images, I used Highlights tool to reduce the background's intensity, and Shadows tool to increase the foreground's or the object's intensity.

The Color tool of Instagram is quite handy, as I use it to colour the Shadows or Highlights in it to improve the overall colourfulness. The above and the below image from the southern pavilion of Hampi's Vitthala temple, the columns had a somewhat orange-ish or yellowish look. In the above image I used a bit of Pink in the Shadows of the Color tool, and a bit of Red for the same for the below image. In both cases they complemented the orangeish or yellowish colour of the columns.

Intricately sculpted granite columns in the southern pavilion of the magnificent Vitthala temple courtyard, in Hampi.

Read more about the magnificent World Heritage site of Hampi »

As I said in our earlier post, although we make some post-processing in Photoshop for our regular blog posts, we try to keep the pictures in our travel stories as realistic as possible, that is, as close to what we actually see with our eyes, rather than make too many artificial post-processing “improvements” to make it more eye-appealing. The post-processed eye-appealing pictures are for our Instagram stream and this Photography section. ;o)

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