Penang Lensball Photography - Kek Lok Si

Penang Lensball Photography

© Simon Bond 2020

Simon Bond

Camera model - Canon 5D Mk II

Lens - Canon 50mm f1.2L

Camera settings - F3.5, 1/100th, ISO 1200

Date taken - May 11th 2020

Location - Penang, Malaysia

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How was this Lensball photo taken?

This photo shows the power of night time lensball photography, especially when combined with background lights that produce bokeh. This is lensball photography from Penang in Malaysia.

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Placing the ball

The most successful aspect of this photo is the ball placement. The ball has been placed in an elevated position, and close enough to the main subject so that it fills the frame. In this case there was a statue with antlers at the top, and they branched out. The gap between the branches held the ball perfectly, with the ball safely held in position. You won't always find such perfect Lensball placement, but when you do it's great!

Creating the bokeh

Chinese new year is a great time to experiment with bokeh photography, since at night the lanterns make attractive bokeh light. In this photo a 50mm lens is used, this is the right focal length to compose this photo and include the elements you see. The aperture used here is f3.5, why not use an even larger aperture? Firstly as you can see f3.5 produces great bokeh, so a larger aperture is not required. Secondly to allow the image within the ball to be sharper a smaller aperture is better.

Night time exposure

This is a night time Lensball photo. As the location was relatively well lit it was possible to take this photo handheld. In fact it wasn't possibly to get the tripod close enough, and use the 50mm focal length that this photo needed. To that end using a higher ISO combined with a relatively high aperture allowed the photo to be taken at 1/100th, fast enough to take handheld with a 50mm lens.

What's The Background To This Lensball Photo?

Kek Lok Si during Chinese New Year is a great time to practice Penang lensball photography. This is the largest Chinese temple on the island of Penang in Malaysia.

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Kek Lok Si

This temple is a bus ride from the main town on Penang, called Georgetown. Visit the main bus terminal situated at Komtar, and then catch the 203 or the 204 bus. When you arrive at the temple get ready to do a lot of climbing, as the whole temple sits on the side of a hill. You'll need several hours to explore the entire site, make sure you make time to see the large goddess of mercy statue.

The best time to visit

This temple is magnificent any time you are able to visit, but it's at it's best during Chinese New Year. That's because this is the only time you can see it with lanterns throughout the temple. There is also a fireworks display at the temple during the Chinese New Year period, which is worth visiting the temple for.

© 2020 - Simon Bond of Creative Photography School

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