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As explained in my previous post, I had a couple of professional trips and was able to free some time for photography. The most recent of those trips drove me to Shanghai in late July to early August. Although the trip had to be re-scheduled twice due to issues with the service provider who managed the entry authorization procedure, I fortunately managed to keep the extra-day for getting to know the city counting more than 26 million inhabitants.

In preparation for the one day I had to explore the city, I worked with a Lonely Planet city guide and an app from Snapp Guides: a convenient and quite insightful photography spot guide to Shanghai. The app helped me to identify a couple of spots in the city in advance.

Pudong Skyline in Shanghai at sunrise

One of the tips, I read in the Shanghai Snapp Guide as well as in the Lonely Planet city guide was to take photos of the famous Shanghai skyline from the Bund at sunrise (and also during sunset, but I’ll get to that later). Due to the time lag between France and Shanghai (+6 hours), I usually woke up at around 3 am local time being wide awake immediately. Taking this as an opportunity for the day of city exploration (during my professional days in Shanghai, this was rather problematic), I took a taxi from my hotel in Jiading at 4 am and arrived at the Bund at around 4:30 am. My smartphone’s weather app told me that sunrise was at around 5:10 am. This meant that I had time to explore the photographic spots with view on the skyline and to let my cameras to adjust to the warm and very humid weather after the air-conditioned drive in the taxi.

The place and its view on the skyline were amazing and I was by far not the only photographer setting up their material for shots at sunrise. However, du to the fact that I travelled with some material for the company in-house trainings, I had to reduce my photographic equipment to a minimum. First victim of that was my tripod – I only took a small Gorilla tripod. Nevertheless, travelling lightly was not an issue this time, but I will definitely take another tripod for my next trip – fortunately, there will be several opportunities in 2020 to get back to Shanghai.

Editing the photos in Lightroom

Despite the heading above, I will not provide a detailed section here on how I edited the photos step-by-step, but only let you know that I experimented with presets I downloaded from Serge Ramelli. I long hesitated before acquiring presets for Lightroom as I wanted to really improve my own skills and to get familiar with all of the features in Lightroom. But as there were heavy discounts on the preset collections, I decided to experiment. I’ve just started to use Serge Ramelli’s presets, but as I already watched his videos for quite some time now, I am really impressed by the quick – but then adjustable – effects on the pictures.

The results for my pictures are below and I am extremely happy how the presets and additional adjustments helped to get the most out of the photos, I was already happy with ou-of-camera.

Shanghai Pudong Sunrise 16

Shanghai Pudong Sunrise 16
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Shanghai Pudong Sunrise 16 | 2019

Notes for my next visit to Shanghai

Although capturing the sunrise over the famous skyline of Shanghai was not my only destination for the day, it occupied however quite some time for the morning. My initial plan was also to turn back to the Bund for sunset to see the illuminations. But, unfortunately, I was completely exhausted later the afternoon and decided to get back to my hotel. Next time, I will definitely try to turn back to the spot and a rooftop location for my next trip to Shanghai.

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