Getting The Shot 18: Onsan Spaceship

ISO 100 f/13 Bracketed -2/0/+2

Setting out to shoot in Onsan is not an easy task for anyone. The key here is transportation and knowing where to go. You also must go in with the understand that they don’t necessarily want you photographing their facilities. This means the there are very few clear shots of the factories and takes a bit of driving to find which places have a clear line of sight.

The Shot: I wanted to create a sort of space-like feel and this structure. I want to show the reflections, lights, smoke, and pipes that would give the illusion that this was not some petrochemical facility but something not of this world. To do so I would need to give a sense of place and use a higher aperture to achieve a starbust effect in order to give the lights a little more dramatic shape. My biggest challenge with this shot was that I felt that I was either too close or too far away. I just couldn’t get the “feel” right. The second challenge were the trees at the bottom of the frame that kept creeping in. At any rate, I composed the image to minimize the appearance of the trees and maximize the amount of the structure that I could get in without giving a feeling of being “too far away”

The Location: To get here from Ulsan you must head to Onsan heading past the train station on HWY#7 keep heading straight until you are almost out of town. On your left you will see a driving range (a little out of place but makes for a good landmark) and continue past a few kilometres. Once you pass the huge SK gas station on your left you will see the orange sign for a tire shop take the left there and follow the road until the first 4-way intersection. Turn left and follow the road down 2 blocks just before the turn.

[box type=”info”] When parking, shoot on the far side of your car. The more obstacles you put between you and the security box down the road the better. They probably won’t ask questions but it never hurts to be a bit cautious. [/box]

The Post-Processing: Being as how I was shooting at  a high aperture (f/13) there was a lot of crap showing up on the images and part of the reason why a trip to the local canon shop to get my sensor cleaned is on the top of my to do list. At any rate, with some dust also showing up from the filter as well, the sky in this shot was a complete mess and it the shot was almost scrapped because of it.

At any rate, pulling a few tricks out of my bag I was able to darken the sky and mask away any of the noise cause from the dust and dirty sensor. The healing brush in Photoshop makes quick work of these spots but be careful when working around buildings or anything with detail as you might brush in part of a building into your sky. When working around detailed parts, it is best to use the clone tool and manually select the sample area.

[box type=”warning”] When driving in and around Onsan be very careful as the drivers of big rigs don’t obey traffic laws and are very aggressive. [/box]


  1. Kat Reply

    Get your sensor cleaned… discovered that one last time we shot Onsan! Shame about the trees, love the sneaky hiding behind your car to take photos!

  2. doms Reply

    Sir, i how long is the exposure of 3 bracketing that you do??? Hands down i love the picture.

    • Jason Teale Reply

      thanks for the comments. I will check the raw files and get back to you as soon as I can.

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