The impressive view from the top of Karst Peak in Xingping China is well worth the long climb. From the start of the path, there are 1159 steps that eventually bring you to an altitude of 220 metres above the town. Depending on the weather, it can be a breathtaking sight, giving nearly a 360 degree view below of the Li River, Xingping Town, and the famous Karst Mountains that surround the entire area.

When we arrived in Xingping, it had already been raining for 5 straight days, and on our second day in town, the forecast called for a one day break in the rain. Not wanting to miss my chance, I made sure to climb up to the top with plenty of time to capture the sunset. It was a good thing too because the next day was the start of 5 more days of solid rain and fog.

Technical Mumbo Jumbo

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 14-24 f/2.8 (Shot at 16 mm)
Tripod: RRS TVC-33 / BH-55 Ballhead / RRS L-Plate
ISO: 100 at f/8
7 (-EV Shifted) Bracketed exposures at f/8 (-4,-3,-2,-1,0,+1,+2)

Hardware: 15” 2013 Macbook Pro Retina, Wacom Intuos5 Small Tablet

Software: Lightroom 5, Photoshop CS6, Nik Color Efex Pro 4

Technique and Details: Using a combination of luminance masking and painted masks, I blended brackets -4 through +1 together before adding additional color and detail contrast using Nik Color Efex Pro 4. The shortest exposure at -4 was able to capture the round detail of the sun and combined with the additional exposures, I was able to blend together the complete dynamic range of the original scene.

Espresso: A custom roast of 100% arabica beans from the Hunan province of China

Beyond Karst Peak - Xingping China