trash on beach

A lot of trash on the beach of Labuan Bajo (Flores Island, Indonesia)

It is sad to see that in that small fishing town which is the gateway to the Komodo Islands, a nearby protected nature reserve famous for a species of large lizards (called Komodo dragons).­ The area also has some of the best scuba-diving spots.­

But unfortunately, local people are used to throw away trash on road sides and in rivers (which was fine, before the invention of plastic).­

They don't have good waste disposal or recycling facilities.­ So all the trash ends up in the sea, and then is washed-up on shore.­ It's particularly ugly at low tide.­

beach boats environment flores garbage labuan bajo low tide plastic trash pollution rubbish seashore shore

Photos processed in True Tone HDR.­

Those are High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos processed to represent the scene as observed by the human eye, i.­e.­ without some of the surreal effects that can be obtained with "heavy" tone mapping of HDR images.­

See also related series: HDR Photography (High Dynamic Range).

I sometimes do HDR processing from a single RAW exposure, since my camera has about 6-stop dynamic range in RAW mode.­ This is the only possible way to do HDR when shooting a moving subject.­

For those wondering about the technical part, here is some information about my workflow for producing tone-mapped HDR images from a single RAW exposure:

- The RAW image is used to generate 3 images using exposure compensation with Photoshop using Adobe Camera Raw: -2EV, 0EV and +2EV.­ This allows to capture about the entire dynamic range stored in the RAW file.­ You could also use Lightroom to do that too, or any software than can process those RAW files.­ In my case, I need to first convert the RAW files into DNG format (using the standalone Adobe CameraRaw Converter) because the version of Camera Raw that I can use with my Photoshop is not compatible with the RAW format of my (recent) camera.­ But you don't need to go through the DNG step if you have the latest Adobe software.­

- The 3 images (-2EV, 0EV and +2EV) are then merged into one HDR image using Photomatix (you could also use Photoshop to do that).­ This is basically an automatic process with no parameters to adjust.­

- The HDR image is then processed with Tone Mapping to obtain a displayable image.­ I use Photomatix for the tone mapping.­ There are many knobs that can be adjusted, but in general, to get a True Tone realistic image, I use 25% to 50% intensity in the Tone Mapping dialog.­ I then save the resulting tone-mapped image in TIFF format.­

- If needed, I then correct Chromatic Aberrations using the free and automatic Photoshop plugin from Photoacute, which works very well most of the times.­

- I then use standard Photoshop layers to do the usual final adjustments (Level, Curve, Saturation, Color Balance).­

The problem is that "industrial development" brings plastic bottles and plastic containers in country that do not have any trash collection system, let along recycling.­

Most people in developing countries are used to throwing garbage anywhere because in the past, most garbage was compostable, so it was ok.­ But now garbage is mostly made of plastic, and people still do the same, the throw it away anywhere.­ there are no trash bins in cities, and very few cities have trash collection.­ Sometimes people pile-up trash and burn it, which is not good either when the trash contains lots of plastic.­

My feeling is that corporations should be banned from selling plastic containers and plastic bags in countries that do not have trash collection and plastic recycling.­ In those countries, those corporations should subsidize plastic recycling and fund education programs if they want to sell their plastic junk.­

But that requires political will and most local people are quite poor and they would not want to pay more for plastic stuff in order to fund its recycling.­

Photos taken in Indonesia.­

Related photos:
- Malaysia and Indonesia