Maputo Station, Mozambique
I'm quite perplexed about immigration procedures into Mozambique. I've been a couple of times now and it's been the usual drill of passports and visas, but this time was a little different. By 'a little different', I mean non-existent. We were cruising in the MSC Sinfonia en-route to Inhambane, when a cyclone in the Mozambique Channel caused us to reconsider and to dock in Maputo harbour. So we ended up with a free day in Maputo. I was hoping for another stamp in my passport, but we were just turned loose with not a single official or formality (or form) in sight. I immediately started planning my anonymous life of crime in Maputo, but eventually all I got round to was taking a lot of photos and eating a very delicious lunch of grilled prawns and calamari at the fish market. And of course drinking the legendary local beer, 2M, pronounced doj-em! Wish I could find it in Cape Town.
We avoided the laid on and rip off tourist buses and set out to explore on foot. The first place we stopped at was the main Maputo Railway Station, a beautiful structure in the Victorian transportation style. It's just shy of 100 years old and still looking good, with just a lick or two of paint needed. For a country once very tetchy about having pictures taken of anything vaguely like a target, no one seemed the least concerned about me and my camera.
The building is sometimes erroneously credited to Gustave Eiffel (of the tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty), but was actually designed by architects of the names of Alfredo Augusto Lisboa de Lima, Mario Veiga and Ferreira da Costa. It recently had a moment of fame when it was turned into a hotel for the Leonardo diCaprio movie, Blood Diamond. I haven't seen it yet, so it will be added to the already-too-long list.
Before and After
This is a typical 3 shot handheld HDR, at an exposure compensation of -2, 0 and +2. In retrospect, I would like to have had an extra shot at the lower end, a -4 or so, to help get more detail in the sky. Alternatively, a set of -3 to +3, with 1 stop increments would have worked well too. But I'm reasonably happy with what I shot anyway, and I think the final image turned out well. More shots would have meant tripods and more fuss, and I would have distracted the people on the bench, who make this photo for me.
After the HDR treatment in Photomatix Pro, I aged the photo with a fair bit of contrast, texture and sepia tones in post-production.