The Creepy Green Stairs

LA Times Article on HDR Photography

Thanks to Robert Lachman over at the LA Times who wrote this article on HDR Photography. As you can see, Robert is also a photographer that has the HDR bug! You can see that first image in there is his… not too shabby eh?

Daily Photo – The Creepy Green Stairs

Why are the stairs green in this? Anyone, Anyone? Bueller? Voodoo economics is the answer.

Instead of answering directly, I’ll let you clever readers figure out the answer and put it down in the comments… I have faith in you guys to figure it out!

This was taken in Kyoto, Japan on a rainy evening. This is one of the main temples that stay open late into the night. It’s one of my favorite times to come, because the crowds are gone and everything is extra-eerie. It makes it even more special while I’m listening to my special playlists on my iPod. It really gets me in the mood to make these sorts of shots.

The Creepy Green Stairs

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-05 15:48:01
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  • wil

    Fushimi Inari Shrine

  • wil

    oh yeah…


  • casusan

    Beautiful temple Trey! I am not sure why the stairs look green other than the fact it looks like it’s raining and something with the lighting. Robert’s article was wonderful – and yes, his photo is fantastic!

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  • AS

    Yeah I’d have to say because of the rain the stairs have a thin film of water on the surface reflecting the leaves of the trees above them.

  • Nick Cawood

    Awsome shot Trey! I would have to say it’s the green foilage that has changed the colour of the light that has bounced down.

  • Yeah, have to go with what both AS and Nick said. Foliage can have the tendency to color other parts of the scene green, and wet surfaces definitely accentuate the effect. I likely wouldn’t have even thought about the green on the steps if you didn’t mention it. It just seems to be common in this type of shot!

  • Very nice, the glossy stairs really draw my eye… Japan is on my list!
    I put up my first astrophotography shot today, taken here in Queenstown. Not bad for a first attempt!

  • Interesting – my first impression was that it might be a moss or algae build-up but i’m not so sure. The light on the left is wonderful – i love oriental paraphernalia such as that.

  • Simon Morris

    Good article Trey, thanks for the heads up!
    Regarding the green steps… yep, reckon it’s the combination of rain, lighting and green foliage 🙂

  • Interesting the article says “In journalism, in order to create honest photographs, we must work within the boundaries of public expectations… ” It seems, honesty is now related to people’s perception rather than an absolute standard.

  • Gail in Montana

    Beautiful photo of the temple. The stairs might be picking up the green color from the trees, have some algae on them from the rain, or a combination of these. I would love to see this temple, maybe in my next life, or maybe when I come back as a ghost, lol 😉 . Thanks for sharing, Trey!! Have a wonderful Valentine’s weekend. By the way, what are you getting for Valentine’s day, Trey, more technical stuff or candy, lol. We are going out for dinner with two other couples. And tonight our American Legion is having it’s annual Valentine’s dinner/auction, etc. I’m staying away from those silent auction tables!!!! Another too much food week, ugh! My Valentine’s gift is my profile picture on facebook. Sorry all for the long post. Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!

  • Pag

    I’ll buck the trend and say that the green has nothing to do with the rain or the trees. My guess is that white balance was set to match the lantern on the left (tungsten balance) while the rest of the scene is lit by some industrial lighting that has a green hue to it. This green tint is so different from the warm glow of the lamp that the white balance made the whole stairs appear green.

  • Great shot! I’m going to go with alien slime….a thin layer of alien slime. Or maybe dragons…hmmm.

  • Dennis

    fluorescent street lights perhaps? looks a lot like it…

  • Mercury vapor and fluorescent lights will give things a green cast unless the white balance is set for them.

  • The title of this photo makes me think of the Type O Negative song “Creepy Green Light.” Ha! Although creepy, very awesome perspective 🙂

  • Hazen

    I vote for WB.

  • Thanks all! Good guesses all around. It’s basically up there…some things I might add:

    The light, taken in short bursts, is really very white. The steps are NOT green in person. If I were to crank up the ISO to decrease the shutter speed, everything would appear much more white and less green. But since the shutter was open so long, the white light got washed out by:

    1) The green light that was reflected off the trees
    2) The extra-green light that was re-reflected off the ground to the trees and back to the ground

    Anyway, to make the stairs appear less green, you can just crank up the ISO… but I liked the creepy green look!

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  • As noted above, Japan makes extensive use mercury vapor lamps which are actually green. Most other countries use sodium vapor, which is yellowish white.

    If you observe japanese cities from the sky or satellite, you can better notice their distinctive “green” fatigue.

    This is what is reflected in your rainy shot… nothing to do with the trees or the moss…

  • PJ

    On the stairs, I think that it’s the glow from a green traffic light at a crosswalk. As for the trees, they are just illuminated by regular “white” lighting from other sources nearby.

  • PJ

    Woops! My guess was trumped by the correct answer that I just noticed above.

  • Haha! Everyone always remembers “Bueller….Bueller….?” But hardly anyone remembers the next line on Voodoo economics. Funny, that of all the things Ben Stein has done, he will be remembered for that.

    I like the image. However, that light up front is so strong, its hard for my eye to make it to the back of the image.

  • While I have not had the time to get into HDR images, i enjoy your work and love this shot!

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