Entries in architecture (16)
I am often teaching 1-on-1 photography lessons in downtown St. Petersburg and have personally photographed almost everything there is around that area. For my students, this is good because I can show them all my favorite spots. For me to make an image of some interest for an oft photographed place, sometimes I need to spice up the image. So for the above shot I went off axis, used a long exposure to blow out the sky, and then finally converted it to black & white using an infrared filter. I also tried to combine nature and archicture in one image. These are all photograpy tips to try for when you are at a place you have photographed a lot before, but still want to try and come away with something new.
Let me know what you do to spice up photos of places you have shot in many times before.
Pushing the shutter on your camera when looking at a subject at eye level with nothing else special done is very likely to result in an uninteresting photograph. Shooting like these I often refer to as just snapshot photography. I tell my photography students that to make a photograph one often has to show the viewer something she/he cannot also see simply by standing there too. One of the easiests ways to compose a shot that breaks from this constraint is to simply look, up! A sharp eyed viewer will also notice one of my other favorite composition techniques in the above shot of Signature Tower in downtown St. Petersburg--ending lines flush in corners.
When teaching photography at night I often tell my DSLR photography lessons students that with long exposures you can turn night into day. Well, with a high contrast red filter, you can do the harder reverse of that, which would be turning day into night! It is actually not hard if you have the awesome Silver Efex Pro plugin, which I have been raving about for years.
First I went through my normal digital photo editing workflow on this architecture shot of Signature St. Petersburg. I made a duplicate and sent it into Silver Efex Pro. From there all that needed to be done to change the color image to black & white and the blue sky into a night one was to click on the high contrast red filter preset. No mess, no fuss.
All you see above I could navigate precisely on foot, by bike or on train, for this was my home neighborhood for six years. Yet I never saw it from so high above until the very end of my time there. If it looks like a maze I can assure you it most certainly was. Passing through it on foot or by train was a constant series of turns, not just left and right, but also up and down in and out of stations, underground street passages and long, very long tunnels. By far the fastest way to get from point A to point B was by bike, especially if one had the nerve to ride out in traffic, though by day or night I only ever found a section of about a quarter mile of road in that entire maze to be risky to ride on.
When friends visited it was a point of pride to lead them on a dizzying path through routes that took months to learn.
I made this photograph from the Nikon Headquarters high up in a skyscraper in Shinjuku, the hub of Tokyo, if not its heart. I lived a 10-minute walk from here, which in Tokyo walking time, is a short distance. You could get hands on with every lens Nikon makes and also bring your Nikon DSLR in for a free sensor cleaning if it was still within warranty. You were also treated to the view you see above. I of course had to shoot through windows to make this shot. I erased the spots on the windows visible in the sky portion of the photo.
If you can believe it, this place felt as much like home to me as any place I have ever lived.
Finding and using repeating patterns in your photographs is my photography tip for this week. In the above photograph of Signature St. Petersburg I composed the shot to exaggerate row after row of balconies so that they came to form a repeating pattern. I also held my camera off-angle to create a leading line with the far edge of the skyscraper and also the interior contour that leads the viewer's eye from lower right to upper left. Thus, in this architecture shot I combined repeating patterns with leading lines in an attempt to produce an interesting photograph.
I used the exact same techniques in composing this architecture shot as well, just put into portrait orientation. In composing and later in cropping, I paid special attention to make sure each leading line ended exactly at the edge of the frame. Note how the lower left the line ends right into the corner, and for the small line in the upper right, just before the roof went upwards to the right, I cropped it there to keep the line straight.
Lastly, I chose black & white processing for both these images because there was cloud cover and the building itself lacks color, so no reason to leave what little color was left in the image.