Entries in architecture (15)
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.
My third DSLR Photography Lesson with Bill on Saturday morning was our first 1-on-1 lesson as his wife Ria could not make it for this one. We met at the usual spot in downtown St. Petersburg on a typcially beautiful, sunny and warm Florida spring morning. The focus for this lesson was on making architecture shots, and how to use aperture priority mode to get a general idea of the exposure wanted, before switching to manual mode to fine tune it exactly to the desired results.
At the very beginning Bill showed me some shots of the St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront he took since our last lesson, homework so to speak. This was very useful to me in being able to show Bill which settings were correct, and which ones needed to be changed in order to produce a better shot. We then simulated some of those shot circumstances during our lesson so Bill could practice getting all settings correct for better results.
We had time during this lesson to start to discuss composition more, especially when photographing buildings. I showed Bill my parallel edge photography tip while saying that the entire building does not always need to be in the frame.
Our next lessons will start to include digital photography editing in addition to more shooting practice. I am looking forward to seeing Bill's early morning dawn shots of St. Petersburg with the help of the things we practiced this lesson.