Two Murals (Two Photographs)

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When it comes to prime lenses, the angle of view of a 24mm lens makes it one of my favorites. It gives a lot of room for maneuver. In an urban environment you capture great things in a tight space. Landscape photography is another great use of the lens. These were taken on a cold overcast day when I just wanted to test my new 16mm Fuji lens (which has the same angle of view as a full frame 24mm lens). There is nothing to dislike about this lens. Many kit lens are 18mm at their widest and it’s the least used element of the lens. Besides allowing you to shoot quite close, it’s a great exercise to force yourself to use an unusual focal length. Wide-angle lenses are a great tool to make sure your photos have context and framing.

Dynamic (Two Photographs)

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The statue is called Joy and it sits on a street that was long ago turned into a mall. The construction and for rent signs are only two of the obstacles to shoot around, during the weekday this downtown venue is packed, evenings and weekends not so much. It’s a space that it is hard to get clear shots. The statue is almost lost in those distractions so I chose a perspective that gave it some dynamism. The color version underline the issues I was trying to avoid and the black and white just works, but that’s my view.

Shooting for the Crop (Two Photographs)

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Shooting for the crop is one of those photographic phrases that has more than one meaning, and has changed over time. It can mean shooting in a format appropriate for its final use, for example 8.5 by 11 for magazines, 8 by 10 for framing. It can mean shooting knowing that in processing a bit of room around the edges will help. The latter is very useful and I would suggest always trying for a bit more room around your subject. Shooting for the crop can also mean choosing to shoot in landscape or portrait, another “in-camera” option that is useful. Some photographers shoot every photo in both, just as they set their camera to record both Raw and Jpg files. Perhaps most importantly, shooting for the crop is thinking about what should and should not be in your photo and what you want the end result to be.

Modern (Two Photographs)

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Two things about modern cities: they are always under construction and there is no end to leading lines. The first photograph is of the main post office building in downtown Ottawa. It was constructed in 1939 and is now undergoing renovations, like most of the better spots in Ottawa in honor of the 150th anniversary of Canada. The second photo taken a few blocks away is of a new condo/hotel hybrid only just completed. Leading lines are most often used to draw the viewer’s eye to a subject. They can come from any direction. What I think is lost in discussion about photographic elements like leading lines, is that geometric patterns in and of themselves are interesting. They may lead nowhere and leave the viewer with questions, or they can lead to a definite object deserving of attention. Both can work creatively to make an interesting photo.

Texture (Two Photographs)

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In photo composites one of the elements often used is texture. Texture overlays are popular in photography. You add a layer of some texture: clouds, fabric, sand, and then fade it into the picture to give added texture. Another method is to work with detail extraction, tonality and HDR toning to get existing textures in the photograph to stand out. Almost every add-in program has some form of structure, detail, and tonal contrast tool to affect these changes. It can lead to a grungy look, or give a photo a more realistic look. With the photo of the hydrant I used detail and tonal extraction and with the Canadian flag photo I added in some HDR toning. I finalized the images in B&W, because detail and texture are more evident in B&W. It’s a technique I have used often when I felt the texture of a scene was important or essential to its character.

1915 (Two Photographs)

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I took several photographs of this mansion, while several people looked at me askance unsure of what I was shooting. But no one spoke to me. There were two things that struck me: the date 1915 and the shadows. I am hard-pressed to understand how a mansion like this was built in the midst of WWI. Using my Fuji I was able to get a balanced exposure where neither the sky nor the building were burnt out, but the shadows were retained. Neutral density filters are sometimes used in photography to darken the sky and lighten the foreground, but I did not have one with me. So most of this is the result of in camera efforts with detail extraction and some work with the color in post processing.

A Garden (Thee Photographs)

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I came upon these trees against the wall of a school. I took three photos of the garden: a color photograph that is pretty much as shot with all the discolorations etc.; a B&W version where I have been kinder to the garden than it deserved; and a third in B&W where I have been far less kind. In general, efforts to spruce up a building with planters like this show more of a love for concrete than for trees.