Architecture

The Alley (Two Photographs)

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Alleys have a special place in the urban environment. In many cities they provide great opportunities for photography and are such popular subjects that it is rare to be the only person in an alley with a camera.


Urban Grunge (Three Photographs)

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In any modern city there are these grungy dark corners. The shapes and colour remind me of some of the older forms of modern art in museums. The composition can add to the inadvertently attractive  grunge.


Banal (Two Photographs)

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The word “banal” is more substantive and positive sounding than boring. The banal sights around us sometimes need to be captured by artists not just for historical reasons, but because we forget the complexity of modern life. The hydrant goes down a story underground to meet up with water pipes but all we see is a colourful and functional tool.


Monochrome versus Black and White (Two Photographs)

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I knew I would process this photograph in black and white, but the gradations of grey in the colour/monochrome version were very appealing as well. They make for an interesting study side by side. Given a choice I would normally opt for Black and White as it has more emotional impact. But in this case the issue is highlighting urban design.


Chiaroscuro (Two Photographs)

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Chiaroscuro is a term for the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, modeling with light in painting and drawing. I have yet to see a definition that applies chiaroscuro directly to photography. But it does often apply.


What’s It Worth? (Two Photographs)

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I have always wondered why some of the world’s most expensive modern photographs were worth the price. The photographs in this post mimic one such photograph. In an art gallery on seeing a photograph valued in the low six figures, I asked the gallery owner why it was so expensive. I was told it’s not the photo alone that sets the price but the fact that it was printed on special paper with special inks. And while some papers and some inks make a difference I could not see it making that much of difference. Some things are just bluff.


Formats (Two Photographs)

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Besides deciding to shoot in portrait or landscape format, we have to decide what format to cut the photo down to e.g. 8×10, or 4×5. There may be a number of factors at play over and above the subject matter. But the one trap is filling the frame in camera in such a way that you cannot format the photograph in post production, the subject fills the screen. I make this mistake every so often and the portrait shot here is one case of that.


Just There (Two Photographs)

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Studio and professional photography often involve finding a location for a subject to be shot in. Just that step can take a lot of time and effort. But there is almost always something “just there” on my walks, that rises to the level of classic photographic art. I am not alone, I seldom go a day in good weather without seeing another photographer on the hunt.


Window (Two Photographs)

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These two photographs, or edits of the same image are designed to make a specific point. I should not have to squint to figure out what the subject is in any photograph. But I often have to and that’s a problem.


Who Let the Bird Out (Two Photographs)

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These are two more photographs of things found on one of my walks. It’s a big question if this will be something I will be able to do this summer. Covid -19 has really put a brake on a lot of the best of life. Yes, the title applies to the second photograph).

 


Postcard (Two Photographs)

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There several ways to make your photographs of monuments look original but it’s always a good idea to take a postcard approach as well (they are just as difficult). The photo is of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.


Walls and Patterns (Two Photographs)

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Patterns are really interesting ideas for photography; they can be seen everywhere from flowers to walls. On my walk about with my camera, patterns sometimes seem to jump out of the confusion of the city.


Awesome (Two Photographs)

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Building owners are always looking for good pictures of their buildings be they drawings or photos. There certainly are many ways of making even the meanest of buildings impressive, usually this involves avoiding shooting ugly surroundings, choosing a particular perspective, or framing a part of the whole.


Concrete and Flora (Two Photographs)

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Here minimalism is taken up a notch to add in trees and foliage. In my view it is no less stark, no less dramatic and makes for some interesting photography. There are many varieties of photography and I urge people I know to try new things, it can’t hurt.


Looking Up (Two Photographs)

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There is a photographic saying that you should look up, down and around and you may be surprised by what you see. Walking the streets with a camera requires a real wandering eye. I look for the unexpected, something different and am often surprised when I see it.


Stairs (Two Photographs)

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Sometimes the shadows catch your eye. I find it takes more than one shot to get the framing right and even then I fiddle with the crop to capture the idea. Often I will bracket exposures and use Photoshop’s HDR function to meld the results, giving me even more latitude.


An Abstract of an Abstraction (Two Photographs)

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Twist 1.5 was crafted by Alex Wyse and Ken Gould in 1978, and it has weathered many a storm in its outdoor location since then. These shots were almost inside the sculpture itself, to reflect the detail and working of the wood. Just a piece of the whole on a day when the kids weren’t playing on or in it.


A Matter of Taste (Three Photographs)

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I like these shots or I would not publish them. One of the lessons I have learned in photography, is that no two people see things the same way or have the same aesthetic appreciation. I don’t expect everyone to choose their favourite among the three shots. I do hope, however, that one or more of these will have something in it for all (I call this the photographer’s prayer) :).


Another Take on the Museum (Two Photographs)

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Most museums that permit photography do so with some caveats (no tripods, avoid photos of modern works etc.). I would note that many museums are themselves architectural works of art worthy of study.


Light and Shadow (Two Photographs)

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A photographer once told me given the right lighting anything can be made to look great. There have been many instances where I would agree that lighting has made all the difference, but frankly I kind of like a pleasant subject as well as good light. But it is worth remembering what he said when you are faced with a challenge.


Working (Three Photographs)

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“They call them works of art for a reason.” This is my umpteenth time trying to get shots of this unique doorway and in these three photos I may have succeeded. My point, however, is that photography is seen by many as simply pressing a button, while in reality many photographers put considerable effort into every shot they take.


Dali-esque (Two Photographs)

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I mentioned earlier my criteria for the legitimacy of taking photos of the works of other artists (signed or unsigned). Here I took a piece of the whole that reminded me of Dali’s work. Photographers can learn a lot from other art forms and mimic the light, general ideas, and moods. It’s almost a must in one’s photographic education. 


Distortion (Two Photographs)

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There are three types of distortion in photography that I think are of interest: lenses often have distortion (there is usually an in camera or post-processing fix that can easily be made); whenever we photograph glass there is a high incidence of distortion; and finally there is creative distortion in where you position yourself. You can take advantage of these distortions. These photos, while the focus is on the reflection, also benefit from other distortions of the glass and lens position.


Old is New (Two Photographs)

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I have photographed this window before and it has appeared on my blog before. Sometimes an urban subject is such that I return to it again and again, hoping to get just a touch better result that better illustrates my fascination.