URBAN LANDSCAPES And Special Techniques
In this project I have chosen to take photographs of the aspects of urban life that I see on my walk into Leeds. This includes buildings, roads and the vandalism that you find in populated urban areas. I have used tehcniques such as a UV filter, wide angle lenses and slow shutter speed to get some interesting effects for my final images. I have also included some photographs from a recent trip around South East Asia to show the contrasts between the scenery and urban envirnments in the different cultures and countries.
THE Â RUSTY Â TOWER
(Above) This is a really nice angle to photograph Broadcasting Place from. Once again the colours contrast to make the building stand out more but also the way the sky is reflected off the windows, even showing details such as the trees reflected gives this image another layer and therefore another point of interest. I like the abstract shape that this cropping gives the building and the used of positive and negative space works really well to frame the outline of the building, giving it a very crisp finish.
This was taken using a wide angle lens on my Nikon D5000, I like the way the lens meant that I could get the whole of the building in the shot along with the surrounding areas to give it some context. I have cropped this is a way that I think really enhances the interesting shape of the building, almost framing it and giving the eye a line to lead it upwards by leaving the railings at the bottom in shot. Also the blue sky against the tower really brings out the orangey red colour of the rust and the sun on it shows the detail of the panels as well as adding depth through the shadows under each section of the building. The building itself is obviously a very interesting subject to photograph but I think I have added interest with the composition I chose and that really makes this photograph one that I am very proud of. (Below) My favourite photograph in this set by far! I used a wide angle lens and took it from right down low which meant I got all of the building from a low perspective, giving it a slightly distorted look as if it is almost bending towards you and lso meant that I could get more of the sky in. If I could have had my way I would move the streetlight and the signpost out of the way but I don't think they affect the picture too much because your eye immediately focuses on the shimmer of the sun reflected in the lower windows and slowly moves up to the strange alignment of the other windows before finally resting on the outline of the building, which seems to almost be framed by the clouds.
EXPERIMENTING WITH FISH-EYE (Left) I like the splash of pink colour which gives the photograph an instantly upbeat atmosphere and draws the eye but when you look closer, you notice the rubbish bin on the right and the man hiding in the doorway on the left. I think the fish-eye enhances this and gives it more shape and dimension. As well as this I think the window in the centre give the picture more structure. Also that window covered in mesh combines with the other gritty elements in the image to create a very urban and almost menacing mood.
(Right) This is one of my favourite images in this series because I like the clear, sharp view of the bin and the rubbish complete with rain drops on the plastic bags and then he slightly abstract look of the graffiti. The colours help to give the bin a frame but because of the distortion, you can’t actually make out what any of is or what it says. I also like the bright blue and yellow from the bin which ties in with the colourful graffiti but gives the rubbish in its black bags a real point of contrast. (Left) This photograph was taken using a fish-eye lens that I borrowed from a friend. I had never used one before and sometimes feel that they don't always suit the subject matter entirely. However. I think that the fish-eye really lends itself to this image and brings out the shapes and colours of the graffiti without looking like a cliched photograph of vandalism. I especially like the composition, having the line down the middle which has been bowed and the graffiti on the right which looks like an eye because of the effect of the lens, as well as the vignette effect I added in post-production. There are small details in this image that don't necessarily stand out at first but are noticed with further inspection, such as the woman's head and the messy tag of 'Diego'. This photograph is messy but satisfying.
(Top Left) I attempted some HDR editing on this image but it did not work out (Tony has now taught me how to do it really easily) so instead I experimented with editing the settings to darken the highlights and lighten the shadows. The effect is that the sun becomes a glow behind the buildings, giving them real contrast but little definition. You then see the skyline in the distance and I think it almost looks like a painting, the colours of the sky being especially dull and giving the far away buildings little contrast. It may not have the same effect as HDR merging but I think it makes this image more interesting and I enjoyed experimenting with the way different levels create different effects and affect the overall outcome of an image.
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(Bottom Left) What I particularly liked about this photograph was the amount of layers of colour and textures which all come together to create a very busy but simple picture. The weight of the clouds in the foreground is levelled out by the shadows in the trees. Then as your eye travels towards the centre of the image, it becomes lighter and lighter and culminates in the splash of colour and brightness supplied by the little cluster of skyscrapers in the distance. I also early like the way you can just make out the shape of the mountain range in the background. Whilst this may at first seem like a relatively plain image, it actually has an incredible depth which increases the more you look at it.
This is one of my favourite images in this set. I like the orange glow that comes from the streetlighting and makes the cooler, brighter lights from the car headlights stand out more as well as the red from the brake lights. I like the way the lines are incomplete on the right hand side and then on the left hand side there is a variety of colours, some of which I cant even work out how I managed to capture them on that side. the little streetlights on the walls add a nice element of perspective while the focus is actually on the foreground. This photograph is made up of all different kinds of lines and they work together to create a nice composition. The small detail of the sign on the edge of the bridge is quite funny and just gives the eye something to focus on in amongst all the lines.
USING SLOW SHUTTER SPEED At first I couldn't understand how I had managed to capture the cars still and yet have lines of light from the front, as if they had been reversing. I then realised that I must have used a flash and it has captured them whilst they were still but then the motion carried on and the lights alone were caught. I like the way it shows the contrast between the cars stuck in traffic and then the ones speeding past on the left side. You can also see that a large vehicle like a bus or truck must have driven past. This image has more elements than most of these slow shutter speed style photographs usually have and that is why I like it, it's unusual. I also like the lights from the car park in the background which once again give a glow that stand out against the night sky, you only find this in more urban settings.
PERSPECTIVE AND THE VANISHING POINT (Above) In this photograph I tried to capture the real scale of the bridge, showing the shapes featured in the construction as well as the surrounding scenery which was breathtaking in itself. Whilst it is sort of predictable and maybe a bit cliched, I think that the use of perspective here is really effective and it might seem to exaggerate just how long the bridge was, when you are walking across it, it really is as long as it looks. I also like the way the low sun casts shadows throughout the steel and adds extra shapes and dimensions to the image as well as giving the rust a nice glow and the steel a bit more golden. (Right) This bridge has such an incredible but sad story behind it and you can feel the history while you stand there and I hope that I managed to capture some of that in this image. I think this photograph is one of my favourites because is shows the detail in the structure which in turn shows just how hard all the people and prisoners worked to build this all important bridge. As well as depicting this it also shows the difference in our cultures that people can just walk across a bridge with so many hazards and opportunities for injury. Whilst I have also taken some of the bridge with a traditional centred vanishing point, I like the composition of this. The unusual perspective almost distorts the spa and size of the bridge and adds an interest for the viewer as well as capturing more of the smaller details i the materials used and the way the structure has been put together.
(Above) Vientiane in the capital city of Laos and we came straight from the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, to here (with a 24 hours bus journey in between). The complete contrast between the bustling streets of Hanoi with the thousands of mopeds vying for space and the almost empty roads of Vientiane gave it an almost ghostly feel. This photograph was taken on a monday morning so the amount of traffic is obviously due to rush hour, just slightly different to the gridlock of somewhere like London. What I particularly like about this image is the way it conveys just how laid-‐back the country of Laos is. Especially compared to Vietnam and Thailand. I used the streetlights to create a clear vanishing point at the temple in the distance and this is mirrored by the rows of trees on either side and in the queues of vehicles waiting at the traffic lights. Another nice element in this photograph is the obvious presence of nature in the sun shining on the trees and plants which contrasts with the traffic and the fumes. It is all tied together by the manmade but still beautiful temple and fountain right in the centre of the horizon.
SO, Â TO Â CONCLUDE... These photographs were mainly taken around Leeds, both the City Centre and the outskirts. I've also chucked a few from my travels around South East Asia in there as well, just for good measure (and hopefully some extra credit?!) What i have tried to do in this document is to demonstrate both my skills as a photographer, my ability to experiment with different techniques and also to describe and explain why i chose these images to respresent my idea of an urban landscape and my worth as a budding photographer.
SINEAD O’HARE GRAPHICS AND DESIGN SEMESTER ONE LEEDS METROPOLITAN