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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.


(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,  TO  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.


A critique of semester one Urban Landscapes  

Final images from the urban landscapes project complete with critiques and summaries.

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