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Posts tagged ‘Architecture’

Up for Discussion – Architectural Photography

My turn this week.  I have been trying to work out all week what I would discuss with you, I mean what could I possibly talk about?  I went through lots of ideas, copyright, critiquing images, something about blogging, and then I remembered my friend from a week ago telling me how she didn’t know how to photograph architecture.  So here we are on a Friday and I thought I would tell you something about photographing architecture, well I hope I can.

Architectural Photographyscchambers-5hpm7601-5

This has been my favourite type of photography, but for the last year I haven’t been doing a lot of it.  I think the new camera and learning to use my lenses in different ways has been partly responsible for that, but just recently, and with some reminders from other people, I’ve decided I should get back into it.

There are lots of different ways of photographing architecture.  Open any newspaper and you will see lots of pages of images of houses for sale and the real estate images.  Real estate images are about getting images of houses that are representations of what is there.  They try to show a house at its best to help sell it.  There isn’t a lot of scope for doing anything different.

Nothing wrong with that sort of photography, it just isn’t something that I have been interested in.  I like to do something different with my architectural images. I am more into fine art images of scmu2-4hpm2487-7-3architecture.  I like to try and get some mood or drama into an image.

When I look at buildings I like to find old ones, and ones that have some sort of character. Not that it is a hard and fast rule, I do occasionally find newer buildings that I also find interesting. When I am out and about I will photograph everything and anything that I think might be interesting.  It is rare when I am out taking photos that I find something straight away that I know I will want to do more processing too.

I don’t have particular angles that I go for.  I try everything.  I might show you one image, of a building, but I might have taken about 50 images of that same building.  When I have a building in front of me I try every angle I can think of.  I will photograph it from across the road, right in front of it.  I will try to the right, to the left.  I will try photographing the whole building.

LeanneCole-inverleighhotel-20130924-5936_4hpm-3Once I have all the angles for the whole building then I start looking for details.  Buildings are something that I have that I have always enjoyed looking at the details of, though I haven’t tended to look at really small parts, but rather parts that I think will tell part of the story.

When I get an opportunity I do like doing the inside of buildings as well.  Especially older buildings that have been, either kept in their original state, or restored to it.  I find those sorts of buildings have more of a story and you can get more from them.

I know a lot of photographers who do architecture will spend a lot of time taking photos in different light, use their tripod, or use tilt-shift lenses, but I don’t do any of that.  I will use the tripod for indoors, and only use it outdoors if the lighting is bad and I can’t get shots with low ISO.

For me the magic starts to happen when I get home and put the photos on the computer.  I never really know which one I will work on.  I go through the sccity-3hpm0031-2images and mark my favourites and then one will often stand out and I begin.  I try not to have any preconceived idea of what the final image will look like.  I have found in the past that I usually just end up disappointed when that happens. So I just go for it, try things, delete, or go back, go forward and I just keep going until I think I am happy with an image.

When I work on images I’m not always trying to get a true or accurate image of the building.  I try to provoke something more like, I don’t quite know, a feeling, maybe or drama, I have always like the idea of putting some theatre into my images.  I like to give the building a story I suppose.

I like to change the lighting, manipulate it, and put the focus where I want it to be.  It is a hard thing to describe, it is just something I do.  I know that doesn’t help, but when you don’t have a client and are just doing it for yourself, it means that you can do whatever you like to the image.  Experimentation is the key and just trying things.  I will often replace the sky to get the one I want, and I do a lot more manipulation as well.  It is my image and I will do what I want, I will try everything, delete most, but keep going.

So that is basically how I do architecture.  There is no real plan or goals, I just shoot and work with what I have.

laurent-melbourne-littlecollins-building-monochromeI have some videos that I have done over on my other blog if you are interested in looking at how I do them.  They are sped up, but give you an idea of what I do.  Here are the links,

The Before, then the After, and some of the Inbetween

The Old Shearing Shed in Woomelang

Taking a Look at Another Image While Being Processed

I might try doing some more too on just a straight image process.

I think that about rounds it up on how I go about photographing architecture, I hope it gave you some idea of what I do.

Guest Posting

I am always open to having people guest post, so if you are interested, then send me an email, my contact are here.  The discussion needs to be about photography, or blogging.  I don’t mind it being about blogging, but obviously being a photography blog, photography is best.  You can go through the archives to see what has already been done, and maybe you can give a different point of view to that.

If you are interested, then please send me an email and I will send you the guidelines. Please take note that I don’t pay people to guest post and I want accept posts that are advertising of any sort.



Introductions – The Insatiable Traveler

Today I have something a little different for you, well a blog like none I’ve shown before.  Susan Portnoy has been leaving some wonderful comments on my blog, so I started keeping an eye on what she does, and I have loved what she does on her blog, The Insatiable Traveler. I think of her blog as a wildlife blog, but it is really far more than that. Whilst she travels the world, her base is New York and there are lots of photos of there on her blog as well.  I am also keen on the images of New York as I am potentially going to be there next May,


Just one of the amazing images that Susan has on her blog.  Photographing wildlife is not something I’ve ever been really interested in, but I can appreciate and admire it.  I certainly admire what Susan does. Must be so incredible to see these animals in their natural environment.

As always I asked Susan my questions.  The first being how long she had been taking photos for.

I started taking photos about 6 years ago, but it’s only been in the last three years that it’s become an integral part of my life and my travels.

Then I asked why she takes photos.

It started off as a fluke. I was going to Peru to visit Machu Picchu with some friends and at the last minute they bailed on me and I decided to go it alone. It was the first time I’d taken a vacation solo. At the beginning the camera was a shield. It gave me something to do when I was alone and feeling a bit insecure wandering about the various villages and ruins by myself. However, by the middle of the trip I began to focus on capturing images that told a story, not just recording a moment or a place. When I got something I liked it motivated me to continue. I’ve been photographing my travels ever since.


I initially thought that i would show her wildlife work and not architectural shots, but as I was going through her blog, I realised I wanted to show her architectural images as well, I’m sure it has a lot to do with my trip to New York next year. I find I love looking at photos of it right now.  I can’t wait to get there myself to see what i can do.

I asked about inspiration.

Traveling without question. Exploring the world and photography is a captivating combination for me. I love experiencing my journeys in the moment while finding ways to communicate the people, places and things that I’ve enjoyed through my pictures and my blog.  In the last couple of years, wildlife photography has become a huge passion of mine. I adore Africa; it’s an exquisite continent. I’m a big animal lover and the wildlife there just blows my mind. Between that and the extraordinary countryside, sunrises and sunsets, I’m inspired around the clock. I also find the challenge of taking a good picture inspirational. I’m competitive by nature and when I really like something I can be a tad obsessive. No matter what I’m shooting to create a wonderful photograph is a puzzle that often has to be completed in a few seconds or I risk losing the moment. I am thoroughly besotted by the rush I get when I make an image of which I am really proud. It’s not as frequent as I would like but I guess that’s what keeps me in the game.


Her blog has lots of images of various animals and some like this one, so incredible, animals on the move.  You will have to go to her blog, The Insatiable Traveler, if you want to find out more information on what these are and where she photographed them.  Susan has a few images that have some incredible images of animals on the move.  They are amazing.

I asked if there was anything special about the way she worked.

I don’t think so. To be honest, I haven’t paid much attention to how I work compared to how others work to get a sense if I’ve got something special going on or not.


I had to choose this image, my cat Tiddles does this to me, I love it, so cute.  When I saw this I had to include it, it is such a beautiful moment  and a fantastic capture.

My final question was about the gear she uses.

On my last trip to Africa in September, I borrowed and used a Cannon 1DX with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X, 90% of the time – thank goodness for friends with great equipment and rental sites.  I also had my Canon 5D Mark 3 with me and switched off between my EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM and my EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM depending on what going for with the shot.

Shooting elsewhere in the world and in New York, I tend to use my 24-105mm the most, my 16-35mm f/2.8 for cityscapes or inside buildings, the 70-200mm when I really want to play with DOF and distance, and recently I’ve been kicking around with a 35mm f2.8.   A full list of my gear can be found here:


Many of the architectural images remind me of the sort of thing I would too, I know they aren’t the same as mine, but I like the angles she uses.

I hope you will all go and see Susan’s blog, The Insatiable Traveler, and check out all the amazing images that she has there.  You will be amazed.  I would also like to thank Susan for letting me showcase her work and The Insatiable Traveler here on my blog.  I will put my favourites into a gallery for you now.



Looking at the ANZ Building on a Quiet Thursday

Today I thought looking at the ANZ Building on a Quiet Thursday seemed like a good idea.  This building is one that anyone who loves Melbourne will know and love.  For a relatively modern building the architecture is really outstanding and I wish more buildings could be built here that considered where they are and how they influence their environment.



This is an image I took from the top of the Myer building through a glass window.  It is a fairly typical view of the Melbourne skyline, well one from here.  The ANZ building is the second tallest in this image.  The gothic looking one and it is brown.  I love the shapes and lines in it.  It is a very distinctive building and one I’ve been chasing and trying to get an image of for a while now.

Recently when I was in the city for a Social Snappers Photography Excursion we were near this building, so I took a little detour.  It wasn’t where I thought it would be, and I can’t believe I have walked past it a couple of times and not realised. I didn’t miss it this time, and I took some photos of it and the other day decided to play with it. I was really glad that I had taken my 14-24mm lens with me, it was perfect for this shot with the Nikon D800.  I was going to do it for the post on the city in Weekend Wanderings, but I knew I wanted to do more with this one.


So the other day I started playing.  I haven’t down a brilliant job with it, but I am happy with how it is has come out.  Of course I replaced the sky and played with the lighting in the image.  I did have the whole building, from the road all the way up to the top, but in the end cropped it a bit, got rid of the road at the bottom with the parked cars, and other buildings at the side and behind.  I think it seems to be standing tall now and is quite dominant.  I am quite happy with it.

I hope you having an easy day.  The weather here has been more rain, but the sun is starting to peek out, so hopefully off to the coast to try out the filters more this afternoon.  Have a peaceful day.


Weekend Wanderings – Collins Street, Melbourne

Last Sunday I had another Social Snappers Excursion and this time we explored the architecture along Collins Street in Melbourne.  Traditionally, or maybe historically, Collins Street was the business district of Melbourne, and to some extent it still is.  As you walk along it, you can see the shopping part, which is the east end and then as you cross over Swanston Street and Elizabeth Street you start to head into the more business end, the end with the big buildings, the ornate buildings, the ones that say money is here.


We started at the Spring Street end, where Parliament House and the Treasury Building is, and one of the first buildings we came across was ANZAC House.  For those that don’t know ANZAC refers to Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and here in Australia we remember what they did in the first world war and the second, mainly the first.  It is a terrible tale of waste of our soliders by the British in many respects, and was a time when countries like Britain didn’t think much of our soldiers and they were often sent where the British wouldn’t go.  I’m happy to say that that attitude did change.  I don’t know the whole story, but that is what I have been lead to believe.


In the first half there are also a few old churches and they have the architecture and smaller associated buildings as you would expect from older churches.  This is the Assembly Hall, and I think it is part of the Scots Church in Collins Street, one of my favourite churches.  I love the gothic style architecture, and I also love that the ties to the past have not been removed.


The corner of Collins Street and Elizabeth Street.  I thought it would be interesting to show you what our streets look like. I imagine not that much different to other parts of the world.


The entrance to the old Stock Exchange Building.  When gold was found in Australia in the mid 19th century Melbourne really benefited from it, since most of the gold was found in Victoria, Melbourne became one of the wealthiest cities in the world, and had to have the buildings to match.  Unfortunately not all the buildings remain, and there are photos of some really amazing buildings that have since been torn down to make room for out massive impersonal, ugly skyscrapers, where the developers are more interested in building the tallest buildings without much concern about how horrible they are.  It is sad to see that craftsmanship, like in this building is gone and we most likely will never see buildings like this being built ever again.  I love the detail.


This is right down the other end, and our journey was almost over.  A new building going up and by looking at it, the most interesting thing about it the reflection of the buildings in it.

It was a great excursion, we walked all along it, we went from sunshine to overcast, from being warm to being cold.  We stopped at the Lindt shop for afternoon tea, and chatted about photography, and some other things. It was a great afternoon, I really enjoyed myself and the other ladies did as well.  I have more photos to show you know, so will put them into a gallery for you.  I hope your weekend is going well.



Weekend Wanderings – Getting Dark in the City

Yesterday I was in the city doing some photos with someone.  We started in the late afternoon and took photos until just after 9pm, it was really getting dark in the city then, so I thought I would do some of those photos as my Weekend Wandering post today.


Melbourne Town Hall, it is looking rather ordinary at the moment, but in a month or two I’m sure it will be decorated for Christmas.  I like photographing the same buildings over, they are always different, whether it is the light, or what they have on them.  I would like do a great fine art architectural shot of this building.  I realised yesterday that I will need to use my wide angle, otherwise I can’t fit in the tower.


Stopping at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the Block Arcade is almost something I can’t stop doing.  I didn’t get many photos as by the time we got there they were clearing the window.  I might have to try getting a shot of that one day.  I did ask some questions about the window, so will try some more photos soon.


Can you see the bright lights in the water, something reflecting off the bridge.  It was really strange, but we had fund trying to get photos of it.

These two photos look the same, well they are really. except one has a blue sky and the other one is browner.  Maxwell International Australia has let me keep the filters a little longer so I could experiment a little more.  The sunset we got in the city was terrible, really, not much colour, so I thought it would be interesting to try the tobacco graduated filter.  It really warms the image up.  I have been playing around more and on Tuesday will show more photos and talk about the kit a little more.


We saw the gas going off outside the Casino.  We got there hoping it would happen at 8pm, but then some other people who were there looked it up and said that it wouldn’t be on until 9.  We thought, oh well, and just kept taking photos of other things, and then all of a sudden, on they came.  I hope the people who thought it came on later still saw them.  Unfortunately for us, we didn’t think it was going to happen, and so weren’t really prepared, still we got some shots, I just wish I had got a little more of the reflection.


Then it was time to do some night photos of the city.  I love photographing the city at night.  I love seeing how it looks.  So I love it when people say they want to do it. I especially love doing One on One Photography Lessons for people who want to learn night photography. I don’t know that I will ever tire of it, there are always different places along the river to go.

I am going to leave you with a gallery now, I need to start planning a driving trip today for my daughter to get in some more driving hours, but also so I can go somewhere to try out the filters again.  Have a couple of ideas, but you will have to wait and see.  I hope you have somethings planned for the weekend.  I am back into the city tomorrow for Social Snappers, we are doing architecture along Collins Street, should be great.


Introductions Robin Kent

Today I would like to introduce to you Robin Kent and his blog, photographybykent. I’ve known Robin for a while and is always helpful with advice, and I remember back in the discussion I had here about PC or Mac, he was probably the one person whose comment I remember the most, it solidified my decision to stay with a PC. His photography is also quite amazing and I find I get a lot of inspiration from it.


His photography is stunning and I know he travels a bit.  I find myself drawn to his work also because I think it is similar to the type of shots I’d like to do.

My first question was about where in the world he was?

First, I want to thank you for the opportunity to talk a little about my photography.  I only recently started  my blog, and was lucky enough to find yours early on.  I have been following you ever since.  But, to answer your question, I am based in the United States, just outside the city of Washington, DC in northern Virginia. Washington is a fascinating place for photography.  We have great architecture, the Potomac River, all of it tied into the country’s history.   But I also travel a good bit, so my subjects can be pretty varied.

Robin Kent Oregon Sunset

There are scenes and things that I see in images like this and I want to be able to take these images myself, but we don’t have any beaches like this here, not that I have been able to find.  I suppose it means I will just have to make the most of what is around me, which is what I’ve been trying to do more.

I asked Robin he takes photos?

When I am outdoors with my camera there are occasional times when the basic elements—light, air, water, and the earth—combine to create a special moment.  I look at it this way: we are standing on this platform, a globe that is spinning at 1,000 mph; a silver orb—the moon—rotates around us at 2,300 mph; the earth, the moon, and planets, everything around us, is illuminated by a ball of fire that we are circling at 65,000 mph.  That’s pretty magical stuff.  But with the enormous scale and speeds of all these moving parts, one is likely to only get a glimpse.  And that’s what I’m trying to do within the limits of my location, equipment, and abilities, to capture a glimpse of the magic.

Then I asked him how long  he had been taking photos?

I guess I’ve had a camera in my hands as long as I can remember.  But I didn’t get really serious about it until about 15 years ago when I stopped working for a living and decided to concentrate on photography.



His work also reminds me that I need to get back into architecture and taking photos of it.  The plan for me this summer.  So I have enjoyed looking at his architectural shots and what he has gotten, though I know that where he lives means there are some great examples of architecture there.  I know I shouldn’t complain, Melbourne has a lot too.

I asked him about his inspiration, and he was the second person in a couple of weeks to have mentioned this person.

I would say Galen Rowell, who introduced me to the concept of “magic hour” at one of his workshops I attended back in 2001.  Until his tragic death in 2002, he was known for his concept of the dynamic landscape, capturing images that feature unexpected convergence of light and form, moments that are seemingly unrepeatable.   I’ll never approach his deep understanding of outdoor optical phenomena nor his athletic ability, but the week I spent at his workshop continues to have a great influence on me.

Robin Kent Approaching Storm

Sometimes you just want to follow a photographer because you just really enjoy their photos, I find that with Robin. I can’t always explain what it is about their work, you know you just love it.  I am always looking for things like this to take, and I think he also reminds that maybe I should stop being lazy.

I asked Robin if there was anything special about the way he worked.

I usually go out at dawn or dusk; that is the time when the sun is near the edge of the horizon, when the cool colors of the night merge with the warm tones of the day.  But a fair amount of planning is usually involved.  It usually begins with the solar and lunar cycles.  It’s not well known, but the layout of Washington, DC takes the annual solar cycle into consideration.  The perfect east-west axis of the National Mall with the US Capitol Building as the eastern anchor and the Lincoln Memorial at the western end is one example.  So if you are looking for a certain convergence of the solar cycle with an architectural element you have to know what day and time it will happen.  It’s a lot easier today than five years ago before smartphones with apps were available.  But you still have to know where to look.


Most of you know that I have been trying to do star trails, though I won’t be trying again until next winter now, but Robin has given me some advice on how to go about doing them on my other blog.  I just love his, and would really like to do some and get similar results.  When daylight savings finishes and I don’t have to stay up all night to do them, then I think I will try this again, and try it a lot.

I asked Robin about his hear, which sounds very similar to my own.

I shoot with a Nikon D800E.  The powerful sensor enables me to get highly detailed images that make it possible to produce very large prints.  Some of my work finds its way into corporate spaces and typically they want something big.  I have three lenses and about 70% of my shooting is done with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom.  A Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto accounts for about 20% and the 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle picks up the rest.  A sturdy tripod is a must, and my analog compass has been replaced by an iPad with “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” app on it.  As for filters, I use a circular polarizer and a variable neutral density filter.  An intervalometer and flashlight are also key items in my backpack.  I always shoot RAW and my post-capture workflow starts with Adobe Camera RAW and goes from there into Photoshop.  I don’t use any plugins. I do most of my own printing with a 24” wide Epson7980.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Robin for letting me feature his work here on my blog.  It has been fantastic going through his blog and see what work he has done.  He also sent me some images that haven’t been on his blog, so we get to see them.  Thank you Robin.

Robin has his blog, photographybykent, but he also has a website where you can view his work, Photography by Kent. I hope you will go and take a look at both and see for yourself his work.  I have more photos for you now that I will put into a gallery for you.



Introductions – Days and Months

Monochrome Madness has been a great way for me to find new people and make new friends, and I’ve heard from many of you that the same thing has been happening to others as well.  Today’s Introduction is another one of the friends I’ve made through MM, Kaz.  Kaz has been part of it for some time, and her blog, Days and Months, is another blog that I have started following.  I’ve come to see that we both have similar tastes in what we like to photograph.


This was the shot that really made her work stand out to me – I just loved it.  I like the way the waves seem so soft. This is something I would love to do a lot more of.

My first question to Kaz was how long she has been taking photos for.

I have always loved photography and had my first SLR in my very early 20’s (and I guess if you are adding up, that IS quite a while ago and back in the dinosaur age of using film!) Soon travel called and I all but sold my soul to travel so anything I owned of value was sold including my Ricoh SLR. It took a very long time before I got back into photography, purchasing my first DSLR about seven years ago.


The way she photographs architecture by capturing unusual angles is something I am always trying to do. I love the way she is able to show this unique technique in a nontraditional way, which, again, is something that I aim to do with my own photography.

I then asked Kaz why she took photos. Her response was one I could really identify with.

Difficult question as I don’t know why I do it, I just know I have to. It is almost like I cannot see properly without the lens in front of me. It opens my eyes to our beautiful world and when I do see something that catches my eye I want to capture it to keep as a memory and to share that with others.


The coast is something I like to see, but it is also good to see that she takes photos of all sorts of things around her.  Which led to my next question.

What inspires you?

Nature foremost, it inspires me daily to try to capture what I see and put it in a photograph.

Funnily enough as I love my landscapes to be in colour, my first real photographic inspiration was and still is Ansel Adams. The first time I saw one of his fabulous black and white landscape photographs I was mesmerised. His photography is definitely poetry in motion and a very high bar which to constantly strive towards!



Her being a photographer who enjoys capturing what is around her reminds me of myself. It is great to see someone who constantly tries to challenge themselves to get better images.

My next question was whether there was anything special about the way she worked.

No, nothing special to see here. I just go without too much forethought, so much so that I can find on any given outing I haven’t taken an SD card which is still in the computer (or the spares), my shutter cable and a myriad of other things that, if I was an organised person, would have been checked off on a list and put into my camera bag! I am not a methodical person I just go with the flow.

I do always shoot in RAW and post process in Lightroom. Photoshop is a bit of an enigma still but I am slowly working on getting more familiar with it.


I try to find inspiration around me and show that you don’t have to travel to get lots of images, well, great images. Sometimes having the hometown advantage means you know the place better than others, and you get to learn when to take photos, and are presented with more chances to take better photos.  This is something I am trying to do with the area that I live near.

Something every photographer wants to know about other photographers: What gear do you use?

I have just bought a Canon 70D which I am very excited about having had a 1000D for a number of years. It feels like Christmas! I am still having a wonderful time exploring all its capabilities at present and being surprised regularly on what it can do.

My most used possession is a Sigma wide angle lens 10-20mm (always use it on 20mm) which, since purchasing, has changed everything! It definitely makes my photos come to life and have more depth.

I never go anywhere without my neutral density 10 stop filter as I like to take slow shutter speed water shots and of course my tripod and remote shutter cable (that is, of course, if I have managed to put them back in my camera bag).

I also asked Kaz where in the world she is situated.

I am lucky enough to live in the northern rivers area of New South Wales, Australia which is on what is described as the Scenic Rim (This is part of the Great Dividing range of Eastern Australia and in part forms a group of mountain ranges straddling the border of south east Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales).

Between the mountain ranges and the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast I have diverse landscapes to choose from which I am always exploring and constantly discovering.

I hope you will all help me in thanking Kaz for allowing me to showcase her photos and blog here today.  I would also invite you all to go and take a look at her blog, Days and Months.  There are so many great images there, I just know you will enjoy them.  Here is a gallery of some more of her work as well.




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