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The Great Sphinx, the Statue of Liberty and the Tian Tan Buddha are among the world’s best- known statues, but right now perhaps it’s time to turn your lens on more local subjects. You’ll find statues in most towns and cities, so there’s plenty of subject choice. Recently, statues have been making news, but leaving controversies aside, they are worth recording in their own right as a photo challenge. There’s plenty of freedom when it comes to lens choice. A wide-angle or standard zoom means you can include the statue’s surroundings, while a Shoot statues
telezoom with a widish aperture can make the statue stand out from messy backgrounds, or you could use a smaller lens aperture for more depth-of-field. A polariser can help bring our sky detail and cut down glare (but not from metallic statues). More creative interpretations are worth exploring, too, and you can pick out parts of the figure, create a montage or joiner, or shoot at night. Shown here in the City of London is a statue of James Henry Greathead, unveiled in 1994. He was a brilliant railway engineer renowned for his work on the London Underground.
Looking for ghost signs will make you see at your local town or city in a fresh way. Ghost signs are the remains of old painted signs found on the sides of buildings, so you’re not going to see them in new towns, but they are surprisingly common and, for all you know, you might pass one regularly without actually ‘seeing’ it. Your ghost sign pictures will also have social significance and can be a good record as they deteriorate and fade when areas get developed. A telezoom is a good lens for this sort of photography, because it’ll let you pull in detail and give a pleasing perspective.
ABOVE Use a telezoom to compress perspective and capture the juxtaposition between old and new architectural styles
The old and the new
ABOVE You can be as inventive as you want when photographing statues
The juxtaposition of old and new can make for interesting architectural pictures. A telezoom is the best choice for this sort of photography, because the perspective- compressing effect of a longer focal length makes your old and new subjects appear much closer to each other than they are in reality. Just look for the right viewpoint to make the most of the scene and select a small lens aperture to render your contrasting subjects sharp.
Getting the right amount of depth- of-field with telephotos is more challenging compared with wide- angles. How much depth-of-field you get depends on the focal length, how close you are and the distance between the two subjects, so you might find that even a small aperture doesn’t get both subjects perfectly sharp. Try a small aperture and focus on a midpoint between your two subjects. If in any doubt, make sure the foreground subject is sharp.
According to research, 994 pubs closed in the UK in the year from December 2018 to 2019 – that’s around 2% of the total. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic is not going to help the situation at all. So, as you're walking around and you spot an interesting pub front or sign, it might be worth a couple of frames for posterity’s sake.
Or you could go the other way and shoot closed pubs before they get redeveloped. Use a telezoom to pick out signs and detail, and think carefully about the camera viewpoint for overall shots to give the pub some environmental context – and try shooting at night, too, for greater interest.
ABOVE Ghost signs can have social significance in an area
It’s so easy to walk around with your concentration on what’s at your height, and ignore what’s above or below. But looking around can pay rich dividends in terms of eye-catching images. It could be just finding some interesting building details you can pick out with a telephoto lens or, if you are anywhere with tall buildings, looking straight up with a wide- angle lens to use the power of converging verticals gives strong compositional lines. Shooting upwards on days with a blue sky will probably look good anyway, but you could try a polariser to intensify the sky, although take care not to overcook it. Just rotate the polariser in its mount to get the effect you like, which might not necessarily be the filter’s strongest look.
ABOVE Capture familiar sights in a new way simply by looking up, finding some interesting details and creating a strong composition
ABOVE Shoot images of interesting pub fronts and signs
Issue 79 | Photography News 11
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