Photography News 99 - Web


Our larger urban areas are photo hotspots, but with so much opportunity, it pays to focus on just a few ideas at a time. Here are three subjects with massive potential worth exploring City clickers

URBAN SCENICS, STREET art, people, architecture and night scenes are just a small sample of city subjects you can have a go at. Whatever your photographic tastes,

there’s something for everyone. Furthermore, with Photo 24 coming up in June, now’s the time to look at the creative photo opportunities on offer in our towns and cities.

Reflected glory

Walk down almost any urban street and you will see reflections – from shop windows, polished cars and mirrors. In landscape shots, a body of still water is ideal for reflections, and even flat light can work. But in urban locations, a stronger light is best to make the reflected subject stand out and, in the case of water, even a gentle ripple works well. With the harsh light of summer around the corner, now is a great time to start enjoying this subject. You can get some wonderful abstract compositions. There are many variables with such a diverse genre. The first technique to master is looking for reflections as you walk. Once you start seeing them, you get to know what conditions work best. Exposures and focusing are technical challenges to overcome. A bright reflection and dark reflective surface can make it tricky to get exposure right. Shooting in auto is fine, provided you use compensation to get a good exposure. If you have the time and the subject is static, take an exposure bracket and merge them later in editing. Focusing can be tricky, as there is a choice between zoning in on the reflected subject or the reflective surface. Both work, but the usual advice is to focus on the surface, or use a small enough lens aperture to get both decently sharp.

The camera’s AF can struggle and may not focus at all. So be prepared to manually override the camera or use focus lock. Also consider a polariser to control the reflection. This filter cuts down glare and minimises the reflective effect, so rotate it while watching the effect and shoot when it looks right. PN reader Andrew Moss has taken a watery approach to his reflections: “This time last year we saw the easing of lockdown restrictions, and I was able to get out and try an instant project. I had seen the work of Mike Curry, who specialises in photographing reflections at Canary Wharf, and decided to have a go myself. “I spent a wonderful morning taking photos in and around the area, within half a mile or so of the Jubilee line tube station. There’s an amazing variety of images to be found just looking at the way the world is reflected in the many bodies of water. The obvious places to start are the three main docks and many buildings that surround them. Wandering around, I found all kinds of different reflections – neon signs, DLR trains, boats and even air-conditioning inlets. There are fountains and a raised rivulet at Jubilee Park, directly above the station, where the trees give a completely unexpected green view. “Varying shutter speeds provide very different results. There’s always another angle to be discovered. You can shoot with the sun behind or in front – there are many opportunities to play with light and shade. “All in all, it was a rewarding, relaxing and fulfilling time, which resulted in quite different and very satisfying images.”

ON REFLECTION Good light is definitely a benefit when shooting water reflections, especially with a wind-generated ripple. In processing, don’t be afraid to get more aggressive than normal with contrast, dehaze and clarity sliders for a strong, abstract look

Issue 99 | Photography News 17

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