Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Photo Walkabout – A Low Cost Method

A few days ago I was walking around downtown during my regular routine of getting out at noon hour and enjoying some fresh (relative) air to that of the office environment. The city of Ottawa is quite fortunate in that since it is the capitol of Canada there is a large amount of greenery through the downtown core.

This year we did not have our first frost until the end of Oct and therefore, while the maples had all lost their leaves, (they seem to be on their regular schedule for colour) the other trees such as elms and willow were much later with their leaves turning yellow.

When I returned to the office I wished that I had brought my camera with me. It was a bright sunny day and now with the sun a little lower on the horizon the yellow leaves seemed to glow, even though it was at noon hour and the shadows were now longer.

I then realized that I did have a camera with me, as I had previously bought a Sony Ericson K790 that includes a Sony Cyber shot 3.2 Megapixel camera with auto focus.

It’s amazing how at times we seem to get set in our preferred methods and forget how useful improvisation can be.

I decided that the next day, I would take a similar route and shoot only with the cell-phone camera during my stroll.

I liked how the brightness of the yellow leaves contrasted with the colder blue shadows on the concrete terrace and walls. In this image your eye is first drawn to the brilliance of the leaves and then moves downward on right to the yellow flowers in the pot and then to the person sitting on the bench. The stone triangular rock helps to move your focus back up to the yellow canopy. There are many places in the image where the colour yellow is kept as the dominant theme.

It is hard to believe that you can find such tranquil forest like setting in an urban environment.

With the wide-angle lens in the cell-phone and standing further along the street in order to remove the street post, it becomes tricky to get the perspective perfect. I kept the main horizontal line of the building level and let the remainder lines fall where they may. In this image I used the 2 smaller yellow shrubs to both compliment the colours and provide a visual route around the photo as we travel back up the dark tree trunk and branches. I also like how the blue reflection in windows provides the contrasting colour to yellow.

In this scene, the 2 small trees and the dark bottom frame of the skylight and far building create a frame around the reflection of the green copper roof in the glass. The 2 other clusters of green leaves helps to create the compositional element of 3 to anchor the image. The analogous colours of the yellow leaves, the browns of building and tree branches and also orange in the rust all re-enforce each other.

The copper clad building panels have a bluish tint because they are in the shade and pickling up the colour of the clear blue sky and this is used as the complementary colour of the yellow flowers to add dynamic contrast.

The red-orange leaves on this tree become more intense when contrasted with the colours of green from the other shrubs and the blue green reflections in the glass panels. The vertical line on the right, along with the evergreen topiary and then the walkway light helps to create the visual movement around the image. The image was cropped on the right to remove the distracting streetscape.

I like this image because of the strong opposing colours of red and green and the fact that each colour is contained within a specific grid and almost divides the image in two. Due to parked cars and road traffic it is not always possible to get just the right angle to crop distraction out.

Sometimes the local businesses provide good ready-made graphic patterns that are almost begging to be photographed.

I cannot emphasize enough that take whatever camera you have access to and take it often with you and capture images as soon as your eye catches a glimpse of something interesting. Don’t wait for the perfect shot as these you may already have, after a re-visitation to what you have already created.

Niels Henriksen

A Photographer’s Adage

I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung up and ready to pounce, determined to 'trap' life - to preserve life in the act of living. Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes. -Henri Cartier-Bresson


Neha (india) said...

i rly liked your piece.I keep hearing about how camera phone is not the as a digital camera.But who carries a digi cam evrywhere these days.The photos were splendid,especially your take on them.

shinoy said...

Nice article.
I would like to share a few snaps which i took with my mobile cam here. Hope you will enjoy watching it.


Shabbbir Hussain Imam said...

Using Cell-Phone wisely & creatively is all depend on user's seriousness about clicks. Your article is very nice initiative and i must say we all have to try to use gadgets and time wisely yet creatively.

To see how i have used my Nokia N8, check the photo-album of my city PESHAWAR (Pakistan).


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