Urban & Architecture Photography

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Amazing Edinburgh photo locations: the National Museum of Scotland

I have to be honest I initially travelled through to Edinburgh to try out some street photography.  I thought the Edinburgh Festival crowds would be a great time to try something different but the vast crowds meant I could barely walk three inches without bumping into someone or being held up in an endless stream of festival goers.

I decided to avoid the crowds and visit the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street.  I am glad I did, the space is fantastic and absolutely amazing for some interesting photography.

Top level of the museum. Shot at 1/160, f8, ISO 400 @ 35mm

Top level of the museum. Shot at 1/160, f8, ISO 400 @ 35mm

The image above was taken on level three of the older part of the building.  As you can see this part of the building is light, airy and in places ornate.  It lends itself perfectly to some interior architectural photography.

The shot below was taken in the modern area of the building and there are plenty of opportunities to create light, minimalist style images such as this.

The ground floor is beautifully spacious and airy: Shot at 1/125, f5.6, ISO 400 @ 35mm

The ground floor is beautifully spacious and airy: Shot at 1/125, f5.6, ISO 400 @ 35mm

Inside and out the, the museum offers ample opportunties to create a very interesting photographs.  The shot below shows the exterior of the newer style building.  The combination of line, shape, and texture provide very interesting compositions.

These are only two of the images I shot at the museum.  I intend to get back again soon, this time with a more than my 35mm lens to take the beauty of this space.  What do you think?  Have you ever visited the museum?  Do you have any shots you'd like to share?

Great Glasgow photo locations: the Glasgow Science Centre

Sunny day photography can be a bit awkward.  The harsh light and shadows can make it difficult to get any decent shots.  However, it is possible to use this light to your advantage and make some good photographs.

The Glasgow Science Centre affords some neat opportunities for sunny day photography, especially if, like me, you are a lover of all things architecture and abstract.  The steel buildings and their shapes can provide some great shots.

Domes-Glasgow-Science-Centre

Many photographers just do not go out in this type of light.  To be honest it can be a challenge.  However, with a little thought and a polariser filter – an absolute must for reducing glare and boosting colours – it is possible to make some great shots.  Architecture is especially good to photograph in these conditions provided you navigate away from the worst of the reflections.

Close up of Armadillo building, just across the river from the Science Centre. As you can see you can use the harsh sunlight to create shadows in your image.

Close up of Armadillo building, just across the river from the Science Centre. As you can see you can use the harsh sunlight to create shadows in your image.

What do you think, do you enjoy photographing harsh light or do you avoid it all costs?  Got any suggestions for other photography locations?  Get in touch.

Four steps to successful architecture location scouting

Glasgow is famed for its Victorian architecture, however, in the last twenty years or so the city has seen a notable increase of modern architecture being introduced all across the city.  I thought I would set myself the challenge of finding and photographing some of the more modern architecture.  This is how I go about scouting for locations in Glasgow.

Examples-Glasgow-Architecture-Tour

1.  Use Google Images and Google Maps

I started my search using a simple “Glasgow Architecture” search and identified the buildings I was interested in photographing, before searching specific for specific images of these buildings and mapping my route around town using Google Maps.

2.  Carry a light load!

One of the biggest benefits of location scouting is that you don’t have to carry all your gear with you.  I take my DSLR and a 35mm prime only.  That’s it – no extra lenses, no bag, and no tripod.  There is nothing worse than carrying a load of gear around only to discover what you thought was a great location is not everything you hoped it would be so scouting your locations saves all this hassle.

3.  Don’t worry about the light (yet)

This may sound odd but at this stage I am only looking for compositions I like.  I don’t worry about the light – or the quality of image I am taking just now.  My scouting trip is solely for recording ideas for later, interesting shapes or textures on buildings.  It is not until I plan to return to photograph that I concern myself with quality and direction of light.  I usually find that when I am recording these ideas I know what I want the final shot to look like.  For example, I know whether I would like to use a long exposure or prefer a shadow on a specific side of building.

4.  Import images to Lightroom

When I return home I import all of my images into Lightroom and create a ‘database’ of locations I want to photograph later.  I also find it useful to print a contact sheet which I keep in my studio as inspiration for later.

This is my scouting routine, it is fairly simple but by just planning a little I find my shoots go much more smoothly and I can capture the image I hand in my mind when I first clicked the shutter button.

All that I need to do when I return to my location is check the weather on the day and use an app such as Sunrise Sunset to check direction of light and time of sunset.

Conclusion and checklist

  • Search Google Images, Flickr, 500px etc

  • Map your route

  • Take minimal gear – a DSLR and one lens is enough!

  • Record images for future ideas – don’t worry about the light just yet

  • Print your images for later

What is your scouting routine?  Do you plan even more thoroughly, do you know of any tools which may be useful?  Leave your comments below.