Urban & Architecture Photography


Posts in Photography Locations
A new perspective: shooting square format photographs on the Fujifilm x-t2

One of my favourite functions on the Fujifilm x-t2 is the ability to change image size on the fly.  In most circumstances I shoot the standard 3:2 ratio but the ability to quickly jump between 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 is a great little function.

Skateboard Shop Glasgow.jpg

I decided to get out and test myself by using only the square format (1:1) setting on my x-t2 and see what images I could come up with.  Forcing myself to shoot in this way is a great way to keep the creative juices flowing - by sticking to one crop ratio it challenges me to find new shapes and compositions that I would never look for if I stuck to the default 3:2 crop.

abandoned building in Glasgow with tree

The images above were shot using the 1:1 square format - I have actually set up a shortcut in my Q (quick menu) button meaning I can flick between these ratios while I’m preparing a shot, then flick back to 3:2 when I 'm done.  In recent months I have found myself cropping a lot of images to 5:4 format in Lightroom so if Fujifilm could furnish their next firmware update with a 5:4 crop that would make me a very happy man.  I am sure you will notice a lot more square format images as I continue to get to experiment.

vintage camera lense Helios 44-2

What do you think, do you use these crop sizes or challenge yourself in a similar way?  Leave your comments below.

Street Art Photography in Glasgow's South Side

I don't often venture to the Southside of the city but I decided to take a wander down Tradeston way, just across the Clyde.  For urban and urbex photographers there i=are some great locations on offer.

Much of the area runs parallel to the rail line which runs in to Central Station and there are many derelict buildings adorned in some fantastic graffiti.  There are also many small businesses which occupy the 'arches' which lie under the rail line.  It's pretty easy to saunter around this area as there are lots of opportunities for photographs.

Why imposing limits can boost your photography

As a photographer it is all too easy to fill up the camera bag with every single piece of kit we can physically carry and head off crooked backed spending endless hours in one spot waiting on the perfect light for one single shot.  This can be fantastic but sometimes we need to mix it up and get our minds doing something different.

I like this composition and plan to return soon. I will probably shoot it a little wider and more than likely during sunset or the blue hour

I like this composition and plan to return soon. I will probably shoot it a little wider and more than likely during sunset or the blue hour

I like to do this by imposing limits on myself.  So I made a quick trip to Stirling city centre with only one lens (Nikkor 50mm 1.8G) and two hours to make some photographs.  I like making quick trips like these; it’s a neat little exercise.  I find it is similar to how an artist would use a sketchbook – I am making quick visual notes, saving ideas on shape, compositions and possible locations which can be returned to and examined later, hopefully to create a finished photograph.  Luckily, Stirling has a very small city centre and can be easily walked around in two hours.  Also, it is a medieval city and therefore any modern architecture stands out a mile.

Abstract Forthside Bridge, Stirling Station

The Forthside Bridge became my main interest to photograph.  It is located only a minute from Stirling train station and is a stark contrast to pretty much all other architecture in the area.  It is modern and sleek and highly photographable.  I spotted the bridge as I approached the station on my train from Glasgow but decided to photograph all around the city and focus on the bridge upon my return from the station.

it is similar to how an artist would use a sketchbook ... making quick visual notes, saving ideas on shape, compositions and possible locations...

What I love most about photographing modern structures like this is that they offer great opportunities to go abstract and focus on elements with the structure as well as the structure as a whole.

In any creative pursuit imposing limits makes us think differently in order to find solutions.  As photographers it can be all too easy to just slip on a different to get the ‘perfect’ composition, but sticking to one focal length we are forced to seek out new compositions and ‘work’ a scene to get something new.

Accepting reality: sometimes an OK photograph is all you can do

Set up shot.  The rain belts down.  Waterproof camera.  Repeat until utterly frustrated and drenched to the skin. Sometimes, no matter how meticulous you plan you just can’t get the shot you want.

It can be hard to accept this as a photographer.  We check the weather in advance and when we are in a location, trying to make that image we live in the moment and can become completely unaware of our surroundings, time, and no matter how much it hurts, how we cannot control our surroundings

I've been down to this part of the Clyde at least four times and each occasion the weather (or just bad luck) lets me down.  It either rains, it’s far too sunny, or cloud falls and the golden hour just doesn’t show.  Sometimes, as on my last visit, the street lights don't work and the surrounding area was in complete darkness... for whatever reason luck can evade you and there is nothing you can do about it.

Sometimes, as a photographer, however hard it is, you have just got to accept you can’t get the image you really want.  Sure, you can get an image, even a good one, but the vision you had in mind just isn’t possible.  It can be very frustrating but there is nothing we can do about this except relax, deal with what is in front of us, make what we can, and realise we can (usually) come back and try again… and so I am sure I will be back to take this shot on at least one more occasion… and the light will be perfect, right?