Urban & Architecture Photography


Posts tagged Abstract
Urban photography with the Huawei P20

Every time a new smartphone is released it is inevitable there is going to be some sort of hullaballoo about the quality of camera attached to it.  I recently bought the new Huawei P20, not the top of the range three lensed P20 Pro, but it’s slightly cheaper, two lensed sibling.

Taken in HDR mode

Taken in HDR mode

We’ve all seen the marketing, the inevitable iPhone shot cover – funnily enough forgetting to mention the highly skilled photographer, the impeccable studio space, the photographers assistants and the thousand pounds of lighting – apparently it’s just the phone that does the work, but there you go.

All that being said, I wanted to try out the Huawei P20 for myself and see how it measured up for use for scouting my urban / architectural style shots.  So I thought I would give it a try on one of many aimless ambles.  Maybe this will be better option for me than a dslr with a 50mm I normally use when scouting locations?  

Taken in Pro mode

Taken in Pro mode

It is amazing how different the experience is using a smartphone compared to using my traditional styled cameras.  There is no denying the convenience factor but I still find handling a bit fiddly when photographing with a smartphone.

On the plus side smartphone design but default nudges you towards framing vertically instead of horizontally, so it is good to see things a bit differently.  It can be all too easy to fall in to habit of landscape framing when using a dslr or mirrorless camera.

Taken in HDR mode

Taken in HDR mode

So is it better than my previous option of scouting possible locations with my dslr and a 50mm lens?  Well, yes and no.  It is definitely much more convenient and being able to whip out a smartphone to take images in situations where using a camera would be frowned at is a definite plus.  Focussing is pretty quick and the Pro mode allows shooting in RAW (although, for my needs I am not sure how I often I will need/use this.  Time will tell).   Also, having the extra width (the lens on the Huawei is 27mm focal length) is useful for urban and architecture scouting.  The only downside is that smartphones (for me) are still a bit fiddly to use and can take a good while to set up to what I want in a given situation when using any of the advanced modes– perhaps I just need to use the phone more often?

What do you think?  How often do use your phone to photograph?  Do you find it a useful too?  Feel free to comment below.

Looking out for line, shape and texture in architecture and urban photography

Anyone who sees my work would surely know that I am a sucker for shapes and composition.  Truth be told it is often the shapes with in image that attracts to taking the photo in the first place.

I think the image above highlights that clearly enough.  I took this shot because I was attracted to the triangular elements at the top and bottom of the shot as well as the strong diagonals of the grey concrete.  I was also attracted to textures within each element - the horizontal lines in the dark brick work against the strong verticals in the grey concrete and the diagonals within the gold metal elements show a nice interplay (if that is the right word) of the materials used.

What do you think? Do you see similar elements when you create your photographs?  What is your approach when creating shots like this?

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.

Free ebook: download 'Abstracts' now

Abstracts is small selection of my favourite imagery (mostly) taken during my walks around Glasgow in the last year.  I hope the ebook highlights the inspiration I find in architecture, abstraction, geometry and minimalism.  The ebook is gentle mix of all of these styles and may well help the reader discover the joys of this style of photography.

Free Abstracts pdf ebook to download

Get your download here