Scouting

Architecture and reflections in Glasgow's financial district

Architecture and reflections in Glasgow's financial district

I feel I am finally getting to grips with my transition from my Nikon d7100 to my mirrorless Fujifilm xt2 and decided to take a walk to the financial district in the city centre of Glasgow.  There are some pretty modern buildings in this area, however, most are probably between twenty and thirty years old and there are no such things as a sky scraper (New York or London it is not!) but it is definitely checking out this area.

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A new perspective: shooting square format photographs on the Fujifilm x-t2

A new perspective: shooting square format photographs on the Fujifilm x-t2

One of my favourite functions on the Fuji 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.

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Street Art Photography in Glasgow's South Side

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.

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Urban photography with the Huawei P20

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.

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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.