Fantasy at the opera

Fantasy at the opera

The Opera House (Staatsoper) in Vienna is a magnificent building – so it will feature here for a few entries.

(Click on image for larger version.)

The front of the building is decorated with five statues. This one, apparently, represents fantasy.

The ceiling behind the statue is brightly and richly coloured. But I felt that the wire mesh (presumably to deter birds) was very intrusive. So, I opted for a monochrome approach. But rather than converting the image to black and white, I desaturated some of the colours. This preserved the steely blue tinge of the statue, which I liked.

(Other, similar images can be found on my Flickr site – if you’re interested.)


Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

On our second (evening) visit to the Shard, I came up with a strategy to compensate for the ‘no tripod’ rule. I placed my camera on the floor; knelt down; and pressed the lens hood against the glass. It wasn’t perfect, but I got a couple of decent shots with this approach.

(Click on image for larger version.)

There’s nothing unique or creative about this composition, but I am pleased with the blurred motion of the vehicles on the bridge. (You’ll get a better view by enlarging the image.)

I also like the shimmering reflection in the river, which was ‘kinda intentional’.


St Paul’s #2

St Paul’s #2

So, a different treatment of yesterday’s photo. My first thought was to create a black and white version. And I like it.


But then I thought that if I added layer mask, I could pick out the golden decorations and clock face. I really like this one. And I couldn’t resist picking out the light on the crane! (To see it, you’ll need to click through to get a larger image.)




Using the sunlight

Using the sunlight

This image was also taken in Edinburgh – on a bright sunny day. As I stood outside the National Gallery, I looked up and spotted the General Assembly hall behind the branches of the tree. I instantly knew that I wanted to try to capture the building in silhouette. It’s not exactly perfect, but it’s OK. I felt that changing the exposure any more would lose the foreground details. P1220847

Then it occurred to me that it would look better in black and white. One simple conversion late, and I think I’ve got a much better image. What do you think?


3-frame challenge

I’ve decided that it’s not good enough to keep taking photos. Instead, I want to improve as a photographer. To start this process, I’ve started this blog and I’m reading – and doing the exercises – in David du Chemin’s book Ten (which is free to downloaded just now).

The first chapter is called ‘Get pickier’. Part of the exercise in this section is to head out for an hour and shoot only three frames – no shooting in bursts. This is not my usual approach (to put it mildly), but I accepted the challenge. I even added another factor – I wanted to take images from the Christmas market in Perth.

The three shots below are the result of walking around for about 40 minutes, then taking my three frames within the next five. I haven’t done much with them during processing – the point is to learn about what you see and take.

The first one is an attempt to set the scene. It was early in the morning, so there weren’t many shoppers around. In hindsight I should have made more of an effort to show the stall-holders setting up for the day. Alternatively, I could have zoomed in on the young man glancing towards the stalls as he walked past, although I have t admit that I wasn’t really looking at the people at all!

The booth below had such an eclectic range of wares, that it caught my eye early on and I kept going back to it. I don’t think that I used the right perspective for this one (which is a running theme).

I liked the simplicity of the display of cheeses, but I wanted to get the garland in the shot to reflect the Christmas market element. This would have been better as a close up of the rows of cheeses, without the unnecessary background.

So what did I learn?

1 – It’s even harder than I imagined to limit myself to a small number of shots. However, I’ve adopted something of this approach subsequently (without the arbitrary number) – I am taking fewer shots, although I’ve reverted to taking bracketed bursts.

2 – To make intentional improvements in something that we’ve been doing for a long time, we sometimes need to slow down or go backwards to make progress.

3 – I’m looking forward to the next challenge from du Chemin… whatever it is. I’ll keep you posted.