POP PHOTO SHOWS HOW
Nature-photography techniques can clean up your city shots
The favorite subject of most amateur photographers is nature: sunsets at the beach, autumn leaves on the forest floor, closeups of dew drops on a spider web. For this standard repertoire of universally admired pictures, photographers have developed certain techniques. For example, in the alpine meadows, you’re apt to practice the art of selective focus.
Although you’d probably shoot a landscape strewn with wildflowers with a standard lens, an enterprising photographer is quite likely to reach for the telephoto to make a more creative variation. Example: By getting down low, which allows some grass to intrude into the frame, and shooting with a large aperture, you can create a photo similar to the one above left, with its pleasing out-of-focus frame surrounding the subject.
But why limit this technique exclusively to landscape photography? I made a standard shot of the Dallas skyline which was okay, but uninspired. Then borrowing the framing technique from the nature photograph, I used the shiny rooftop of a car in the foreground to add a little romance and mystery to the photograph above right. In addition, there is the bonus of a slight mirror effect because the skyline and its reflection are both at the same focused distance.
When shooting mountains, we often seek out their reflections in alpine lakes (lower left). In the city after a rain, look for some large puddles or seek out public squares or parks where there may be fountains or ponds. Use them as you would an alpine lake. Getting close with a wide-angle lens achieves this mirror effect since it magnifies the reflecting body of water (lower right). Careful choice of the angle of view will enable you to encompass the entire skyline.
You can’t bring the country to the city, but by adapting the techniques of outdoor photography, you can make the city appear more natural.
Bryan F. Peterson