Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Architecture - reflections

Architecture offers a good excuse to try and be clever with a camera. A building is either the main subject, or a back drop to something else.  Sometimes buildings can just lend substance, colour and texture, to form details of an abstract.  It is also interesting to display architecture using the surrounding elements or the landscape.

I have always noticed how buildings reflected in water can provide a totally different way of viewing them. Every city and town around the world has rivers and lakes, often offset against buildings, ancient or modern.  I always try to take advantage of water to highlight impressive buildings.

This first image was taken in Osaka, Japan.  This is taken across the castle moat with a slight windy ripple on the water. Japanese castles all have this wonderful sloping rampart style wall, which has a slight curve to the steep incline.  The small white building is just a guard house...  the actual castle is huge.  It is the water which adds depth and interest to this image, which would otherwise be quite simple.

This next shot is of an old mill building on the river Colne in Colchester. It is only 200 meters from my own house, so I pass this place daily.  The building never fails to amaze me and I have taken many photos. The water is often as still as a mill pond (not surprisingly), and can sometimes provide almost perfect mirror glass reflections.  This shot looked so much better in black and white, with a little help from Silver Efex.

This shot is obviously not a river, but one of those raised water features designed into this contemporary building space. Using the half inch deep reflective water surface, the architecture is given more vertical impact, exaggerating the height of the structures.  Also the diagonal perspective lines are given a vanishing point in the center.  I was disappointed that I over exposed the sky...  but the good thing about photographing architecture is that it is always there to try again.

You have to take a careful look at this next image. This is the old ruins of Newark Castle in Nottinghamshire. The building wall you see here is just that - a wall with nothing behind it...  no roof, no floors, no interior walls.  All that remains is this beautiful stone facade.  This photo is actually upside down from the actual image taken from my camera, as I aimed downwards into the glassy still water of the River Trent. This is an inverted reflection...   see the ripples on the tops of the walls and the fragmented moon?

This next shot was taken with my original Ricoh GRD; then messed with through Lightroom. It was a high ISO night shot taken with the camera rested against a lamp post, and not exactly super sharp. There is quite a bit of noise in the black sky.  The blue parts are actually royal blue flood lights, and I will never quite remember how I got this to look like it does.  It was one of those tweak to death processes.  But strangely, I quite like the result, considering I was going to delete it.

My final image is one of my favourites.  Sometimes, I cycle the Grand Union Canal through London. Starting very early in the morning from Hertfordshire, I cycle about 25 miles in one direction along the footpath, then turn round and cycle all the way back again.  It is an incredibly interesting way to see London and it's amazing history. Of course, I stop every so often to grab a few shots of buildings old and new. These are three buildings sitting on the water side near Islington, which just begged to be photographed.  Most people would ignore these  as they are mostly 60's and 70's flats, but I think this is a good example of how the use of reflection can add power to the ordinary.


Gerry's Blog said...

beautiful reflection shots Bill, its amazing how a reflection can add beauty to an image yet its often overlooked. You have a great knack of paying attention to details which is why you are such a good photographer.

Bill Wellham said...

Thanks Gerry. I'm an okay photographer... I only post the good shots. (you should see some of the failures I delete LOL). But I do look out for certain things. I do try to see everything around me as a possible photograph.

Michael Gatton said...

Spectacular. Great images.