In past decades, development sites were simply fenced off. Then they became surrounded by hoardings – made up of plywood panels secured to posts. The wood was left bare or painted white. The protection of the site was purely utilitarian, more often than not the hoarding itself was more of an eyesore.
In recent years things have changed dramatically. Modern hoardings now have plastic finishes, they are smart in appearance and increasingly they are being used as canvases for information, advertising, and even community involvement.
One of the cleverest ideas was evident on the hoarding surrounding the old Middlesex Hospital site – now Fitzroy Square – in London’s West End. Children’s art from the local primary school filled one long side of the site in an excellent display demonstrating community involvement. Click here to see my post showing images from that display.
While in Islington recently, I walked down City Road and passed a thirty-one storey residential development titled ‘Canaletto’. I’m not sure whether Canaletto the Venetian painter would be happy to find his name associated with a modern building, but that is by the way. What caught my eye was the imaginative hoarding on which had been printed a series of computer-generated images advertising the finished product. These images were presented as if they were framed prints that had been wrapped for presentation and the wrapping then torn away to reveal the content.
That’s enough of me rambling on – see for yourself in the image below. The cleverness is the way that the hoarding has a 3D appearance to it, although I can assure you it is strictly 2D.
Light is everything – it’s light that makes photography possible. And when the light is shining bright the facades of the buildings on the streets of London come alive.
I was walking back along the Euston Road. It was a glorious blue-sky day and the north facing facades of the buildings on the south side of the road were reflecting buildings to the north of the road with extraordinary clarity. With each step the image changed. One minute it was blue sky, the next an impressionistic interpretation of a building. I took a considerable number of images from which I have selected the minimalist one you see below.
A simple line of washing hanging on a balcony in Camden last week. What attracted me was the symmetry of the arrangement under the projecting curved balcony of the storey above.
Today’s post follows on from yesterday’s ‘Look! – for critique’. Thanks so much to all of you who responded to my request for comments and critique on that image. It is further evidence of the pleasure of being part of this on-line community that is supportive, committed and generous. If you haven’t seen yesterday’s post or seen all the comments it would be helpful to take a glance at that before reading further.
In summary, although there were quite a variety of opinions, I think it would be fair to summarize the overall feel of yesterday’s comments as liking the bottom half, but finding too many faults with the top half of the image – and most of those were about the rather intrusive and messy flare.
The 24hour period immediately following a shoot is not always the best time to evaluate one’s images. This is a well-known fact. Emotions get in the way – we remember what we saw with our eyes, and when the camera doesn’t quite match what we ‘recall’, we can struggle over much to make the image conform to our memory. Well, I tried and failed. The best advice often is to allow a period of time to elapse and then, and only then, evaluate our images. Another 24hrs is not enough, but with your help, I think I now see the potential image within the picture. And if I’m honest I think that what really attracted me in the first place were the shadows cast. Here it is.
I’ve boldly cropped off the top half. That removes the context completely – the London bus, the congestion, the small references to Christmas. It becomes an image that stands on its own, divorced from its surroundings. It’s all about shadows and that one word, that command: ‘LOOK’.
I’ve converted to B&W, cleaned up the white highlights within the shadows, raised the contrast, and then posterized the image. Personally I think it’s a big improvement. It’s now over to you for further comments.
But I can’t miss the opportunity to show you another image that contains the command ‘Look’. An image that poses questions to which there are a variety of answers in the eyes of the viewer.
I’m putting up an image today for you to critique. It’s an image shot instinctively yesterday in Islington, London.
It was a cold, but sunny day, and as I walked southwards the sun suddenly appeared from behind a tall building and the shadows stretched towards me. The Canon G10 hadn’t been re-set from its previous shot in a dark corner (the wrong settings again)! The ISO was still at 800, and the other data was 1/1600 at F4. The G10 is hopeless for noise at anything over ISO 400 I find. I glanced at the shot on the back screen and thought – that’s interesting, I’ll wait for another shot. But despite loitering ‘with intent’ a similar image didn’t appear and I was in a hurry to see some pumpkins (sculptures) by Yayoi Kusama at a gallery nearby.
Back home when viewed on the big screen my reaction was – so nearly good. The bottom half of the image is fine (IMHO). I love the inclusion of the word ‘Look’ and the shadows make an attractive composition with the addition of the dotted white line (once I had cloned out some ugly flare patterning). The top half is not so good. F4 didn’t help – the figures are not sharply in focus. There is flare highlighting a woman in the centre – perhaps a bonus(?) – and there is rim lighting, and a London bus. I tried converting to B&W but I don’t think that works – the colour, such as it is, in the top third is important. I’ve cropped the image to the important section and processed it very thoroughly including noise reduction (in other words I’ve tried to extract the max from it).
So…what is it now? Is it one of those ‘nearly’ images from which one learns, and kicks one’s self, saying – think Settings after every shot. Remember to re-set them to something that is likely to be the best guess for an instinctive next shot. (I do wish I could remember to do that). I find objectiveness about my work still one of the hardest traits to learn. Are their merits in this image that I can’t see? And would it be worth just being really bold and chopping the top two-thirds off?
It’s over to you. What are your thoughts? Say it’s rubbish if you think it is! Or, better still, say something constructive. I look forward to your comments.
And it will enlarge for a clearer view – just click on the image.
PS – as a result of all the helpful suggestions I have received, I have cropped and re-worked this image. See the result here.
Sheep are curious creatures. Walking past a field of sheep, they will line up along the fence and stare. Approach them and they will stay put, until you breach their comfort zone and then they will beat a hasty retreat.
This image was taken two minutes before Long Shadows and seven minutes before The Avenue. It was a very worthwhile walk. The sheep (plural) were back-lit, their woolly coats shining white. The sun, low in the sky, had lost much of its intensity and so processing was straightforward. The shadow areas have rendered very well without the highlights getting ‘blown’.
The final nice touch is the pink flush of light shining through the skin of the sheep’s ears. Absolutely no thoughts of converting this to B&W – those small flecks of pink are the icing on the cake. Icing is good!
Today’s pair of images were taken just four minutes after the pair in my previous post (see Long Shadows).
In the meantime we had turned a corner to walk down this avenue of trees and the late afternoon light was now filtering through the trees, and as a result was softened although still had that wonderful warmth to it. What really made me take this image was the group of three people at the far end of the avenue, perfectly placed thanks purely to our timely arrival. They completed the composition.
Two versions of this view for you to compare and enjoy. Another example, in my opinion, of how black and white images can create differing versions of what we see. The colour one is a soft late autumn ‘scape, a pastoral scene perhaps. The B&W emphasizes the forms, shapes and perspective and particularly the light. That little bit of extra contrast that B&W allows, but which would make the colour version too harsh, changes the mood.
But those are just my thoughts. There were some really good thoughtful comments two days ago, for which I thank you: what are your thoughts on today’s images?