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Thread: Downtown

  1. #1

    Default Downtown

    Does this work for you? Lemme have it...


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Downtown

    Usually, I don't reply when a shot does nothing for me but I'll make an exception this time. The curve of the building on the left is mildly interesting in contrast to the straightlines but that's about all I can say. I dunno, maybe a higher contrast image might work better?

  3. #3
    Senior Member The_Cheat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown

    Picture doesn't work for me. Nothing holds my interest in the picture for more than 1 second. Seems to me just a snap of a scene, with no particular intention or subject per se.

    The foreground is a bit stifling as well, especially with nothing right in front of the traffic light to give the photo depth. The sudden crop off of the bushes on the bottom left hand corner, as well as the lamp-post that hang dangerously close to the right side of the frame, seems to emphasis on the unnatural crop.

    For me, I would either take the shot at a wider setting, so that the buildings would be the subject of the photo, or take it tighter (read: crop) to emphasis on the road and the cars (portrait format to show how the road stretches along "downtown", preferably with a high vantage point). KISS lah!

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    Default Re: Downtown

    might not work for many people, coz people's eyes got used to b/w only on colonial or old buildings...

    do you agree there are too many distractions in the pic? btw.. why did to make b/w?

    my 2 cents worth.. probably a night shot (colorful) could bring in the "metro" thing

  5. #5

    Default Re: Downtown

    thanks guys... any feedback bad or good is appreciated...

    Lenzz,
    I dont really agree that there's too many distractions because I see only the buildings, the imaginary lines the buildings draw, the road & cars, and yet I dont disagree either, mind elaborating on what was distracting?
    no offense but I'm a little surprised b&w is only for colonial/old buildings... wonder where you got that from, I thought anything could be shot in b&w

    anyway, wasnt going for a 'metro' feel... and night shots with light trails are repetitive, to be honest. The shot is in b&w because this junction reminded me of New York with the high-rise corporate buildings constricting both sides of the road and wanted it to look similar to a certain period of New York's b&w architechure photography... interestingly with capitaland's golden tower is in the background...it was also a white sky that day but I wanted to challenge myself to just take some photos...

    Cheat,
    Thanks... but if everyone KISS, then we'd all shoot like you... then how to capture a busy scene/city.... If I'd shot any wider, I'd have more road, a road divider, more sky.... more distractions... and dont really understand how to define 'unnatural cropping'... care to enlighten us?

    Eel,
    I'll try a higher contrast pic...

  6. #6
    Senior Member The_Cheat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev
    Cheat,
    Thanks... but if everyone KISS, then we'd all shoot like you... then how to capture a busy scene/city.... If I'd shot any wider, I'd have more road, a road divider, more sky.... more distractions... and dont really understand how to define 'unnatural cropping'... care to enlighten us?
    Shoot like me?? Don't understand what you mean...

    Keeping things simple doesn't mean that you can't capture a busy cityscape. Conversely, a picture with very little elements could be very complex as well. It's not fair to pre-visualise per se on what is simple or complex. Most of the time, simple/complex is a reaction on hindsight. In this case, I personally felt that you'd tried to be too greedy, in wanting to capture everything, from the complete background building, to the cars in the front... By focusing more on one aspect or another, the picture may potentially be much more powerful as it is.

    While it's true that wide angle will present a different set of challenges, with more elements, a picture with a lot of small elements could be potentially simple as well. If you don't agree, would you care explain then why no one ever complain of wideangle landscape shots of being overly complex?

    I'm playing with some cliche here, cos I'd never successfully taken any wideangle shots before (I don't shoot with SLR fyi)... but if memory didn't fail me, Berenice Abbott did a wonderful set of New York shots in the 1930s with wideangles (like duh! large format, standard lens! hahhah!), where the downtown cityscape buildings looked very very majestic. You may want to take a look at her work to get some inspiration.

    Now comes the hard part. How am I ever gonna explain what I meant by unnatural cropping? It's really hard for me to put it in exact words, cos it's just funny! Okay, don't mind some very horrible knowledge here hor, cos no one ever taught me any proper knowledge in photography... If you were to place your eye on the road at the foreground, and move gradually straight into the background, what would it feel like? To me, the effect on a long and winding road is just lost from the picture, partly because there's no extra foreground (dead space) before the traffic light to enhance the triangular projection of a long road to the background.

    I think the unnatural crop of the bushes on the left is pretty straightforward. It seems totally awkward for the rubbish bin to seemingly float off something, and the bushes growing up from nothing... The crop on the right is just stifling. Again, I don't know how to put them in words...

    Don't be too mindful about the crop though... that's just technical nonsense, and is not critical. Instead, focus more on how to enhance the concept of an overall cityscape, i.e. shoot more!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Downtown

    Cheat...
    Thanks for sharing... I just find KISS & "Potentially more powerful pictures by focusing more on one aspect or another" to be a restriction on photography. Maybe it's a personal choice or style, some people can survive on their single personal style but I'd rather just take all kinds of interesting, simple, complex, blurred, sharp photos... The reason I said we'd all shoot like you if we KISS is because I percieve your definition of KISS to hold no more than 3 or 4 subjects from your OTG series... not saying that it's bad but it would be 'non-out-of-the-box' thinking for me to accept & adopt your favorite advice.

    Incidentally, I thought the *imaginary lines* of this photo from berenice abbott looked kinda similar to my wide-angle shot... just no capitaland, winding road but with distracting horses, people, rubble. Not tryign to be arrogant, just looking to discuss more...



    Interestingly, I wasnt going for a winding road, I wonder why you saw that.... but I do agree a portrait format would be better (now I understand how Eel saw it) and the wierd cropped bush is a minor nitpick... as for 'shoot more', you meant 'shoot better' right?
    Last edited by Rev; 15th April 2006 at 05:48 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown

    Abbott's image is different. There was a focus, the stark contrast between the unkept street and the gleaming new bridge(at that time). Then there is the emaphasis on the scale of the bridge and that anchored the whole image. It wasn't only about a street scene.

    I don't think your image is distracting (your are picturing a busy street anyway) but back to Abbot's image....... notice that he was standing at an off centered position? That means he can show the facades on the left more clearly and that made the eyes wonder. The windows, the balconies then in the background, the bridge. For your image, you positioned right in the centre of the road and that gave a really unfront perspective (can't really appreciate the details of the buildings) that was leading to nothing interesting in particular. Of course, the uniform facades doesn't help a bit at all too. You might want to move to the left and capture the reflections on the glass claddings on the right. Captial building isn't really an architectural gem so I think you can afford to loose it.

    To think that B&Ws are only for certain subjects is truly self-limiting though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member The_Cheat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev
    Cheat...
    Thanks for sharing... I just find KISS & "Potentially more powerful pictures by focusing more on one aspect or another" to be a restriction on photography. Maybe it's a personal choice or style, some people can survive on their single personal style but I'd rather just take all kinds of interesting, simple, complex, blurred, sharp photos... The reason I said we'd all shoot like you if we KISS is because I percieve your definition of KISS to hold no more than 3 or 4 subjects from your OTG series... not saying that it's bad but it would be 'non-out-of-the-box' thinking for me to accept & adopt your favorite advice.
    Ah! No wonder I was confused. I never considered OTG to be (1) KISS and (2) my style. It was really all experimental and I don't really considered it my style... not yet anyway. But since you put it in that perspective, well, maybe I would have to agree with you.
    Anyway, I shoot more trees than anything else, and having shooting only in singapore, I'd adjusted my thoughts of simple majestic shots (which are impossible to find) to shots with many many elements... just never meant to show it to anyone yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev
    Incidentally, I thought the *imaginary lines* of this photo from berenice abbott looked kinda similar to my wide-angle shot... just no capitaland, winding road but with distracting horses, people, rubble. Not tryign to be arrogant, just looking to discuss more...
    A pity that no one actually bother to look at photographers beyond A. Adams and H.C. Bresson isn't it? You can actually find all kind of inspiration from anywhere! Though I personally don't like the perspective from eye-level. The feeling of looking down on something is just awkward... to me, at least.

    Kit: Berenice Abbott is a female photographer. And while her picture has different elements to that of Rev, I think Abbott's style was more powerful than Rev's. I think Abbott also did a revisiting New York series after development (either Abbott or someone else, I can't be sure), which uses the similar angle, but with more cluttered streets.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Downtown

    Rev, when I saw your shot, I too felt disheartened. Disheartened coz I too tend to produce many shots like yours, which doesn't really tell anything, vague, and often with distracting artifacts, and I too am still struggling to add meaningful perspective to my shots.

    Btw, what was the story you were trying to tell us viewers?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pablo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown

    Hi Rev,

    I will not insult you with, "just another "snap shot" or anything similar" as it is not a simple shot.

    It is infact a well taken photo.

    But it doesn't capture me. It doesn't make me think, "great perspective" or "that is a different way of thinking".

    I would see it more as an archive photo to be taken again from the same spot some years later.
    Or one to be added to one taken from the same spot years ago.

    Not to sound funny, but I have taken similar photo's (in colour) and thought,
    " it would be interesting if someone found this in 20 years time and wanted to put it on their wall"

    Have you seen a photo taken from that spot 10 or 15 years ago ?
    I bet it would be interesting and I bet there arn't many.

    Sorry if I ramble, but you did say,"let me have it"

    Cheers
    Time, is an effortless construction :)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Downtown

    Cheat,
    Appreciate your sharing of opinions but I dont expect anyone to agree or disagree with me ...
    I think it's logically fair to only compare that 1 Abbot photo with mine because I only took 1 landscape oriented foto while she took a whole series of portrait oriented as well as landscape... And why is it that no-one bothers to look beyond Ansel & Cartier? Thought I heard quite a few other names mentioned here, although 'mutual back-patting' is more popular than Ansel & Cartier. Wish there was a Helmut fan in Portraits... heh

    Pablo,
    feel free to give me sh*t, it's impossible to offend me
    well, I'm beginning to think that the subjects were simply repeatedly overphotographed eg. esplanade, making them common & uninteresting... as opposed to 1930 brownstone apartments... I dunno, but I figured brooklyn bridge > capitaland tower, heh. Honestly, this is my first attempt at street & architechure, so I guess I thought the photo was appealing. In my eyes, I like the photo enough not to junk it but I dont love it...

    Gunbucker,
    The quality of anybody's photos is subjective, another forum that i visit had opposite responses to the responses in CS. The story here is simple, it's a shot that I executed because I wanted to capture a section of the CBD thru my eyes... in b&w and with some skyscraper type buildings... I jsut take what I like.

    Thanks for the discussion guys, I feel CS, being a forum should be more than just 'nice, what settings/equipment?' or 'lousy, underexposed/overexposed'
    Last edited by Rev; 16th April 2006 at 02:10 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Downtown

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev
    Cheat,
    Appreciate your sharing of opinions but I dont expect anyone to agree or disagree with me ...
    I think it's logically fair to only compare that 1 Abbot photo with mine because I only took 1 landscape oriented foto while she took a whole series of portrait oriented as well as landscape... And why is it that no-one bothers to look beyond Ansel & Cartier? Thought I heard quite a few other names mentioned here, although 'mutual back-patting' is more popular than Ansel & Cartier. Wish there was a Helmut fan in Portraits... heh

    Pablo,
    feel free to give me sh*t, it's impossible to offend me
    well, I'm beginning to think that the subjects were simply repeatedly overphotographed eg. esplanade, making them common & uninteresting... as opposed to 1930 brownstone apartments... I dunno, but I figured brooklyn bridge > capitaland tower, heh. Honestly, this is my first attempt at street & architechure, so I guess I thought the photo was appealing. In my eyes, I like the photo enough not to junk it but I dont love it...

    Gunbucker,
    The quality of anybody's photos is subjective, another forum that i visit had opposite responses to the responses in CS. The story here is simple, it's a shot that I executed because I wanted to capture a section of the CBD thru my eyes... in b&w and with some skyscraper type buildings... I jsut take what I like.

    Thanks for the discussion guys, I feel CS, being a forum should be more than just 'nice, what settings/equipment?' or 'lousy, underexposed/overexposed'
    Rev, chill...

    The key point is to have you, the photographer, happy with your work. It doesn't matter jack squat how we, the viewers, feel. Unless of course you intended to send a message and communicate with the viewer and want to know our feedback. But since you mentioned that it's just "thru your eyes", and that you "take what you like", so it shouldn't really matter to you what we say. So chill bro, you're like writing a counter-essay... don't get so defensive. This is, after all, the critique sub-forum

    As to your last comment, well, we would really like to say more on composition, perspective, etc, but really, your photo has nothing much to talk about in the first place, so it's hard for us to say more. If you really want to hear, taking the photo from the left side of the street (either from an elevation, or from pavement level), would kinda make the picture more interesting.

    Have a great Sunday!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Downtown

    lol, i'm not defensive, just sharing non-sugar-coated opinions, that's all...

    hmm.. thanks gunbucker, didnt think to do ant-eye-view shots that day.

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    Default Re: Downtown

    I shall contribute into this constructive thread as I think while sharing our own opinions in this thread, we can all learn something from each other.

    Firstly, I have to accept that everyone shoots differently, that is a matter of style. So I shall not go too much into that. I love perspective distortion, and I would aggressively choose ultra wides instead of standard wides. That usually help in getting that "majestic look".

    Two, this picture is almost technically great, except, I would have preferred, as "Eel" mentioned, a little more contrast.. (play with channels in Photoshop if you have time). That would have added to the intensity of the shot.

    Three, composition. I would really have preferred if the Capital Land building was smack in the middle of the road area and that tinny tower on the right of it was taken out of the composition (moving the camera to the right). That would have been a nicer composition for me. I would personally have preferred a wider (make that ultra wide) shot because the pic you posted seems too "tele" feel for me. Again, this is a matter of personal preference. It does not grip me because of that. More of the foreground is needed to give the image a little more "breathing space".

    Again, I like the image except for the points stated above. This would be a good standard postcard image, but it does not have enough to evoke emotion to fellow shooters in here. I believe you posted your shot here for fellow shooters to share our views on how we see your shot right?

  16. #16
    Member rTwin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Downtown

    hmm actually, i quite like the shot.. even though there might not be a point of focus or a main subject, but it has a nice business district/city-esque feel (new york-ish maybe??) to it.. i also like the level frm which the shot was taken frm.. it wasnt taken frm ground level was it?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Downtown

    plastic:
    right, thanks for letting me have it... mind letting me have some more? Dont know to play with channels in fotochop, U're welcome to download pic to show me how, if you dont mind...

    rtwin:
    Thanks, there is no focal point... it was the capture of the imaginary lines pointing to a vanishing point that I liked... and was taken from across the street at raffles mrt...

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    Default Re: Downtown

    I would say that the sky is too bright and the eyes go exactly where there is nothing to see.

    Beside this, this photograph should be good if it happens something somewhere. However, good try, you gonna make it because there is something in it.

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    Default Re: Downtown

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev
    plastic:
    right, thanks for letting me have it... mind letting me have some more? Dont know to play with channels in fotochop, U're welcome to download pic to show me how, if you dont mind...
    Not going to let you have it easy on this one...

    Search the forums for books on Photoshop. There are quite a few good ones recommended by the other CSers that you SHOULD pick up to read and practise, because without proper tutorials, you will not learn the workflow that is essential for better post processing.

    Yes, WORKFLOW. Its not just one function/setting that will make your particular shot work, its a variation of processes. I am also learning the workflow myself, therefore I am no master and in no position to teach/show. Hope you understand where I am coming from.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Downtown

    Here is my critique
    Pix would looks fine when
    1) exclude the 2 buses and 3 cars in front
    2) exclude the plants or grass on the bottom left
    3) add a tad more of the road ( if prefer to hv the front buses n cars there)

    Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Hosea; 17th April 2006 at 02:18 PM.

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