Exercise 1.9 – soft light landscape

As required I did some preparation for this exercise by researching the cityscapes of Gabriele Basilico. I don’t want to write too much about the guy here because Mr. Google has far more background info than I do. However in respect of learning from some of his images so as to improve some of my landscapes, I made notes of what I liked best in his shots.

I thought it quite interesting that for a guy who was trained as an architect, and clearly had a love of a buildings form, its space, its place within the environment, his images give no sense of the functionality of the architecture. Each building within the photos are simply form, tone and scale. This is really buildings as sculpture. There are no people in his images – and I liked that, as I thought it added to the focus on the form of the buildings rather than who uses them and for what.

I liked the way he shot them from various angles too. His tonal range is impressive. Though I was impressed with his b&w images of a bomb torn Beirut, it was actually his colour images of Brescia in 2010 that I liked best. So it was these that influenced me in my exercise. I have included some b&w images I took as an homage to Gabriele, but prefer the muted colours, deserted cityscapes of both high and low-rise buildings he did with Dan Graham. I have included links to these below.

I found this exercise interesting. I continued with the bracketing process we had used in the last exercise and found this second nature half way through the exercise. The sun was up quicker than I had expected, and the light was brighter than I had hoped, and than I required, but it was acceptable enough to plough on with the project. So the shots, though slow’ish were nowhere near the ‘over one minute’ exposures that were suggested in the textbook.

I chose an out of town shopping centre which I had to go into once to apply for a new driving license… interesting huh?!! I chose it for its rather drab, low-rise form, but I also knew that behind it were some mountains that might if necessary provide a interesting contrast. I had hoped that I would get there early enough to capture an empty car park with no-one about, but the old lady shoppers were up too early for me, and were happy to park in my frame. I used the tripod for all but a couple of the shots – and these were from vantage points which we just inaccessible with a tripod.

Exercise brief – Search your local area for a landscape, cityscape or other external environment where you’re able to get a wide view of a large expanse of space. Try a high vantage point. The subject of this exercise will ideally be lit with diffused light, so you’ll either need to wait for an overcast day, or photograph before the sun comes up or just after the sun has set.

Because of Basilico’s work I have included 3 b&w images, and 3 colour images.


Above : ISO100, f22, exposure time 1/30th second

_DSC3040Above : ISO100, f22, exposure time 1/25th second

_DSC3052Above : ISO100, f22, exposure time 1/20th second

_DSC2998Above : ISO100, f22, exposure time 1/13th second

_DSC3029ISO 100; f22; 1/50thAbove : ISO100, f22, exposure time 1/50th second

_DSC3024Above : ISO100, f22, exposure time 1/30th second

As some form of self-assessment, I was happy enough with the images, but am not totally convinced they completely satisfied the brief. However, it was enjoyable and the images are close to what I had hoped. I became generally comfortable with bracketing. The post-production was fairly quick, though I feel I could improve my photoshop and lightroom work – but this is not the first time I have thought this. I suspect the lighting isn’t as hoped, the tones could maybe have been darker for the brief, but the forms were ok.

Further reading – Basilico’s Brescia (2010) work with Dan Graham http://www.galleriaminini.it/artists/gabriele-basilico/


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