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How to photograph the city #1

by Jo Ferguson (follow)
Read my Weekend Notes articles at http:/ www.weekendnotes.com/profile/313240/ See and buy my photography at http:/ www.redbubble.com/people/photojojo
city photography (2)      urban photography (1)      archictural photography (1)      photographing city rivers (1)      early morning city photography (1)      photographing reflections (1)      avoiding people (1)     
One of the great places for amazing landscape photography is without a doubt your local city. Cities everywhere have many stunning gardens, unique architectural features, and often scenic waterways such as rivers or lakes, or even beaches. Melbourne is my home city and we are fortunate to have the Yarra River winding through it, along with our new Docklands harbours.

Three Buildings Reflected in the River
City Buildings Reflected as the Sun Rises

I am always excited to take my camera into the city as I am so spoilt for choice for interesting compositions. No matter what time of year, or what time of day, there is always something appealing to shoot. I can spend hours shooting one location within the city from all its amazing vantage points.

The biggest problem with photographing cities as I am sure you all know; there are so many people!

It’s almost impossible to capture most places without random photo bombers casually wandering into your shot just as you hit the shutter button; or worse still, stopping for an indefinite amount of time, totally oblivious to your attempts to take a nice shot. This can be so frustrating!

To save my sanity as a keen city landscape photographer, I have learnt to determine the ideal times to photograph certain locations when the least amount of people will be there.

Three Buildings Reflected in the River
South Wharf Marina shot through The Webb Bridge using the Metal Bridge Facade to create a Frame within a Frame

One of my favourite parts of Melbourne to photograph is the new river walk at South Wharf along the Yarra River. The absolute best time to shoot this location is just after sunrise.

This is normally an extremely popular, always bustling part of the city, but in the early morning it is really tranquil. It is also favourite spot for cyclists on fitness missions. They zoom past at frightening speeds and if you are not careful you could be badly injured by one. There are still cyclists around this early, just not as many, so remain vigilant. At least they move on quickly.

One great reason for shooting this side of the river in the early morning is the direction of the light. We know that Sunrise has great light for most photography but this area has the added benefit of having the sun fall on your compositions from the right direction.

South Wharf Harbour
South Wharf Harbour

In this example of South Wharf Harbour the Bolte Bridge and the Marina all have the sun falling on them, filling them with warmth and colour.

This trendy cafe which epitomises the Docks theme, being built out of one of the old wharehouses, has the early morning sun falling nicely on its outdoor area.

Bicycle Cafe
Cafe at South Wharf

The bikes are a very cool decorative feature and are warm and bright at this time of day. I shot the front of the cafe on a diagonal so that it adds a sense of movement and dynamic feel.

Of course it is the only time of day you can capture this scene without customers adorning the bench tables.

Another important reason for photographing along the river at this time of day is the stillness of the water. The wind is often more still in the early morning and as there are not many boats taking to the water at this time you can often get glasslike conditions. Such conditions are perfect for capturing those beautifully lit early morning reflections such as the below example.

ANZ Building and Marina Reflected
ANZ building and Marina make for the perfect reflection composition with all that sparkling glass and chrome.

Well the sun is well and truly up after a couple of hours shooting and the people heading into work are starting to appear everywhere. It is definitely a good time to call it a day and head home for a coffee after a perfect morning of quiet reflective contemplation and a successful photographic session.

Three Buildings Reflected in the River
Yarra River South Wharf. The Sun is Up and the People are Out.

#city photography
#urban photography
#archictural photography
#photographing city rivers
#early morning city photography
#photographing reflections
#avoiding people
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