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Posts Tagged ‘Stunning’

Stunning ‘orbital drone-lapse’ captured by flying a drone in huge circles

14 Nov

It’s difficult to stand out when creating a time-lapse these days—from the storm-lapses of Mike Oblinski, to the ‘flow-motion’ hyperlapses of Rob Whitworth, to the award-winning work of Michael Shainblum, it seems like it’s all been done. Until, that is, someone comes up with something like ‘Low Earth Orbit.’

This drone-lapse from Folegandros Island, Greece was captured by Hong Kong-based production company Visual Suspect using a simple ‘orbital’ technique; translation: they flew a drone in massive circles while recording time-lapse.

The results look like something out of Google Earth, but instead of static low-res images from orbit, you have living landscapes captured in HD. Here’s an explanation of the “how” and “why” by the creators themselves:

Orbital drone movements are the ones with power to convert two dimensional images into dancing focal layers escaping out of the frame. We wanted to further explore the technique, with high altitude long orbits, along with ones very close to the ground, we call them “Orbital drone-lapses”. These shots are a mix of automatic and manual flights.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Video – How to Shoot Stunning Photos at Sunrise and Sunset

28 Oct

In another video from Practical Photography, get some really good tips on how to shoot at sunrise and sunset to get the most epic images.

Follow along as two photographers go head to head in a little friendly competition to get the best sunset and sunrise photos. Get some practical tips that you can use in your photography at these magic hours as well.

Need more sunrise and sunset tips? Try these dPS articles:

  • 4 Reasons Shooting at Sunrise and Sunset Will Help You Take Better Photos
  • 8 Simple Guidelines for Capturing Spectacular Sunrise and Sunset Images
  • 7 Uncommon Tips for Winter Sunrise Photos Near Water
  • Tips for Location Scouting to Get the Perfect Sunset Photograph
  • Tips for Doing More Spectacular Sunset Photography
  • 5 Tips to Take Better Sunset Photos – and Why Not to Photograph the Sunset Directly

The post Video – How to Shoot Stunning Photos at Sunrise and Sunset by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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A Guide to Creating Stunning HDR Images

27 Sep

The simple contrast between light and shadow can have a powerful effect on a photographic image. In fact, quite often you may find that contrast is what inspires you to photograph a particular scene or subject in the first place. Sometimes, however, the contrast of a scene exceeds the ability of your camera to contain all of that information. Fortunately, with the help of powerful software such as Aurora HDR 2018, you can transform a scene with high contrast into a stunning photographic image with tremendous detail. In this article, I’ll show you how it’s done.

Photographing the Scene

The first step in creating a high dynamic range (HDR) image is to capture a sequence of photos. Put simply, when you aren’t able to capture a single photo that includes detail in the darkest shadows and the brightest highlights of a scene, you’ll want to capture multiple exposures and blend them together with software such as Aurora HDR 2018.

Bracketed Exposures A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

Most cameras include an automatic exposure bracketing (AEB) feature that can help streamline the process of capturing the several exposures which are needed to create an HDR result. If your camera only enables you to capture a bracket of three exposures, you can separate the exposures by two stops each. If you are able to capture a bracketed sequence of five or more photos you can separate the exposures by one stop each. It is highly recommended that you use the RAW capture mode for these exposures, to ensure there is maximum information available for creating your final image.

In most cases you will want to keep the lens aperture setting fixed, altering the shutter speed for each frame to adjust the exposure. This will help ensure consistent depth of field in the scene. The ultimate goal is to be sure that you have one exposure that is dark enough to include full detail in the bright areas of the scene, one exposure that is bright enough to include full detail in the dark areas of the scene, and exposures in steps of one or two stops to transition between the darkest and brightest exposures.

Creating the Initial HDR

There are two basic steps to creating a final HDR image. The first is to assemble the multiple exposures into a single image with a tremendous amount of information. The second is to perform what is referred to as “tone mapping” or translating the huge range of tonal and color values into the range of values available for a “normal” photographic image.

With Aurora HDR 2018, there are a couple of ways you can start the process of creating the initial HDR image. If you’re using other software such as Lightroom or Photoshop as the foundation of your overall workflow, you can employ Aurora HDR 2018 as a plug-in for these other software tools. The other option is to simply open the original captures directly from within Aurora HDR 2018.

Open your images

When you initially launch Aurora HDR 2018 you’ll see the “Open Image” button. You can click that button, or choose File > Open from the menu to get started. Note, by the way, that you could also take advantage of the “Batch Processing” option to assemble multiple HDR images in a single process.

Aurora Open Images - A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

After selecting the option to open images, you can navigate to the folder containing the photos you want to assemble into an HDR image, and select those images. Then click the Open button to initiate the process of creating your HDR image.

The images you selected will then be presented as thumbnails so you can confirm which photos are going to be assembled into an HDR image. More importantly, however, you can adjust the settings for how the individual captures should be combined.

HDR options and settings

Almost without exception, you’ll want to turn on the “Alignment” checkbox. Even if you used a tripod when capturing the bracketed frames, it is possible that there was a tiny movement of the camera during the capture process. By having the Alignment checkbox turned on, Aurora HDR 2018 will analyze the contents of the images and fine-tune the positioning of each to ensure perfect alignment.

Aurora Initial Settings - A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

Next, click the popup with the gear icon to adjust the settings for assembling your HDR image. If there was any movement of subjects within the frame, such as people or cars, or even trees blowing in the breeze, you’ll want to turn on the “Ghost Reduction” checkbox. In many cases having this option enabled can completely eliminate the “ghost” effect that results from objects moving within the frame from one exposure to the next.

Once you have turned on the “Ghost Reduction” checkbox, you can choose which exposure to prioritize by selecting it from the “Reference image” popup. In most cases, you will want to choose the image that would provide the best overall exposure if you hadn’t captured bracketed exposures in the first place.

You can also choose the strength setting for ghost reduction, depending on how much movement there was in the scene you were photographing. If there was minimal movement in the scene you can use the “Low” option. However, there are also settings for Medium, High, and Highest to help you achieve good results even when there was considerable movement within the scene you photographed.

Other settings

For many situations where you might employ HDR techniques, you may be photographing a scene with relatively low light levels. If so, you can turn on the “Color Denoise” checkbox to apply noise reduction to your original captures as Aurora HDR 2018 is processing them.

It can also be helpful to turn on the “Chromatic Aberration Removal” checkbox so that any color fringing that appears in the captures can be removed. This fringing is most common when using a wide-angle lens to photograph a high-contrast scene, but it can also occur with other lenses or photographic situations.

Once you have established the desired settings for the assembly of your HDR image, click the “Create HDR” button. Aurora HDR 2018 will then combine the multiple exposures you selected into a single high dynamic range result.

Presets and Beyond

Put simply, an HDR image contains a greater range of tonal information that can actually be displayed on a computer monitor or presented in a printed output. It is, therefore, necessary to translate that huge range of information into the range used for a normal digital photo. That process is referred to as “tone mapping”. Fortunately, Aurora HDR 2018 makes it easy to exercise considerable control over the interpretation of your image during this process.

One of the great features of Aurora HDR 2018 is the ability to use a variety of presets to quickly achieve the optimal look for your image. Even better, these presets are presented as thumbnails that provide an actual preview of the effect you’ll achieve with each preset. In other words, there is no guessing involved. You can browse the preset thumbnails, and easily find a good starting point for processing your photo.

Preset Categories - A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

The presets are organized into categories, so you can start by clicking the “Categories” popup at the center of the thumbnail display at the bottom of the Aurora HDR 2018 interface. Choose a category from the popup (including an option to view all presets at once), and then browse the thumbnails to find a preset that looks good to you. To apply the effect, simply click on the thumbnail for the desired preset.

Adjust to your taste

Of course, the presets are merely a starting point in the process of optimizing your interpretation of the HDR image. You can still exercise tremendous control over the image with a variety of adjustments.

First, you can tone down the effect of the selected preset by reducing the strength with the “Amount” slider. As soon as you select a preset, you’ll see a slider on the thumbnail for that preset. Simply drag that slider to a lower value if you want to reduce the strength of the overall effect.

In addition, there is a wide variety of adjustment controls available on the right panel within Aurora HDR 2018. The preset you selected will have changed the value for many of these controls, but you can go far beyond the effect applied by that preset.

You will probably want to get started in the “HDR Basic” set of controls, where you can fine-tune the overall color and tonality of the image. For example, you can bring out more detail in darker areas of the image by increasing the value for Shadows. In the Color section, you can adjust the intensity of colors in the photo.

HDR Basic A Guide To Creating Stunning HDR Images

Many options available

You’ll then want to move on to some of the other powerful adjustments available. The HDR Structure section provides controls for enhancing the overall appearance of detail in the image. You’ll also find a variety of special effects available, including a polarizing filter effect, graduated adjustments to refine the top or bottom areas of the image, color tinting, dodging and burning, a vignette effect, and much more.

Be sure to also take a look at the Lens Correction and Transform controls available via a popup at the top of the right panel in Aurora HDR 2018. These enable you to correct for lens distortion as well as perspective issues caused by your position relative to the subject you photographed.

As you refine the settings for the many available adjustments in Aurora HDR 2018, you will likely find it helpful to see a “before” and “after” view of the image. You can click and hold your mouse on the “Quick Preview” button (the eye icon) at the top-center of the Aurora HDR 2018 interface to see the image without any adjustments applied. Then release the mouse to see the final effect. You can also enable the Compare view with the button to the right of the Quick Preview button.

Compare View A Guide to Creating Stunning HDR Images

Tone mapping a single image

By its nature, creating a high dynamic range image involves capturing multiple exposures and combining them into a single image with tremendous detail. However, the powerful adjustments available in Aurora HDR 2018 can also be used to improve the appearance of a single photo.

To use Aurora HDR 2018 to process a single image, you can simply open that image. Instead of selecting multiple exposures when you initiate the process of working in Aurora HDR 2018, you can select a single image. The overall workflow is exactly the same as when assembling an HDR image from multiple exposures, and all of the same adjustments are available.

So after getting familiar with the use of Aurora HDR 2018 to process a series of exposures into a single stunning HDR result, you can use the same basic process to apply similar adjustments to individual photos.

Single Image - A Guide to Creating Stunning HDR Images

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Only the beginning

The ability to assemble multiple exposures into a single image containing a tremendous amount of detail and texture provides you with incredible creative control as a photographer. Aurora HDR 2018 provides a powerful solution for creating high-quality HDR images and creating unique interpretations of those images with a variety of features and effects.

In this article, you’ve learned the basic process of creating great HDR images using Aurora HDR 2018. But this is only the beginning. If you spend a little time exploring the many adjustments available within Aurora HDR 2018, you’ll be able to create stunning HDR images with ease.

Disclaimer: Machpun is a Paid Partner of dPS

The post A Guide to Creating Stunning HDR Images by Tim Grey appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How a Compact Camera Can Help You Shoot Stunning Images While Traveling on a Budget

20 Jul

Vacations can be a great time to capture some of the most captivating photos ever, and it doesn’t even require using an expensive equipment to do so. In fact, whether your vacation involves hiking, skiing, snorkeling, a safari, mountain biking, or a scenic road trip, a compact camera can also provide stunning results while traveling, with little effort and without Continue Reading

The post How a Compact Camera Can Help You Shoot Stunning Images While Traveling on a Budget appeared first on Photodoto.


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Tread Lightly: 16 Clearly Stunning Transparent Floor Designs

06 Jul

[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

Glass floors give us a glimpse at what’s beneath our feet – whether that’s the historical bones of a building, a swimming pool on the next floor, the city streets or the bottom of a canyon – while freaking us out over the potential of breakage. And yes, sometimes these glass floors really do crack, no matter how ‘unbreakable’ they’re supposed to be, including those situated hundreds of feet above the ground.

2 Glass-Bottomed Bridges in China

You’d better not be afraid of heights if you’re gonna cross this glass-bottomed bridge in China, suspended a stomach-turning 590 feet above ground level in China’s central Hunan Province. Known locally as Haohan Quiao, the bridge features glass panels measuring 24 millimeters thick, which are supposedly 25 times stronger than regular glass. But this isn’t the only such bridge in China. The second is the structure hanging 1350 feet over the bottom of Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon – and this bridge really did crack at one point under an unexpected volume of visitors, forcing its closure. This one is officially the world’s longest glass bridge.

Office in Oslo by Reiulf Ramstad

A 19th century villa gets a modern update by architect Reiulf Ramstad, while this transparent section of floor reveals the old beams hidden beneath the newer materials for a reminder of the building’s history.

Hotel Les Cols Pavellons

You’d never guess that just beyond the traditional-looking 13th century farmhouse at hotel Les Cols Pavellons in the Catalan town of Olot is a series of ultramodern glass pavilions. These ‘zen’ hotel rooms are like crystal cubes housing almost nothing but a bed, a glass table and chairs and a bath for a minimalist experience that’s all about experiencing the design.

Glass-Bottomed Sky Slide in Los Angeles

More than just a glass-bottomed observation deck, which is becoming more common all over the world, this attraction at the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles is a fully functioning slide that chutes guests 45 feet from a window on the 70th story to a terrace on the 69th.

Glass-Bottomed Suspended Pool in Houston

Houston is home to an awesome plexiglass pool that cantilevers 10 feet past the edge of the building, 500 feet above street level. Installed at the new Market Square Tower apartment building by Jackson & Ryan Architects, the skypool offers views of the Houston skyline, and stops passersby in their tracks on the sidewalk below.

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Tread Lightly 16 Clearly Stunning Transparent Floor Designs

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[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

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Mike Olbinski releases stunning sunset time-lapse featuring unusual cloud formations

07 Jun

‘Tis the season for dramatic weather in the middle parts of the US, and as such, it’s also the season for incredible time-lapse videos. If you thought we reached peak weather time-lapse just last week when we posted Chad Cowan’s excellent Fractal, well, see what you think after watching Mike Oblinski’s latest.

He captured unusual cloud formations called Undulatus Asperatus rolling across the plains of North Dakota at sunset. As always, we recommend going full screen and cranking the resolution up.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Mathematician turns Juno images into stunning Jupiter flyby video

04 Jun

Since NASA’s Juno probe entered Jupiter’s orbit a year ago, it’s been sending back high-resolution images of the solar system’s biggest planet.

When NASA released the latest batch of images, last month, German mathematician Gerald Eichstaedt got to work, turning them into into a video. Using software that he wrote, Eichstaedt used Juno’s trajectory data to determine the probe’s exact position when it captured an image, and then placed that image on a spherical model of the planet. The resulting video combines 36 images from the probe to simulate a Jovian flyby.

London-based filmmaker Seán Doran saw the video when Eichstaedt uploaded it to unmannedspaceflight.com and spent another 12 hours smoothing the thousands of frames, before adding a soundtrack.

It’s almost like being there. Almost…

Watch Gerald Eichstaedt’s original video

Read more about NASA’s Juno mission

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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18 Stunning Images of Effective Backlighting

30 May

The direction of light is so important in photography. Backlighting is one that can be tricky to handle exposure wise, but make sure a stunning image if you can nail it. Let’s have a look at these 18 images that use backlight effectively.

By Bill Gracey

By Julian Schüngel

By Sascha Wenninger

By Toby

By Vincent Brassinne

By tai-nui

By Linh Nguyen

By Jason Walley

By Anne Worner

By M. Accarino

By Steve Corey

By philografy

By Eric Huybrechts

By Sean Molin

By denise carrasco

By Theophilos Papadopoulos

By Diana Robinson

By Sergiu Bacioiu

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A Taste of New York is a stunning Big Apple time-lapse

19 May

A Taste of New York is the third installment of the popular “A Taste of…” series of time-lapses by Film Spektakel. To produce this breathtaking video the team around Peter Jablonowski, Thomas Pöcksteiner, and Lorenz Pritz spent 10 days in New York in 2016, shooting 65,000 photos and accumulating 2.6TB of image data on their hard drives.

‘In September 2016 we visited this awesome city to try out some new time-lapse stuff.
It took us 10 days, a lot of burgers and one helicopter ride to produce this video. 10 days is very little time to discover this city of endless opportunities, so we hardly slept anything and shot day and night for this time lapse film. The city that never sleeps indeed!’

The team used a variety of equipment including a Sony a7R II, Sony a6300 and two Canon 6Ds. The final three minute long video took 36 hours to render on a high-end Apple iMac. The stunning imagery is perfectly complemented by Alex Clement’s sound design. 

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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8 Tips For Doing Stunning Urban Landscape Photography

10 Feb

As a photographer, when you hear the word landscape your mind will most likely conjure up images of lush valleys, looming mountains, and majestic, sweeping vistas. With good reason, as the natural world can be a place of staggering beauty. But done well, a different type of landscape photography, the urban landscape, can produce shots that are equally as compelling as anything Mother Nature can throw your way.

The energy of a major city lends images a vitality that can’t be found anywhere else. There’s so much movement and life in the urban environment, and the best city shots capture that buzzing vibrancy.

Urban landscape 02

Shooting urban landscapes also has plenty of practical advantages too. Every type of photography is all about the light, and that is one thing cities never run out of. You can shoot in the artificial glow of the metropolis long after you’d have been forced to pack up your kit and make your way home from a day in the countryside.

Couple that with the fact that, for the most part, cities are a lot more accessible for the majority of us, and shooting urban landscapes is the ideal activity for photographers during those long winter months.

So here are our top 8 tips for getting the most out of your time pounding the sidewalks.

#1. Research

You wouldn’t embark on a traditional landscape photography outing by jumping in the car, heading for the hills and hoping for the best. Likewise, the success of an urban landscape shoot depends largely on how well you plan.

Your home town

Even if you’re off to capture the town or city you grew up in, putting in the effort to do a little research up front usually pays dividends.

Urban landscape 01

For example, when I wanted to get a shot from high up, overlooking my hometown of London, I didn’t foresee any problems in finding a suitable viewpoint. However, after a little digging, I learned that while London isn’t lacking in tall buildings offering amazing views, the number you can actually gain access to, that are also well suited for photography, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The vast majority are either restricted entry or in the case of The Shard (seen at the top of this article), cursed with a viewing gallery shrouded with ultra-reflective windows.A few minutes Googling directed me to a lesser-known church tower on the banks of the Thames with unrestricted views downriver, saving me hours of fruitless searching.

Visiting another city

If you’re visiting a city for the first time, it’s a good idea to spend a little longer familiarizing yourself with the place before you go. Drawing up a shot list of the locations you want to photograph is a good idea as well.

But all that being said, don’t make yourself a slave to it. Few things are more exciting or rewarding in photography than allowing yourself the freedom to meander through a new landscape, get a little lost, and allow whatever happens to happen.
One word of warning: depending on your location, be sure you know where you can and cannot shoot. Many places these days are understandably sensitive about strangers waving cameras around. If in doubt, ask.

#2. Light

The quality, color, and angle of the light can make or break any shot, and this is especially true for urban landscape photography. A subject that looks dull and uninspiring at one time of day can transform into a truly spellbinding image just with the passing of a few hours.

Urban landscape 03

As with any landscape photography, dragging yourself out of bed before the sun puts in an appearance can reward you with the kind of light show that almost makes up for all that missed sleep. The golden hour, that brief a period right after sunrise and before sunset, can present you with views of a city that you may never have seen before.

Plus, you can carry on shooting long after the sun’s gone down. Cities come alive at night. They never get truly dark, and some of the most interesting shots can be taken with the only illumination coming from artificial light.

Just remember to bring your tripod!

Urban landscape 04

#3. Hustle and Bustle

Major cities are fast and frenetic places. Everyone seems to be moving a million miles an hour and there’s always something going on. It’s the perfect environment for photographers.

If you can manage to avoid getting swept along in the tidal wave and stop to look around, you can capture images that convey all that chaotic frenzy. Using a slower shutter speed will help you pick up a real sense of movement, either tripod-mounted or handheld if you’re feeling brave.

Urban landscape 05

#4. Details

There are countless small and fascinating details in cities. Always be on the lookout for the tiny intricacies, the patterns, and shapes that otherwise go unnoticed.

They won’t all be right in front of you. Keep your eyes moving and your head on a swivel, some of the most rewarding shots are going to be found way above your head or close to the ground.

Urban landscape 06

Whether it’s an advertising billboard, some rugged brickwork, or a set of windows, get in close, fill the frame, and isolate your subject.

This is another time when the quality of the light can make all the difference to the success of a shot. A strong, high contrast light can give interesting areas of highlights and shadow, turning an everyday scene into a beautiful abstract. If you have time, it’s worth revisiting potential subjects at different points throughout the day.

Urban landscape 07

#5. Composition

Moving from the countryside to the urban environment doesn’t mean all the old landscape composition rules go out the window. Much of what applies standing on top of El Capitan in Yosemite Park, is still relevant looking down on New York from the Empire State.

Keep the basics of composition in your mind, things like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and natural frames. Then be prepared to break the rules when necessary.

Urban landscape 08

Always think before you shoot. Look around you and see if taking a different viewpoint would improve your shot. Can you get higher and look down or even lie on the ground and shoot upwards?

Unfortunately, in major cities buildings are often so close together they can restrict your options and movements as a photographer, but make sure you’re at the optimum position for your subject. The difference between a winning shot and a mediocre one can sometimes be measured in the space of just a few feet.

Urban landscape 09

#6. People

One area where urban landscapes differ greatly from the traditional is in the number of people you’re likely to encounter. It can be frustrating when you arrive at your dream location, only to find it swarming with tourists, as well as the locals going about their daily business, all seemingly determined to clutter up your shot. Along with the great light, it’s another good reason to be up and about in the early hours of the day, while everyone else is still tucked up in bed.

But people make great subjects for candid portraits as you wander the streets. Big cities attract some real characters, and capturing them in their home environment can lead to some winning images.

One thing to remember is to always ask your subject’s permission before you shoot. The vast majority will be more than happy to oblige so long as you’re polite. (Take this from a man who once got a severe and humiliating telling off from a Buddhist monk in Thailand for taking his picture without having the courtesy of asking first. They’re not as chill as you’d think!)

Urban landscape 11

#7. Reflections

Modern cities seem to be more glass than anything else. This is great news for you as a photographer. You can use that beautiful reflective quality in your compositions to create some wonderful, quirky effects.

The major landmarks in every city have been photographed a bazillion times. So, you have to work a little harder and think a little more creatively to come away with shots that are distinctly your own. Shooting a famous and easily recognizable building reflected in the windows of another gives an interesting change of context, especially as it often contrasts the old and the new.

Urban landscape 12

Many big cities are built along the banks of hefty rivers as well, which gives you another opportunity to utilize reflections in your shots. Clear skies offer the best results, preferably at the start or end of the day to give a little color. A dull, overcast day will be reflected in the water, giving it an ugly, muddy quality.

Urban landscape 13

#8. Monochrome

Urban landscapes are very well suited to the simplicity of black and white photography. Taking away the distractions of the vast range of different colors on show in any city and focussing on just the tones and textures, gives a completely new dimension to your shot.

Urban landscape 14

The increased contrast of a monochrome image benefits architecture especially, enhancing the shape of buildings and accentuating their details. Again, the light is all-important. A low sun highlights surfaces and gives areas of rich shadow for added depth.

Try and avoid using the black and white function on your DSLR and shoot RAW if you can. Then use your post-production software for the conversion. It allows you much more control over the final image.

Conclusion

Shooting urban landscapes can be a richly rewarding experience and gives you the opportunity to try out several different disciplines at once.

You have the chance to flex your portraiture and architectural photography muscles, as well as experimenting with close-up abstracts and shooting in black and white. Plus, you get to practice all that while staying firmly in civilization and never more than a few feet from a decent cup of coffee!

Urban landscape 15

Of course, all that added convenience comes at a price. Shooting in cities has its inherent risks and you always need to keep your wits about you. Watch where you stand to shoot and make sure you’re not in any danger from fast-moving traffic or trespassing on anyone’s property.

Also, keep a tight grip on your equipment, especially if you’re shooting at night. Cities have more than their fair share of bad people who’d not think twice about running off with your expensive kit. If you’re nervous, it’s the perfect opportunity to buddy up with another photographer and explore the location together.

Please share your urban landscape photos in the comments below.

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