When we look at any image, more often than not, we wouldn’t realise how much effort and/or time went into creating those pieces of work. No matter how physically or mentally demanding the process had been, what mattered to the viewer more was the end result, and the image and value of the photographer will be more often than not judged based on that.
This was what went through my mind when I was shooting some architectural images recently.
1. First of all, a large portion of time was spent on brain-storming to come up with a vision and relevant concepts.
2. Next is the recce where the “feasibility study” portion comes in to try to match reality with the concepts from the brain-storming phase. The photographer has to visit the locations where the shoot is to be carried out to find out the possible as well as impossible angles, take note of various factors such as the flow of people, adequate timing for the shoot, anticipate any interferences or disturbances that may arise on that day and the like.
3. Next is to identify the correct equipment for the job. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong to the equipment selected as long as it produces results and gets the job done.
4. On the actual shoot, some things may change at the very last minute from what was originally planned. This could range from weather, to the vantage point being occupied, and even breakdown of equipment so the photographer has to be flexible enough to cope with these sudden changes and switch to Plan B (if available!).
Here’s a simple example. Setting up your equipment and executing the shot is one thing, getting all the differing factors together, and working within the constraints and interferences is another! Apart from having had to keep an eye on the composition, I had to be constantly aware of time running out before the sky went pitch black. This image above, taken at JCube (the former Jurong Entertainment Centre), shows the original composition before finalising the shot, with unsightly flare on the right side and empty road in front.
1. For this shot, while I had a few vantage spots in mind, ultimately I had to decide on only one as there was obviously not enough time to alternate between all of them considering that the beautiful twilight sky lasts for only a mere 10 minutes!
2. One of the challenges is to make sure that I timed my shot adequately to include the light trails from vehicles zooming past preferably on all the lanes.
3. The building lights were alternating between different shades of colours which I had to keep track and coordinate to achieve the desired effect.
3. Flare was encroaching into the frame from camera right (refer to top image) from a strongly lit road lamp and one hand was used to hold a black flag (my DIY flash bounce diffuser came in handy!) to try and reduce its effects.
So I ended up in quite a comical position; one eye on the viewfinder for the composition, left hand in an awkward position to click the shutter, and constantly looking up to check the oncoming vehicles and changing building lights while holding up a black flag with my right hand. The drivers in the vehicles going past must be wondering what on earth I was doing! The resulting image is shown below.