Canal Visions

My journey with photography started off pretty aimless. I was always interested with the medium, but only decided to pursue the hobby during a trip to Italy at the start of 2018. I had been enjoying snapping shots, feeling like a tourist, but it didn’t feel special. After spending every waking moment with my parents, grandparents, and an aunt for the week, I needed to get out on my own for a little. On the last day I walked around Venice for something like 6 hours, shooting here and there. I walked through the University, past students smoking and enjoying the break. I strolled past tabaccheria here and restaurant there, watching locals relax against the setting sun. At one point, a football appeared at my feet. Looking up I saw a posse of school children, and joined their game. Expectedly, they were far better at the sport. It would be unfair to say I was a local, but I certainly didn’t feel like a tourist by the end of the night. Almost back home, I passed this canal. The light and mood summarized the day, I finally felt like I belonged, just one night before leaving. I’ll be back one day.

In retrospect, I think upping the saturation of this piece took away some of the mood. It’s too blue, and the fakeness detracts. The central curve on the canal adds a nice piece of intrigue to the photo, but I think I could have framed it better. Had I owned my camera then, I would have taken a long exposure to get a glassy look on the water. All in all, this was one of my early photos I was quite proud of.


Interpretations #01

One of the centerpieces of campus architecture here at CU is the University Memorial Center. Affectionately known as the UMC, the building offers a dining hall, the bookstore, and a variety of office space. Oh, and don’t forget the only bowling alley on campus.

This is one of the first photos where I was truly happy with the framing of the building. The low angle of the shot gives the building a larger than life feel. As does the sharp diagonal angle of the shot, letting the building extend past the frame on both sides. I’m a huge fan of the brick architecture most campus buildings share, so I matched it the rocks on the bottom of the frame. The curve of the fence leads you up to the building, and I’m happy with the rest of the leaning lines.

What would I change next time? I would have liked a higher picture quality on this, since this was back when I was shooting with my iPhone still, it’s not the greatest. Although I think the clouds are nice in this picture, it would have been better with a more interesting color on the sky. A better time of day could have produced more interesting shadows as well. I’m usually a fan of more details in my architectural shots, but the branches on the right side of this photo are distracting and reduce focus on the building. I do enjoy the angle, but I think it could have aligned better with the corner of the middle building.


Windows – A Photo Essay

One of my favorite aspects of night photography is finding curiosity and interesting subject matter in the mundane. Nighttime can accentuate architecture, bring different colors to the surface, and most importantly give a greater sense of how light affects an entire scene. Windows arise frequently throughout my photography, sometimes as the centerpiece, and sometimes as a vehicle of another cause.

During very dark nights, sometimes a window is all the light you can find. Colored LED lights are popular amongst the college population here in Boulder, and these pops of color provide a unique subject matter amongst the monotone darkness. Various colors can also lead to different interpretations of what the window represents. Some view this photo and imagine a horror vibe, a spooky aspect. Something scary lies beyond what we can see and the red color is the manifestation of this appeal. A blue-green light is more relaxed, we may think of a group of friends hanging in the room of this window. Not always though, blue can be sad, as we see in the second photo. Enhanced by the sky, this blue window gives us a view into a depressing cycle of office life, abandoned after the sun falls.  

White is less interesting, it doesn’t convey a standout meaning, instead, it is just light against dark. The high contrast of this photo and the noticeable silhouettes still create a sense of doom. Inconsistent placement and size of the windows create an unstable feeling, as most asymmetry can.

Often windows help exaggerate the primary goals of a photo. Although the window is a core subject in the following photo, the standout feature is the shift of color from left to right. A unique shape in the window adds to the curious vibe and helps to contrast the duller purple, blue, and green on the right side of the photo.

Photos give us a view into a different world, and also provide excellent framing. The green glow of this pool facility is ominous, but only because of the lack of people. We know it’s nighttime because of the background, giving this photo more context as opposed to just the pool itself. The bars across the window make us feel like an outsider, are we invited to the subject matter?

Windows can provide reflections, framing the subject matter in a complex system. Seeing the normal neon sign is boring, but through this reflection, we are forced to focus on it’s more distinct details. The white border, some of the interior of the sandwich shop, the lack of crossbars on the letter I. Curves on the window and the side panel of this car lend distortion to the complexity of the photo.

In general, windows can provide a new perspective to your night photography. They provide interesting sources of light, and viewpoints into other worlds. Natural framing, and distortion in the form of reflections. What comes to your mind when you think about the concept of a window? What is a window to a prisoner in a jail cell, or to an executive on top of a skyscraper?

Perhaps, they just let the light in and keep the bugs out.