Architecture – The other easy target


In this weekend post, I want to focus on another popular subject of novice and semi-professional photographers, buildings. As a happy snapper, buildings are extremely easy subjects to photograph, even more so than flora. For one, they don’t move which means you don’t have to spend your time waiting for the wind to stop, or having to get in to odd contortions trying to get close.

Tourist Photo of Russian Home

Back in the mid 90s, I was using a Pentax 35mm SLR but I was really just a tourist taking snaps, and enjoying every minute of it. When I had the opportunity to spend 9 weeks in Russia, I did the touristy thing, if only half heartedly (as I mentioned in a previous blog) and buildings were a key subject. Well, they were quite unlike anything I had ever scene considering I lived a very simple life in Perth, Australia which, back then, was a country town trying hard to be a city. This image I have scanned in here I believe was once a manor and turned in to a community service building, I think. However the photo itself shows some pretty typical issues with taking images of buildings. While being the easy, static target that I mentioned above, they do move in a different way, through perspective. Look closely and you will see the manor appears to narrow as it goes up, or if you prefer, the sides are not straight.

Taken on holiday with a compact Olympus back in 2006.

There are a few ways that this can be over come. Some of them involve technology like special cameras or lens attachments that take this distortion into account, cancelling it out. These days we also have digital post-production processes that can warp the photo back into shape. However, the most simplest of techniques is to get further away. The shot of the Church Clock tower was the result split second opportunity using a 10mp Compact Camera which did not have brilliant low light capabilities, but enough that I could get something interesting none-the-less. The point is that I was some distance away and the Olympus I was using had the highest optical zoom available in compact cameras at the time. Basically the distance between me and the tower almost negated the effects of perspective distortion and the narrowing in the photo is more of an actual representation of the tower itself.

Distance over comes perspective warping.

This last shot from my archives is another taken on my trip to Russia back in the mid 90s but is taken during a stop-over in Singapore. It is a long shot of a cluster of buildings. I forget why I actually took it but it shows the effect of distance more clearly than the church tower. However, in getting this picture ready for publication, it brought forth yet another issue that a photographer may have to face when processing images for professional purposes; warping due to lens refraction. While the distance from the skyscrapers balances out most of the perspective warping, the old Pentax lens I had did tend to warp things a bit when at full zoom. This would have been very difficult to over come in the days of 35mm film based photos, but is a snap in the modern age of digital film.

So this begins a week of Buildings for my blog stream. I hope you enjoy it.

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One thought on “Architecture – The other easy target

  1. Pingback: Jeff Watkins Photography

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