Get up high

Shoot­ing from up high above a city pro­vides a unique per­spec­tive, and is also ideal for try­ing the so-called ‘tilt-shift’ ef­fect

NPhoto - - Night Vision -

Most ci­ties have a van­tage point – a view­ing plat­form in a pub­lic build­ing, a roof-top restau­rant – that en­ables you to get a bird’s eye view of a city. This, view­ing spot, of course, will pro­vide you with a fresh per­spec­tive, and a more orig­i­nal an­gle to shoot from than street level.

For our clas­sic shot of the River Thames in London, with St Paul’s Cathe­dral in the back­ground, we shot from the pub­lic view­ing plat­form at the top of the Oxo Tower. We got set up soon after sun­set, and waited un­til the sky was turn­ing a deep, dusky blue be­fore tak­ing out shot. The idea was to cap­ture ev­ery last de­tail of the scene, from front to back, so we set a small aper­ture and a long shut­ter speed (see ‘In­clude ev­ery last de­tail’, be­low) to max­imise depth of field. This had the added ben­e­fit of blur­ring the mov­ing wa­ter and the light trails of the traf­fic cross­ing the bridge, cre­at­ing a clas­sic view of the London sky­line that com­bined the old of St Paul’s on the left, with the new of the Shard on the right.

The twist in this case was to take ex­actly the same view, and ap­ply a tilt-shift ef­fect to make it look like a model town at night. The tilt-shift ef­fect is noth­ing new, of course, but it’s almost al­ways used on scenes shot in day­light. We’d only seen a hand­ful of tilt-shift shots taken at night, so we de­cided to give it a go. The re­sult is cer­tainly much more strik­ing than our orig­i­nal and has a very con­vinc­ing, toy-town feel.


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