Hit the streets and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to shoot­ing pat­terns

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

The ur­ban land­scape is by far the best place to go pat­tern hunt­ing, sim­ply be­cause hu­mans love rep­e­ti­tion. Climb to the high­est view­point in a town or city and you’ll find many dif­fer­ent pat­terns, from the lay­out of the streets far be­low to the build­ings lin­ing those streets and the fea­tures of each in­di­vid­ual build­ing.

Modern ar­chi­tec­ture is es­pe­cially pro­duc­tive – think of the hun­dreds of iden­ti­cal win­dows in tow­er­ing of­fice blocks (and the re­flec­tions in those win­dows), the criss-cross­ing frames, zig-zag­ging stair­cases, colour­ful cladding… the list goes on. Don’t just limit your at­ten­tion to the great out­doors ei­ther – modern build­ings of­ten of­fer even more pat­tern po­ten­tial inside. Use your widest lens to make a fea­ture of amaz­ing in­te­ri­ors – the dis­tor­tion cre­ated by ul­tra-wide fo­cal lengths may even em­pha­sise the pat­tern. Old build­ings can be the source of great shots too – churches, abbeys and cathe­drals in par­tic­u­lar. Look for rows of columns, but­tresses, or­nate stained glass win­dows and spiral stair­cases and com­press per­spec­tive with a tele­zoom lens, so the re­peated fea­tures seem crowded to­gether and the pat­tern ef­fect is in­ten­si­fied.

If you’re not a city slicker, there are plenty of other places to find pat­terns. Sea­side towns are ideal – in sum­mer you have stacks of deckchairs on the prom or buck­ets and spades out­side shops. Beach huts make great pat­tern shots, and piers use rep­e­ti­tion in their de­sign, so you’ll be spoiled for choice at any time of year. Har­bours are an­other op­tion – looks for coils of rope, piles of fish­ing nets, stacks of lob­ster pots and fish crates. Boats moored in har­bours and mari­nas also make eye-catch­ing pat­terns if you can get a high view­point so you’re look­ing down on them.

Mar­ket traders are all in com­pe­ti­tion with each other, so they have to find ways of at­tract­ing po­ten­tial cus­tomers to their stall. One way is to make their dis­plays eye-catch­ing, and noth­ing does that bet­ter than a pretty pat­tern! Wan­der around a mar­ket and at ev­ery turn you’ll see pat­terns. Crates of fruit and veg, shoes, slip­pers, sou­venirs, fish, flow­ers – you name it and you’ll find it neatly ar­ranged. Many of these prod­ucts rely on colour for their ap­peal – es­pe­cially fruit and veg – but they work just as well in black and white, as the rep­e­ti­tion it­self be­comes the fo­cus of at­ten­tion, rather than the sub­ject mat­ter.

“Use your widest lens to make a fea­ture of amaz­ing in­te­ri­ors – the dis­tor­tion cre­ated may even em­pha­sise the pat­tern”

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