Prowl your town af­ter dark to cap­ture eerie ar­chi­tec­tural shots.

Practical Photography (UK) - - Creative Guide -

THE UK’S ABUN­DANCE OF aged ar­chi­tec­ture means that you’re never too far away from fan­tas­tic ex­am­ples of me­dieval de­sign. Not only do we get to live among tan­gi­ble his­tor­i­cal relics, but we can in­cor­po­rate these amaz­ing build­ings into our pho­tog­ra­phy for a spooky ef­fect. From manor houses to cob­bled streets to churches, there are plenty of op­tions for your ghostly ar­chi­tec­tural set­ting. How­ever, just re­mem­ber that you can’t shoot on pri­vate prop­erty with­out the ex­press per­mis­sion of the owner. As a rule-ofthumb, so long as you’re shoot­ing from a pub­lic space, then you should be fine.

To make the most of your cho­sen lo­ca­tion, you’ll likely want to be shoot­ing af­ter dark. Not only will this give the shot a mys­te­ri­ous vibe, you’ll also be more likely to be able to cap­ture your ar­chi­tec­tural photo with­out some­one walk­ing through your frame. If you’re shoot­ing at night then stay safe – ask a friend to ac­com­pany you and try to shoot as soon as dark­ness falls, so you’re not out too late.

Com­pose your shot

While your sub­ject mat­ter may be slightly spook­ier for this project, you’ll find that fol­low­ing ba­sic land­scape com­po­si­tional rules will help you cap­ture a great shot. Po­si­tion your fo­cal point us­ing the rule-of-thirds, as this is a re­li­able com­po­si­tional tech­nique that will help you cre­ate a fan­tas­tic photo no mat­ter where you’re shoot­ing. Next, com­ple­ment your fo­cal point with an in­ter­est­ing fore­ground. If you’re shoot­ing a church, there should be plenty of in­trigu­ing ob­jects to place into the frame, such as grave­stones or stat­ues. Just make sure that you’re re­spect­ful of where you are – many pho­tog­ra­phers will avoid cap­tur­ing grave­stone de­tails of any­one who has passed away within the past cen­tury. En­sure that you don’t stand, or place any equip­ment, on the graves, and try to stick to the paths where pos­si­ble. If you’re shoot­ing cob­bled streets, search for lead-in lines of bushes, shop fronts or the cob­bles them­selves. No mat­ter what ex­actly it con­sists of, a lead-in line will draw the eye through the frame and to­wards the fo­cal point.

Set up your cam­era

Choos­ing your aper­ture will de­pend on the avail­able light you’re work­ing with and the com­po­si­tion you’re set­ting up. If you want front-to-back sharp­ness, then a nar­row aper­ture will be best. Keep your shut­ter speed un­der 30secs, or you’ll re­quire a re­mote shut­ter. Al­ter­na­tively, if you want to cap­ture blurred fore­ground in­ter­est, then se­lect a wide aper­ture. If you’re work­ing with leaves, this will also help prevent your fore­ground from blur­ring too much in the wind, as your shut­ter speed will be­come shorter.

Keep in mind that a tri­pod will be nec­es­sary for this tech­nique, as work­ing hand­held will mean hav­ing to push your ISO up much too high, to the detri­ment of image qual­ity. As you’ll be work­ing with a slow shut­ter speed, try us­ing your cam­era’s self-timer func­tion. By set­ting a de­lay be­tween the shut­ter be­ing pressed and the ex­po­sure start­ing, you’ll prevent any risk of cam­era shake.

Cre­ate a ghostly fig­ure

For a lit­tle ex­tra oc­cult ap­peal, go be­yond the typ­i­cal fig­ure-in-a-land­scape idea and trans­form it into some­thing al­to­gether

more eerie. For this tech­nique, you’ll need a shut­ter speed of around 1sec, so you may need to widen your aper­ture and push up your ISO. Don’t for­get that you’ll still need to use your tri­pod at this shut­ter speed, so keep your cam­era tightly locked off and the self-timer func­tion turned on.

Once you’ve sorted out your set­tings, the next thing to do is ask a friend to move into your frame. Place them in a fairly well-lit area to pro­vide some con­trast. Just be­fore the ex­po­sure starts, ask your friend to be­gin walk­ing at a nor­mal pace. This will pro­vide the creepy blurred fig­ure in your vista.

Above If you’ve got mov­ing ob­jects in your image, such as peo­ple or leaves, re­mem­ber that you’ll need a faster shut­ter speed for this setup than for a static scene.

Kit choice Man­frotto El­e­ment Car­bon Fi­bre Tri­pod Kit £149 This light­weight tri­pod is per­fect for ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­phy where you’re un­likely to en­counter much wind. It comes with a 360-de­gree ball head and of­fers an 8kg pay­load. man­frotto.co.uk

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