Urban Landscape

February, 2007

I recently found a couple of different web sites that have themes of the week for photo entries. One of them had a theme of Urban Landscapes and I thought immediately of some of the images that I have in my collection of the Detroid skyline.

The idea however, is for you to go out and shoot a photo based on the current theme, not dig one out of your archives.

What could be a better urban landscape than a skyline shot across still water?

I held off posting an archive image and decided that I would try and get out to shoot the Albuqureque skyline sometime later in the week.

Come Friday night there was a get-together for a hiking group and after that meetup I forgot all about the photos that I was intending to take. I was downtown, it was night but I just drove off oblivious to my earlier plan.

Since I had another full day of classes scheduled for Saturday I decided that I'd either try for Saturday or submit something from one of the two or three images that I have laying around in my electronic library of photos. .

I was stuck however on the concept of an image that would involve a large sweeping view of the city. I figured however, that if that didn't work, I would concentrate on a single building that I knew kind of spoke for part of the image that is Albuquerque.

The skyline images I took were a total bust. I knew they would be, before I even attempted them. I suspect that part of it was the angle I was shooting from, but it just didn't work.

It's possible that if I had taken my "big gun" with me I might have ended up with a single building that I liked from the skyline, but since I was in class all day I didn't want to have my good camera gear sitting in the car for that long. I also didn't have a tripod with me, so I was a bit constricted as to how I might get a good night shot.

I then drove over to the route 66 diner that I intended to photograph and got out of my car disappointed. The angle I wanted was blocked by trees that I forgot were in front of the diner. Then at the back there was a very strong flood light that would have ruined the image with its light - so my framing was a bit limited.

This shot was taken braced against a small tree, 1/10 of a second exposure.

route 66 diner

I then went up the street a mile or two to an area that is known as Knob Hill, full of funky shops, restaurants and a theater or two.

Oh yeah, there is also a tattoo parlor or two on the street, and I knew from past experience that I might just find a window shot that might fit the bill.

I also looked to see if there were combinations of neon signs that I might shoot but nothing really caught my eye and again, a good telephoto might have been better for that kind of image.

After I got to the block I wanted I was fortunate to find a parking spot near the store I was most interested in. The problem here though was one of composition. There is a lot going on in this store front.

tatoo parlor 1

I decided that perhaps if I went out in to the median it might all work with the store sign included in the image.

While I was out there a young lady rolled down her window and said in a mocking tone.. oooh, you take such good pictures."

I answered "you are right, you want to buy one?"

She drove off and no cash changed hands.

I went back to taking shots of this store, and another one down the street. This was taken at 1/13 of a second, hand held.

tatoo parlor 2

What this image does not do for this particular "assignment" it will do for another however, as I want to do a series of some of the neon signs that line this part of the old historic route 66. I'll go back when its warmer with all the gear and will make a web gallery of those images.

Anyway... I crossed the street shot a couple more images of the window from an angle until I got the idea of getting even closer, and braced my my camera right against the glass.

One thirteenth of a second later, this is what I shot, and this is what I submitted for the "urban landscape"

parlor photo close up

All in all 20 images were taken to end up with the one, which is pretty good considering....