Last year, I was hanging out at theoffices, chatting it up with their Social Media queen, , when she mentioned shooting around an amazing UrbEx location down in Hull, MA. The place was called Fort Revere. So, I found a free day and bee-lined it down there for a solo shoot. Long story short – the effort paid off with dividends.
Now here is the thing with Fort Revere, and most places that are as texture-rich as this one: it’s really critical that you don’t get lost in all of the detail. It’s really critical that you establish a compelling shot even amongst all of this glorious chaos. These scenes give photographers a special opportunity to tell a story – sure, it may be a slightly twisted story but it’s a story nonetheless.
Now, as far as the title of this post, I had a lot of failed attempts at getting a compelling shot. I think it mostly had to do with the vantage point that I was seeing in the frame. None of them really pulled me through the image – and that is, IMHO, one of the most important elements of a strong photo. Can you lead the viewer’s eye where you want it to go? No? Then try again.
For this shot, I had my Canon 14mm lens on and it wasn’t until I had my camera and tripod almost straddling this right wall that I saw the shot that I was meant to take. The wall itself had so many intrinsic elements that aided in creating strong leading lines through the frame. And so I fiddled around a bit and got what I wanted in the frame.
Now, because there was such a dramatic amount of dynamic range, I tone-mapped this shot and brought in all of the details that I wanted to retain using Photomatix. I also stylized the shot inPerfect Effects 3. I also added a tiny amount of FocalPoint to simulate a shallow depth of field (most notable by that doorway in the back of the frame). Finally, to further aid in drawing the eye through the frame, I simulated a light path by selectively dodging and burning the ground to taste.
So when you’re out and about, try abandoning the idea of shooting front and center all the time. Get your camera close to a wall and see what fun you can have with distortion.
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