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Alex Hare Photography

A Photographer’s Photograph
Landscape &Travel Photography Techniques

Feb 21st 2014

On my photography workshops, I’m often impressed by the quality and unusual angles, viewpoints and ideas people have for their photographs. 

It’s not unknown for me to be left wondering ‘how did I not see that?!’.  Without any pressure from a client or agency to shoot to order, people seem free to create such interesting photographic responses to scenes which I may not even think of let alone shoot.

However, a couple of days ago, on a visit to Margate's Droit House, I found this shot and felt I’d finally taken a ‘photographer’s photo’, something I rarely do.  And I loved it!

Canon EOS 5dMKIII, 24-70mm, f22, 15 seconds.

I suspect that I have become so used to photographing from a commercial point of view that I have lost some of the freedom and flexibility to just respond impulsively and instinctively to a scene or subject.  I have to think and find a way to make the image a potential seller as my business depends upon it.

But this shot just came along as I was about to call it a day and head for a cuppa.  I just noticed the shiny, reflective surface of the wall and decided to take a closer look. 

With my head down low, and in amongst the bird poo, I found I could just about get the building reflected in the surface; great, a shot was on!

I tried using the tripod, legs flat, but with the camera mounted on the head my Gitzo just couldn’t get the camera low enough and the reflection was no longer apparent.  Instead, I laid the camera flat and propped the lens up with a filter holder, checked the wall was symmetrical in the frame and used a long exposure to capture the movement in the clouds.

I doubt there’s much commercial appeal to an image like this but it’s certainly one for the collection because it’s an unusual and different view that many casual observers could miss.  In that sense, it’s an unexpected view too and one that makes it the sort of shot only a photographer, looking for a clever angle or viewpoint would find.

In contrast, my commercial photographs of Margate are of far more obvious viewpoints. These photographs were shot for the tourist board, Visit Thanet, and whilst they gave me a lot of pleasure when I created them, they are designed for commercial purposes with far more obvious views of the locations they depict.

A cover shot for Visit Kent shot at Broadstairs at dawn.  I love the image but the composition is 'loose' to allow space for the text that would be over laid at the top, sides and bottom of this shot.  Canon 5DMKIII, 17-40mm, f11, 1/4 sec.

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