If you’ve been reading along on our “It’s not the camera” series… we are pleased to let you know that this post will follow the same theme. Which, outlines the notion that any dedicated camera can help you in bringing your photographic vision to life! If you have an interest in learning photography in the more traditional sense, you’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t necessarily require thousands of dollars of equipment to begin learning and start shooting. The most modest of dSLR or Mirrorless models will do just fine.
While it is true that my favorite place to be is steeped in the sounds and fragrances of nature’s beauty. However, as a photographer with diverse interests, I would be lying if I told you that the city doesn’t have a special place in my heart. After all, there is always such interesting geometry and light in cities. This, in itself, present an entirely different challenge to photography than a nature scene would. A dedicated camera with full manual control and ideally, the ability to change lenses, provides the photographer with an ability to capture all of the light and life of a city. In my experience, this is somewhat difficult to duplicate even on today’s most advanced smartphone cameras and apps. I’m here today to show you how even the most affordable dedicated camera can be such a huge benefit to any photographer looking to fully execute their vision of any scene in the city!
Ever since I knew what a camera was, I’ve been interested in long-exposure photography. The ability to capture scenes in motion, and conveying that motion to the viewer is one of the coolest aspects, in my mind, about photography. I still remember my 10 year old self looking through a magazine with my grandmother (who was one of my first mentors in photography), at a picture with automobile light-trails. Much like the picture above. I was mystified at how keeping the film exposed for a set amount of time would capture light in such a fashion. Well, as I’ve grown in photography, my interest in this particular aspect of photography has yet to wane.
Another really enjoyable aspect of “cityscape” photography is when I am able to find a body of water to photograph my scene over. Using the slower shutter speed as in these photos allowed me to show the subtle movement of the ice flows of the Detroit River around the tip of Sunset Point on Belle Isle.
Another aspect of photographing cities so alluring is the repeating patterns, leading lines, varied textures, and colors of the city during the day. Below, is a shot of Jackson Michigan which demonstrates this rather well. While I believe I could have captured this scene admirably on my iPhone, I am not confident that the level of detail would allow me to view and print this in larger formats. Stopping down to F10 and using a tripod allowed me to ensure a sharp, well exposed image.
Perhaps the favorite thing about my little Rebel though, is how it doesn’t get in my way during “walks in the park”. On Jessica’s and my anniversary a couple years ago, we decided to reminisce. So we went back to the place where I asked her to marry me. It happened that there was a very interesting mixture of a gorgeous sunset, fog, and clouds that evening. Had I not had my little guy with me, I know that this image would not have looked nearly as it does here. Simply because the RAW files allowed me to push the shadows a bit more than the smaller sensor of a phone would have allowed. This gave me the opportunity to capture this unique scene and show it to you here as I remember it in my mind’s eye.
One image in this group was NOT taken with my Canon Rebel SL1. Which one? Well, that would be the skyline image of Detroit shown at the top of this page. However, I did warn you all that I might sneak an image or two from my old Canon 6D. Which happens to be one of the most affordable and small full-frame dSLR’s out there these days. So, for our purposes, I feel it fits the narrative. 🙂 Besides, I love the shot.
Have any awesome city shots to share? Put ’em in the comments below! Have a question or need advice? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.