What do you think about this series?

Last week my dear friend Ines and I went shooting and the following photos are the result. Ines is very much into (modern) architecture. I am usually not really an architecture photographer, I like nature much better, I think that most things that people create (i.e. “culture”) are flawed. Ines suggested that we shoot a quarter of Vienna that is called Citygate. It is a very new residential area and there is also quite a large shopping mall. Most people that live there are people who recently moved to Vienna, form abroad, form Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, and of course there are also some Muslims but probably very few black people from Africa. But I think there are few German speaking Austrian people. At this point people that live there are neither rich nor poor, most of them are probably not unemployed. So “normal” people. This part of the city is quite far form the center, in “Transdanubien”, i.e. on the other side of the Danube. I live in Vienna since more that 30 years and this was the very first time in my life that I visited this area.
Anyway, as I already mentioned, my friend Ines loves architecture photography, in fact she loves everything that is artificial and modern, e.g. she has artificial nails. So she is completely different than I, nevertheless she is very cool and super nice. She suggested the shooting and I agreed to participate because I wanted to hang out with her, I did not really expect to actually enjoy it and actually get inspired, but I did. We were shooting for about 30 minutes, the weather was very hot, and after 30 minutes we had to stop because a storm came and it began to rain. But right before the storm there were those really fantastic clouds.
I am a bit proud of this series because it is different form what I usually shoot. I think this is something new. I had been shooting wildlife and macro such as butterflies and squirrels for a long time. Of course one can always achieve more (technical) perfection in that kind of photography, but at the moment I am a bit bored of butterflies and squirrels. My butterflies usually get lots of favs on 500px etc but actually I am surprized about that because for me they are a bit boring. Of course, shooting butterflies is still better than shooting nothing. Since a little more than one year I have been shooting more landscapes which is also relatively new to me, and that is ok, too, not so boring. But in order to shoot landscapes one needs to travel.
Anyway, as far as this series in concerned, the main artistic issue is composition. It is about compositional tension, dynamism, harmony and geometry. It is something like a compositional study or experiment. Of course, the photos are basically abstract. But the editing is probably also interesting. I edited them in darktable, but I think I do not remember how exactly I edited them. Of course I had to darken the sky for which I sometimes used the graduated filter. Obviously I increased saturation and contrast. For making the clouds look more dramatic, I used the local contrast (laplacian) module (with a mask). Then the problem was that parts of the cloudy sky were overexposed. I tried to fix that with masks as well. Sounds simple, nothing extraordinary really. Nevertheless each photo was quite a complex edit with about 10 instances and it took some time to edit them, so not just a “quick fix”. There were also fragments of other buildings that I had to remove. And of course the photos were cropped and rotated a bit.

This composition is a bit static because one edge of the building is almost exactly parallel to the left edge of the frame.

This is probably the most static composition of the series, in a way similar to the first photo.

But this one is probably the most dynamic composition. I think it feels like the buildig was about to fall down onto the viewer but then it isn't afterall because of an invisible force that is holding it. I think this is inspired by Malevich's floating shapes.

I believe this last one would look better if the buildig was shorter.

None of these compositions is really perfect from my point of view. In most cases that dark cloud is too close to the building. But I could not move around the clouds in the sky like I wanted :slightly_frowning_face:

Please tell me what you think about this series. Don’t hesitate to be critical. I am posting them here because I am hoping to get more feedback than just like or not. Do you have a favorite version? Any thoughts that come to your mind when you see them? Can you think of improvements? E.g. would you rotate or crop them differently?
You might also think: too modern, too dynamic, too much contrast in the sky, too much saturation, too much editing, too much of the good, like a very strong alcoholic drink. But I think I like them at the moment. Maybe I won’t in a month or a year.
I hope this will initiate an interesting discussion.

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My first impression is that the last one looks the best.

It feels balanced proportionally and where the edges are. The clouds and the light interacting with them are the most interesting of the series. Lastly, one you didn’t mention, the ripples on the building tell more of a story and are more pleasant in the latter image.

Bonus one odd aspect of the building is that the second ripple from the left just starts from x floor and doesn’t go all the way down. I guess that is an interesting thing in and of itself.

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and thanks for sharing first of all! :+1:
if you want my humble opinion, I can see the appeal of the elements and I like the idea, but the colours are just too funky for my taste – the b&w is much better. also, I’m looking at them on the phone and I see quite a bit of halos around the buildings: I’m not sure whether they are intentional, but they don’t work for me.
hope this helps!
EDIT: one more thing, I’d go with a square crop

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hi, thanks for the constructive feedback. you are at least partly right about the halos and the saturation. there are halos, especially in the first and the last photo. I used the local laplacian which is not supposed to produce halos. before that I tried the equalizer which produced even stronger halos. I also tried to exclude the buildings from local contrast with the help of masks but… well… maybe I did not try hard enough. however, of course it would be better without any halos but overall I think that the halos are not so disturbing. the pictures are not about the halos but mainly about the composition. you see them from a quite technical side.
as far as saturation is concerned, my taste changed since I edited the photos. if I would re-edit them I would reduce saturation just a little bit, especially in the big blue areas. but I do not think that the black and white version is better.

you might be right, sorry about that.

that definitely matters more than what I wrote :slight_smile:

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well, maybe one more thing about the halos: if I were mean I’d say that the halos are not my fault but the developer’s fault :smiley:

there is no need to be sorry, everybody has the right to have his/her own perspective and opinion. you want to see things form a technical perpective and that’s ok.

From a composition standpoint, I prefer #1 and #2, because they put the skyscraper in a more “humble” position, as if it asks permission to be placed among bigger forces of Nature. EDIT: In this regard, I don’t see both compositions as static but, on the contrary, more dynamic, specially #2, in the sense that it seems that the skyscraper is entering the scene but still hasn’t found a place, “Can I join you?”
#3, on the contrary, puts the building in a more defiant position, as if it says I’m here to stay, I’m stronger than anything else.
In #4, the skyscraper is a menace, and I don’t think it deserves that.
#5 is kind of boring, too much balance, is there anything left to say?
If I were to pick one, I’d stay with #2, because it’s where texture and structure are more evident, and where the beautiful ripples become the main player. Also, I didn’t like the blown highlights in the clouds for the color ones.
Btw, is this one, right?


yes, in all versions it is kind of like there was a dialogue between the building and the sky, between nature and culture

well, maybe one more thing about the halos: if I were mean I’d say that the halos are not my fault but the developer’s fault

Really?? Hopefully you are joking.
Besides, if you ask for criticism, be humble enough to accept it.

I think she was talking about the image development process, so the developer is she. I can’t imagine a stance humbler than that. :slightly_smiling_face:

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of course it was a joke

Actually I think that the local contrast module is very well engeneered. In the case of this series I used 2 or 3 instances of it at maximal strength or so and I had already used some module that produced very slight halos. So the local contrast amplifies halos that are already present, it does not produce them apparently. As I already said I tried do exclude some parts form local contrast but since transitions must be smooth the result kind of is not perfect. I guess I kind of like brutality as far as image editing is concerned.