“A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams.”
- Herb Caen
This month’s Readers Photo Challenge assignment is “cityscapes.” The challenge is similar to the architecture assignment issued in October of 2013 and there can be some overlap in subject matter, however a cityscape concerns itself more with an overall scene rather than concentrating on an individual building or detail. It’s more like seeing the whole forest rather than a single tree.
A cityscape can be just as compelling as a rural landscape. A city’s skyline can be likened to the crags of a mountain range and its streetlights, signs and utility poles can be like a forest of trees at times. Landscapes can often have animals. People and pets can the denizens of an urban landscape.
Like a normal landscape, the cityscapes benefit greatly from the time of day when one shoots. Try to avoid midday. The flat overhead sun creates flat, uninteresting light and unflattering shadows. The so-called “golden hours” of early morning or late afternoon are much more preferable. The light is much warmer and comes in at a pleasing angle.
The “blue hours” of predawn and post sunset are also great for urban landscapes. The deep blue sky can contrast nicely against the warmer glow of city streetlights.
Nighttime is another great time to shoot. Some cities come alive at night. The streetlights are no longer the simple yet beautiful accents of the blue hour and become the main light source of the city.
At this time of year the weather shouldn’t be much of a factor, but inclement weather can actually be an advantage in photographing cities. Rain slickened streets can reflect streetlights, doubling their effectiveness. You can catch the reflection of buildings and street scenes in larger puddles. Fog can add a level of moodiness to one’s photos. Clouds can help to add interest to a featureless sky.
It’s an unfortunate reality of life that there is more crime in the city than more rural areas. Be aware of your surroundings and situation to make sure you’re safe. Try going with a “photo buddy” especially after hours. There’s always safety in numbers.
For some people, shooting a “normal” landscape is their only goal, but those same skills can be transferred to an urban setting. For those who prefer the city life, a cityscape can be a way to experience a landscape on their own terms.
Here are the rules:
1. Entries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Type in “Cityscape” in the subject line.
2. Photos have to be shot between June 4 and June 18. The can be of any subject but they must be of an everyday object or scene.
3. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera/lens you used and where it was taken (eg: “John Doe, Stockton. Pool Station Road and Highway 49, San Andreas. Canon EOS Rebel Ti with 18-55mm lens”).
4. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos.
5. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.
6. The deadline for submission is Thursday, June 18. The top examples will be published on Thursday, June 25 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day.