Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to do a photographic assignment for the Canadian Tourism Commission and I got to travel to Quebec City, Montreal and several places in Muskoka. This shot of the Imax cinema was taken on my last night in Montreal.
I did a lot of walking on that trip, especially in Quebec City and Montreal. As far as possible, I did not want to worry about a rental car. Why? First of all, I wanted to be able to concentrate entirely on the photography and I wanted to be able to stop on any street at any time and take as many shots as necessary.
Had I been driving, I would not have been able to focus entirely on the sights and I would have been more worried about finding a parking spot.
It was a balmy evening and I could have put my feet up in my hotel, the beautiful Queen Elizabeth, where members of royalty and heads of state have stayed. But I just wanted to soak up as much of the city as I could, so I had dinner, put on my stout hiking boots (so wisely chosen by Mrs Authorblog) and headed out again.
I was using a Canon EOS 3000, shooting film, but I also had digital technology slung over my shoulder as well. I took this shot with a little Pentax Optio 33 LF. I was literally standing on the pavement outside the theatre and I didn't just want to take a stand-and-deliver shot, so I composed this frame, for a "different" view. Looking back at my Montreal folder now, it's interesting to see I only shot one image of the Imax theatre. No, it's not arrogance - I think I was just satisfied that I had an unusual angle.
The vertical and horizontal neon strips worked perfectly, a great foil against the darkness. But I was also lucky that a street light was in just the right spot, so by shooting upwards (and without a tripod) I was able to use its glow to give character to what would otherwise have been a relatively bare corner of the frame.
If you take a close look at the street light, you'll actually see the reflection of its soft glow across the ridged metal surface of the pole as well. It's a value-added extra that just gives a little more dimension to an image that is basically a very simple shot. As I always say to budding photographers - don't always shoot the first view that comes into your mind, try and see if there are minor add-ons that could enhance the quality of the scene you're trying to capture.
A number of my work colleagues have used my photographs as the background on their computers. One of them, a sport-crazy bloke, has had this shot on his PC ever since I came back from Canada. Why? Because his name's Max - and he reckons I partially obscured the "I" in the Imax sign for his benefit.
Now that's really a case of taking it to the Max.
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