Friday, June 20, 2008

Running Repairs

Time To Prop Up A Founding Father

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


One of the great joys of photography is being able to capture vivid colours, but to me one of the supreme challenges is to be able to use a camera in unfavourable light conditions. A couple of years ago, I was using a film-based Canon EOS 3000 in Quebec City and I got some great, stark shots of a grey dawn as the rain came angling down over the St Lawrence River.

Later that morning, I explored the Terrasse Dufferin and the Promenade des Gouverneurs, shooting as I walked. I had already photographed the statue of Samuel de Champlain, the founder of the beautiful city, the previous evening, but now I spied an unusual challenge. Could I work the angles so as to include the Champlain statue in the same frame as the Chateau Frontenac?

As you’ll see from my 2006 post Beyond A Chateau Of Doubt it was a fair task, but it resulted in an unusual angle that made decent use of the overcast conditions. It's interesting to note, in retrospect, that the most efficient way I could shoot the scene was actually from behind and under the statue!


Then I was about to walk away and explore the Lower Town when I noticed the remnants of repair or restoration work on the Champlain statue. So of course I had to shoot the scene (below) to capture the evidence of the painstakingly-placed woodwork propping up the incredibly heavy marble and bronze.

And that was pretty much when I decided to use the heraldic angels just below the plinth to form an unusual image. Under a clear blue sky, this would have been an easy object to photograph. But with the formless overcast, I had to rely completely on composition to present the strength of the image.


Because of the weather, it looks like a black-and-white image - and that, in turn, gives me an appreciation of how hard photographers in the pre-colour technology era had to work to interpret the sights that caught their attention.


For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch Friday.

45 comments:

San said...

Those angelic trumpets ARE watching over the sky. Nice.

Lana Gramlich said...

Interesting observations & lovely composition in the photos. Very effective!

Chuck said...

Oh m'gosh. I can only hope one day I'll learn enough about my camera to move beyond the "auto" button. Fabulous fotos.

Thx for stopping by my blog and commenting on my foto. I I give you *humungo huggies ~n lotsa lovies* today -- my way of saying thx.

Gary said...

Ditto Chuck on the camera front!!

The dull sky accentuates the statue and plinth - brilliant photographs.

Cheers
Gary
Bodge's Bulletin

Jeff B said...

With all the gray skies here in Portland, there is plenty of oppertunity to practice these type of shots. I love how you are able to fine a shot even when there doesn't seem to be one available.

SandyCarlson said...

Marvelously propped up father, David. Thanks for the many perspectives.

Anemone said...

Teknical I dont know, and I dont care, becaus my brain is in teflon.

But I am able to se that your pictures are beautiful.

Nice sculpture as well.

Nice weekend to you from Anne with a not expensive house wife camera.... begging the Santa this year...

Old Wom Tigley said...

Very different this week David... and an excellent series of shots.
I would like to thank you also for mentioning Dot.. Sky Watch would not have come about but for her great idea... I must included this myself..

Tom

imac said...

You can certainly tell its a rainy day, as you say stark skies, but the captures you have are very stunning David.


pop and see mine from the back garden.

polona said...

love the angles of these shots.
i know how challenging taking photos under the overcast sky can be...

Pretty Life Online said...

Happy SWF! We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened... mine's up too hope you can drop by.

Lori said...

I really like the silhouettes of the last two pictures. Great! You always come up with the greatest shots.

Daniel J Santos said...

excellent perspective, well done.

Louis la Vache said...

Outstanding series of shots and very interesting commentary! "Louis" gives you permission to reach around, pat yourself on the back and say "attaboy!"

For Sky Watch over at San Francisco Bay Daily Photo, we have a dance between the moon and the fog at midnight.

womaninawindow said...

The last picture is my fav by far. Can I travel in your pocket just once?

CrazyCath said...

But you so manage it and make it look so eeeasssy!

That second to last shot is the best. You certainly got the composition there.

Me & my puppies said...

There came out perfect, I like the black and white look to them.

Cowgirl said...

Hat's Off to you, David for a great set of Sky Watch Fridays. I see the bloke in the third shot is in total agreement....

Sandpiper said...

These are wonderful, David. I like the various compositions. Great post.

alicesg said...

Very beautiful SWF photo. I love the statue that blows the trumpet. It is lovely. Have a nice weekend.

MamaGeek said...

Clever is as clever does! Great shots - I love that sky.

archiearchive said...

Once again I learn as I look at you images, David. Perhaps I am too modern but I see everything in colour. Must get out of that habit. Now to find some subjects which will look effective if done in B&W.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Very interesting, you always have the greatest of photos

picturing said...

nice sky capture u have...

My SWF in here Thanks

Juliana RW said...

i like the angles u took the shot.

Mine in here. Thanks

Anne-Berit said...

Awesome sky watch post.Have a nice day!

Ida said...

Great series.
I`m learning from you.
If I was nearby i would attend a course.
Thank`s for sharing.

Maggie May said...

I like dramatic pictures and these were just that!
Chateau of doubt LOL!

evlahos said...

very beautiful monuments. wonderful vivid colors

babooshka said...

Superb shots in awlful lighting. I agree it is easy for me to take brilliant sunsets when the colours just occur but the light here is quite oppressive. It does create some rather imaginative images as you've shown.

RuneE said...

How true - but I miss the Kodachrome 25 anyhow!

Kahshe Cottager said...

These are wonderful shots and bring back memories of the times I have been in the lower city. It was dreary weather when I was there as well. There is so much to see there that one could forget to look up!

Champ Townboy said...

Awesome, as always, David!!

Stuff I Shoot said...

Beautiful series!!

Daryl said...

Hark! Nice series of shots ..


:-Daryl

Mental P Mama said...

I love these shots...great technique.

John said...

Awesome shots and lovely perspectives!

Have a nice weekend, David!

the teach said...

David, David, a wonderful lesson in creative photography! Thank you! Very impressive!

Dottie said...

I too wanna get beyond that auto button on the camera! You take excellent photos...I feel like I say the same thing every time I come here.. hmm.. must be you take excellent photos! :)

Dragonstar said...

I love monochrome, and you've produced just what I like here. Beautiful!

Sherry said...

The stark sky is a great background for these images. Stunning photos!

Nita said...

Those are beautiful shots! Thanks for sharing! My very "first" entry is up as well. Hope to see you there!

Cheers,
Nita's Random Thoughts
Nita's Corner
Thomas Web Links
Thomas Travel Tales
Great Finds and Deals
Bohol Paradise

Max-e said...

Interesting post David. I like the way you see the photographic opportunities. I would probably have been disappointed by the fact that the statue was spoilt by the repairs and walked away. We live and we learn :)

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