Friday, January 8, 2016

2015 - Best of the Urban Images

The Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico

I went through 52 weeks of photographic blogs from 2015 to pick out some of my best photos. Best, at least in my humble opinion, so maybe favorite is a better term. This year I tried to sort them into categories more for me than anyone else. The categories were based on 2014 actually. That year had a lot of still life photographs but in 2015 it was a smaller segment. While there are enough urban photographs for a couple blogs. And way more landscapes.

Urban photography requires a field trip because I do not live in an urban area. In the past years Trinidad, Colorado and Raton, New Mexico have figured high in my field trips. This year it was Las Vegas, New Mexico mainly. And largely because they were filming Longmire there. But it is a great old town which is reviving itself.

But I even made one trip into Taos for something other than groceries. I get rather jaundiced about Taos. Most of the "old buildings" in the tourist town date only as far back as the 1930's but pretend to be far older.

On Bent Street in Taos, New Mexico

And as I looked back at my Taos photographs they were not so much pictures of a town as they were photographs of shadows. Stucco walls do make a perfect canvas for strong morning shadows.

While my photographs of Las Vegas are more architectural in nature. And in addition to those featured in this blog Las Vegas buildings will make an appearance in the best of black and white images for 2015. Las Vegas also has some great churches which will be featured in another best of 2015 blog.

Door on Highland University Campus, Las Vegas, New Mexico

The challenge for me with the urban landscape is coming up with a unique way to capture it. There is concentrating on the details like the beautiful door way above with the highly reflective glass giving back detail of the building across from it and behind me. Or there is picking an unique angle.

Architectural lines will bend if you are up close with a wide angle lens. And you can use that to your benefit by putting the whole building on a tilt as in the photograph below. The opening photograph was done from a distance with a long lens and cropped to minimize the curvature of the parallel lines. 

On the Plaza in Las Vegas, New Mexico

I belong to a photography group where the assignment has been shapes. There are a lot of shapes in Las Vegas architecture but have not found a kite shape yet. Rectangles, triangles, rhombus, trapezoid but no kites.

Highland University Campus, Las Vegas, New Mexico.

It is also a lot of fun to play with post processing and the urban landscape. And of course the shadows on the walls from trees. Modern architecture does not have as many interesting architectural elements as the old. And ergo not as many shadows.

I did feel obligated to put at least one photograph from my nearest town, Angel Fire. It is of the strip mall era and few buildings which are not condos go above one floor. But I managed to snap this umbrella shot of Angel Fired Pizza's balcony  with colorful umbrellas.

Balcony detail in Angel Fire, New Mexico

Need to schedule more field trips for 2016.

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