For this weeks Featured Image of the Week I returned to Philadelphia, PA for a shot of Independence Hall. Unlike almost every other shot people see of Independence Hall this one was captured from the back of the building instead of the front. For this article I’ll share a few of the techniques I employed to get the shot.
Getting the Shot
The idea for this shot involved two concepts. The first: find a different vantage point to shoot from. When I captured over 9 hours of shots from my hotel window and put together a time lapse video I learned that thousands of people visit this historic landmark every day. I knew it was popular but creating a time lapse showed just how many visitors there are in a single day. If you haven’t seen the video you can check it out here.
With so many people walking up and taking basically the same shot I wanted to see if I could find a different angle. The back side of the building looks almost the same – but it receives considerably fewer visitors each day. This meant I had a really good chance of getting a shot that was different from every other shot people see.
The second concept involves finding a natural frame for the subject. One of my favorite techniques is to try taking a shot from a vantage point that encloses the subject. The resulting “window” forces people to focus on the subject of the shot. Here’s an example of how I created a natural frame on one of my trips to Disney World:
By standing in this area, and using the arched opening to frame the castle, the real subject of this shot becomes the focus of the entire image. This is a technique I like to use whenever I can.
So by walking around to the back of Independence Hall, and using the trees to frame the image on the left and right sides, I believe I created a different looking shot than most people are used to seeing of this historic landmark.
The equipment I used to take the shot included my Sony A6000 with a Sony 16mm f2.8 lens. I set my camera to Aperture Priority mode and used f6.3 at ISO 100 for a 1/640th of a second shutter speed. I carry my Sony a6000 was on the super comfortable Black Rapid Curve (my absolute favorite camera strap). Color correction and additional editing were performed in Lightroom and Photoshop.
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