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The Hearn Generating Station is epic in every way

Not too long I had the opportunity to visit an abandoned building just outside of the downtown Toronto core. Although I had seen many photos from the location before, I had never gone to it—nor did I even know the location of it!

iPhone 6 Plus edited in Snapseed and  VSCOcam

iPhone 6 Plus edited in Snapseed and VSCOcam

Needless to say it was a pleasant surprise when I had the chance to grab my camera and go wild in there. I’m typically not the one to go to these urban, abandoned locations, but it never hurts to get out of your regular routine and experience something new for a change.

As soon as I walked in, I was shocked to see how large a place this was. The Hearn Generating Station is a decommissioned electrical generating station that occupies 650,000 cubic metres of space! Can you imagine the size of that? You can somewhat see the scale of this building from the picture above, where the man standing in the middle is looking down the main corridor. There were construction crews on premises so I wasn’t free to walk around everywhere, but it sure was a great view from wherever I was standing.

I didn’t have my tripod with me, but had I, I would have stayed much longer taking my time to find great angles to showcase the grandness of this building.

The takeaway to this is, when an opportunity like this arises, take it without hesitation because you never know whether it will ever come again!

A little perspective can fool you

Nikon D800, 1/640 f/4.5, ISO 800, 70mm

Nikon D800, 1/640 f/4.5, ISO 800, 70mm

Here’s a great photo that always makes me laugh a little every time I see it. The photo was taken at The National Art Centre, Tokyo. It’s an architectural marvel and photographer’s delight to be inside, especially during sunset, like above.

During one of my trips to Japan, I came here with a friend of mine—the one standing in the middle of this photo with a camera up to her face. The great thing about this photo is that because of where I was standing with my camera, the two people who happen to be in the frame look like they are totally different heights. The security guard on the left looks like he is quite a bit taller than my friend in the middle. Now I know my friend isn’t that short!

As it turns out, although the security guard was only a few feet in front of my friend, because I was so low to the ground, this particular angle makes it look almost as if my friend and the guard were standing along the same line—or the same distance away from my camera. This perspective trickery makes the subject standing further away from my camera appear to be much smaller than the subject who is only a few feet closer to the camera.

My camera was sitting right on the hardwood floor here, and I was taking random photos as people passed by. That was a great moment as there were so many different people walking by my camera. I did manage to get many photos here, and I will be sure to do some more show and tells  in the future.

The takeaway here is to remember to play with the perspective of your camera as you can easily fool the audience by making your subject matter appear much smaller or larger than they really are.

Anything bright to stand out

Nikon D800, 1/80 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/80 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 24mm

Even if it’s a drab door or a window or something else that’s not so exciting, a spark of colour can often bring much needed excitement to any picture. Take this door for example. It was a bright yellow door in the middle of a metal facade that really stood out from its surroundings.

The sheer fact that it was coloured bright, contrasting against the steel walls, caught my attention and prompted me to take a photograph of it. Had it been a dull colour that blended in with its surroundings, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about stopping to take its photo.

Next time on your walk, be sure to observe your surroundings for pops of colour. You’ll likely spot a lot more when you make the effort to find them.

Take a picture of it, and you be surprised at how photogenic it can be.

Above all else

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 200mm

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 200mm

What is it about heights that attracts us all? Is it the feeling of flight? The feeling of freedom? Or is it simply because it’s a rare vantage point from our ordinary lives? Seeing the little people on the ground and the little toy cars may make us feel like we are literally on top of the world.

Regardless of our thoughts it’s true that it can make for some great photography. And as someone who loves landscapes, it’s particularly exciting to see beautiful landscapes from atop everything else as well.

This photo was taken from 55 storeys high in the heart of Mississauga, overlooking its busiest street facing North. You can almost feel the wind in your hair as you eye the road from the bottom to near the top of the picture. The balcony you see on the right is of the condominium next door, which you could imagine would offer spectacular views from this height.

Now, if only I can get back up here again. If only!

Do you like high vantage points? Do you prefer cityscapes or landscapes?

A little perspective changes everything

In my last Periscope, I did a quick tutorial on how a slight change in camera perspective can dramatically change the view in front of you. If you missed it, you can catch the broadcast here for the next 20 hours or so.

A Little Perspective Change Goes A Long Way

A Little Perspective Change Goes A Long Way

When many people go out to take photos, their first instinct is to bring the camera up to their face and take a picture. That is fine, since eye-level is what everybody is used to seeing. However, if you would like create a more dynamic image with a slight flare to it, all you have to do is change the camera’s perspective by lowering it to the ground a little more, or bringing it higher above your head.

Here’s an example:

Eye-level Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 24mm

Eye-level Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 24mm

The above photo was taken at eye-level. It is your typical view that most people are used to. Now, let’s lower the camera to about a foot above ground-level and see what different it will make in our photo.

Lower Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 24mm

Lower Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 24mm

Can you feel the different it made in the photo? The ground is so much closer, bringing you more of its details. It almost feels like you are laying right there on the ground, while giving you a more interesting angle to the view in front of you.

Now, let’s see what the view looks like from just above my head.

Higher Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 24mm

Higher Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 24mm

Taking this photo with the camera above my head gives yet another different feel to the image. You can tell that it is not eye-level, and it almost feels like you are floating above everybody else on the ground.

Here’s one more example to show you the difference between putting your camera lower to the ground, shooting at eye-level, and shooting above your head.

Eye-level Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/1600 sec., f/5.0, ISO500, 36mm

Eye-level Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/1600 sec., f/5.0, ISO500, 36mm

The above is a typical eye-level shot looking down a street in Toronto. Nothing really strikes me as being different or unique in this photo.

Lower Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/1250 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 36mm

Lower Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/1250 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 36mm

However when I put the camera about a foot above the ground, you can see the cracks of the ground, and the yellow line acts as a visual guide to the viewers, and brings the viewer in to the rest of the image.

Upper Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/2500 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 36mm

Upper Perspective: Nikon D800, 1/2500 sec., f/5.0, ISO 500, 36mm

With this photo above, you can sense that you are floating above others and get a slightly different feel than when viewing at eye-level. The yellow marker is no longer as intimate as it was when taken at ground level.

These two examples are taken within the city. But whether you are out in the wilderness, higher up in the mountains, or just walking the streets, a little perspective change will go a long way in changing the overall feel for your image.

If you shoot with an iPhone or other mobile device, it’s even easier to change your perspective since the phone is so portable and much easier to lower to the ground or raise above your head.

Say goodbye to boring eye-level shots that everybody is used to seeing, and say hello to more dynamic, and interesting angles in your photos! The next time you are out taking photos, try changing the location of your camera and see the difference it makes.

What other interesting angles have you shot in?! Please let me know in the comments below!