Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Few Tips on Shooting Ruins on ePhotoZine

ePhotoZine has posted a brief piece on how to shoot ruins - abandoned buildings and obsolete facilities. Clearly, the author lives in the U.K. - speaking of shooting abbeys and the like.
(Click Here) to read the entry on ePhotoZine
In terms of equipment, the suggestion is to bring a wide angle lens, a longer zoom, a tripod (either full-size or tabletop), and a polarizer.
For technique, the author suggests walking the site carefully before jumping in to take pictures. Give context to the rubble piles that you find interesting, rather than just shooting closeups of them. Try shooting out through window openings, and down long corridors. Also, consider including signs as part of detail compositions.
If you're able, get a high perspective for overall shots of buildings, in order to reduce distortion caused by having to point the camera upward. Another way to achieve this is to shoot the building from further away, using a telephoto lens.
Finally, consider shooting a panorama, if the site warrants it.
Here are a couple of recent shots by my friend Rob Svirskas (flickr id: robsv), taken at an abandoned Bethlehem Steel factory.
On Deck, by Rob Svirskas (flickr id: robsv)
Nikon D300, 18-200mm Nikkor f3.5-5.6 at 70mm
iso 400, f6.3, 1/160 sec
Bus Stop, by Rob Svirskas (flickr id: robsv)
Nikon D300, 300mm Nikkor f4
iso 200, f6.3, 1/160 sec
These dilapidated facilities hold real opportunities for great photography. Typically, especially in industrial ruins, there are lots of details that make for interesting compositions. Many times, the function of the apparatus is not clear, adding a little question to each image. Usually, there are also echoes of a busy past, left bouncing around in now-empty buildings and parking lots.