Our final project is to create a set of images that tell a story or suit a particular theme. Over the past few weeks I’ve been exploring the differences between the two. Oddly I found it a little difficult to get a group of images together, I usually just post a few on Instagram and then move onto the next thing. I’m a bit wary of overloading my feed with a great number of images about a particular topic or event but I think in future I’ll try to post them here on my blog.
It was hard to make a final decision on the set for submission as I had whittled it down to two choices – the story of a Brisbane City Cycle and a Star Wars parade through Queen Street Mall. My final choice was the Brisbane City Cycle as it tells the story of a city so close to my heart. I’ll post the other set back into last week’s journal entry. I had already curated a set of images from various photography sessions around the city so I knew I wanted to do a new set that was cohesive in subject and theme but also time of day. As part of my wrap up of the day, I had shared a bunch of images on Instagram and this gave me a chance to see how the images would work together for a story.
A Brisbane Story
As cities go, Brisbane is not that old and there is little evidence of the early years of settlement in our modern streets and architecture. Brisbane City Council run a Brisbane Greeters program where volunteers take visitors and locals around the city, relating our history and pointing out interesting aspects of the environment.
One Saturday in May, I joined Brisbane Greeters and our group of IgersBrisbane photographers for a bicycle adventure around the city. Our group was split into two with half travelling by City Cat towards Teneriffe and cycling towards the city and our group headed from the city towards the Powerhouse and New Farm Park. Our group photo was the serendipity of meeting in the middle – we had great fun cycling back & forth along the old wharf area and comparing notes on what each group had seen.
We learnt so much about the city that day and I don’t think I was the only one to have my eyes opened to its unique history and many interesting facets. I thought it would be useful to include a bit of background to some of the images. All of the images have been taken into Lightroom for editing as I find that is the program I’m most comfortable with. When I’m working with a collection of images, I like them to have a similar feel exposure-wise and Lightroom makes that very straightforward.
Our ride started at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens with a quick history lesson. We hadn’t cycled too far by then so I was still trying to work out the juggle of a camera and phone. Others seemed pretty comfortable slinging their camera over a shoulder while cycling, but I wasn’t quite so confident. I had taken my Olympus mirrorless for the excursion as it’s so much lighter to carry.
My first image is a cannon emplacement on the banks of the Brisbane River, one of twelve sent to Brisbane for defence prior to WW1. Although this was not the original placement of the artillery, I framed the shot to give some idea what the river view might have looked like for soldiers manning the cannon. The cannon is pointing into the frame and I’ve left some of the riverbank surrounding the artillery to give a sense of place.
As we travelled through the gardens, our wonderful guides pointed out trees of interest and told us some early stories of the Botanical Gardens. I never knew the gardens were once a huge zoo and was home to Galapagos Island tortoise Harriet, apparently, Charles Darwin originally captured her as a young animal.
Taking a wide shot of gardens can be a little tricky, I wanted to show the expanse of the gardens as well as giving some idea of how green the city is as we head into Winter. I used the overarching branch of a fig tree to help frame the wide shot. The Olympus camera works quite well in the shady light beneath the tree but Lightroom gave me some assistance to improve exposure and the balance of shadows with blacks.
Spotting artwork by the Blue Ninja is sometimes difficult but not when you have a Brisbane Greeter to point them out to you. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked past this little guy as I crossed the Goodwill Bridge.
As the sculpture was fastened to a tree a little distance away from the bridge, I used my Olympus to zoom in for the shot. A little extra cropping and colour adjustment by saturating the blues was done in Lightroom. I tried to keep the image landscape orientation so I could show him mooching along the branch. The figure is on the left and facing into the image.
We were honoured to see one of Brisbane’s newest statues newly unveiled the morning of our ride. Our Greeter guide told us he had been covered in bubble wrap until the day before so we were luckly to be not long after the formal Navy commissioning. A bit of research was needed to find out that he is the first standing statue of a sailor to be erected in Queensland. As he waves towards the Brisbane River, kitbag in hand, bell bottoms flaring and smile on his face you can almost see those young sailors as they head off to defend our country.
The statue was a little challenging to photograph as the formal Naval service had not long concluded and tents, chairs and the like were still in place and in our way. The morning sun was beating fully on the boys face, potentially over exposing the image. I knew to slightly underexpose the image to preserve the detail in the face and was able to properly adjust exposure in Lightroom.
Brisbane is a river city and this image of a pair canoeing up the river suits my theme perfectly. The canoes were moving quite quickly and as it can be a busy part of the river to photograph I didn’t have much time to consider composition. I knew I wanted there to be much other river traffic in the background, the City Cat is heading off to the side and out of the image which I find a little distracting. But cropping the image further means losing the detail of city buildings which add to the sense of place and little vs big aspect.
Zipping along on our bikes made it a little difficult to take shots on the go but I actually stopped to take this quick one of our group with my phone. I wanted to use leading lines towards the cyclists so was able to configure the image through some creative cropping in Lightroom. The looming storm clouds add to the drama and the bight pop of red from our guides shirt draw the eye beautifully.
We reach the Story Bridge after quite an uphill climb through the streets of Kangaroo Point. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the bridge from this perspective so it was good to stop and watch the cars whizz by. Even on a Saturday the bridge is full of fast moving traffic so I was pleased with how well my iPhone caught the image. I wanted to have the city peaking through the pylons of the bridge structure. As it was slightly overcast by then the phone automatically adjusted for exposure giving me an image that needed little improvement in editing.
At last, we are past the bridge and on the home stretch of our ride! There is a magic view of the bridge from this vantage point and we all took good advantage of it for photos. I handed my camera to a friend and was so happy with the image she took. I cropped the image slightly to put me right on the juncture of right-hand and bottom guides of rule of thirds as the bridge stretches along behind me.
As we head into New Farm Park and our finishing point of the Powerhouse there is a sense of elation and achievement within our group – we had done it! It sure was an interesting way to spend a Saturday and I can’t recommend the wonderful volunteers at Brisbane Greeters enough for taking us through the streets of our town.
This final image was taken as we rehomed our City Cycles at their dock. I cropped the image slightly to bring focus on the wheel covers and pushed the orange towards slight oversaturation in Lightroom to really make them pop. They have become iconic throughout the streets of the CBD with their highly visible colours and I wanted to reinforce that. Also, having the bikes all docked at the end of our ride brings some closure to my story.
I hope you have enjoyed reading along the past weeks! I have learnt so much in the course and was happy to have a chance to record and share that learning online.