Panorama in Gray

By: Gustav Hoiland

Mar 31 2010

Category: china

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Aperture:f/13
Focal Length:18mm
ISO:100
Shutter:6 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Big F

First and foremost, this is for Courtney, lover of vertical panoramas. It demands scrolling up and down the image to see it all, as I suspect none of you have monitors with 3000 or more vertical pixels of resolution. I guess I would call this non-traditional presentation of photography. Also its vertical orientation adds some strange to it – this is how you might see it if you were to look out your window from bed, head still on pillow.

Before diving into the busyness of the ground, let’s look at the sky. It varies between a middle gray and some sort of an off white, seamlessly transitioning between them at seemingly random points throughout but with an overall more-dark shade near the horizon. It’s in this space that you notice the recurring flecks of dust that were apparently on my lens at the time of capture. Since this image was stitched together from maybe 10 original images, a couple of these specks were undoubtedly the same  piece. This is more noticeable in the lower half. There’s also those little puffs of low clouds that have apparently gone AWOL from the general overcast mass to bounce around at a lower altitude.

Moving up, check out the very top. We have the non-parallel lines of vanishing-point-dom here, which are quite obvious once you notice it. This helps give depth to the image/save it from the flatness that I generally associate with mountainous landscape panoramas. It shows this building as very close (actually a part of the building I was shooting from, from one of those decks). The big building in the center of the photo also presents these non-parallel lines, I believe pointing towards the same vanishing point. Look at the bottom visible floor and the angle of that line, and then to the top. Quite a big difference.

Now look to the very bottom. It’s so contrasty! It’s at least in part due to the stark white trim on those new high rises. This was sunset, so maybe that part of the sky was darker overall as well… though that doesn’t quite explain the difference. Hmmmmm

Finally, I captioned the image “Big F” because the image, when viewed tiny, looks like a black sans-serif capital F on a grey/white background. The midsize tower near the bottom kind of mucks up the otherwise clean lines of this letter, but eh, that’s Shanghai.

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