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Istanbul, Turkey

Photography Techniques the Pros Use

by Joe Marvullo

The use of filters at anytime will alter the color temperature and atmosphere of a particular photograph. Filters can be used to immediately change the visual impact and message of the picture being taken. They can be used for light balance (daylight filters used in tungsten or artificial light illumination to change the color temperature and color recording qualities of the film) or deliberately used to alter the overall color of the subject being photographed. A deep blue filter can be used with daylight film which is balanced for daylight color temperatures to turn the normal rendition into a pseudo night scene.� A deliberate underexposure can make the filter�s effect even more striking and deeper in a monotone hue or color cast.

In this scene, a sepia-toned image of the Pigeon� mosque and the ferries on the waterfront in Istanbul, Turkey was taken from a boat on the Bosphorus. Because the day was overcast, I used a Tiffen warming filter in order to take advantage of the light gray sky. This completely changed the color atmosphere of the scene from cool to warm hues. The painted whites of the steamers prevail despite the photograph�s artificial color cast. Shooting from a distance, I used a 135 mm medium telephoto lens with Fuji RVP ISO 50 film.

The Flag and the Mosque - A Tiffen filter was used for this medium telephoto tight cropping of the red Turkish flag and the mosque in the background. When photographing two subjects in juxtaposition, the stacked� image effect produced by a tele lens can give the picture a compressed look. The two- dimensional result produces a purposeful visual effect. The color compensating filter adds an older, turn of the century feeling to the picture combined with the optical effect of a modern lens. Kodak S 100 film.

The Hagia Sophia Interior - A small Giitzo tripod and a 15mm lens were used to get this sweeping view of the expansive dome of the interior of the great 5th century Basilica of the Holy Wisdom� in Istanbul. Several long exposures were made from a low angle with the lens pointed upward in order to capture the huge vault that lets the light stream into the inferior of the building. The large number of windows produce what the ancients said was light from heaven.� In low light time-exposure photography, the more white light� you let into the scene, the more ethereal a feeling of a rarefied atmosphere will be produced in the final picture. Fuji ISO 100 film.

The Hagia Sophia exterior - The use of framing devices such as foreground trees or other fixtures in the foreground will add to the overall impact of the photograph when the background portion of the frame is where the main subject is located. It gives a long view� of the scene. The horizontal format with its tilting view contributes to this. A 28 mm lens setting on a Nikkor 28-200 mm zoom lens was used on a Nikon F5 camera. Kodak ISO 100 SW film was used.

Blue Mosque and Yellow flowers - Directly across the garden promenade facing the Church of the Holy Wisdom (which was, for a time, a mosque and now is a national historical shrine), one can find the equally famous architectural masterpiece, the Blue Mosque� of the Sultan Ahmet. It too has a great dome and minarets on the exterior and inside are the famous blue tiles. These two photographs were made to illustrate the use of an ultra-wide 18-20 mm type of lens to exaggerate perspective and make a photograph of high graphic impression. Taken from a low angle of view, the hand held picture used the yellow foreground flowers as a eye catching� device to naturally lead to the background main subject of the mosque. A tremendous amount of added depth was produced by the carefully chosen angle-of-view combining with the strong colors and enormous field of coverage of the lens used. All these elements combined to transform a pretty picture into one of high graphic impact. This illustrates the photographer�s ability to control the scene and design the picture for maximum visual contact. That is what travel photography is all about, bringing back a fresh image of a locale. The horizontal choice is one of a sweeping wide-field view, different in perspective and yet still familiar to our natural way of seeing things. However, this time the view is seen as wide-eyes.�

The vertical version of the same subject brings more of an unfamiliar jolt to the final picture because of the unnatural field-of-view. The flowers are now more dominant, the range of perception is in a vertical format adding more color weight� to the foreground. Both views offer a variation on a theme. In this case, the concept was to transform a complacent sight into a dynamic interpretation. This angle also lends itself to a inclining perspective� in depicting the scene. Kodak SW film was used.

On The Waterfront - The dockside on the Bosphorus near the Galata bridge on early Friday evenings is filled with all kinds of colorful characters. A potpourri of people pictures awaits the roaming eye of the photographer. Isolating a subject from the crowd is an important part of photojournalism, whether by selective focusing or cropping out unwanted collateral material. To bring the focus of the whole scene down to a specific subject sets up the importance of the picture. Seeing the young man in traditional costume selling tea and getting the image on film was a grab shot. The instant reaction picture is the most difficult maneuver in people photography. 85mm and Fuji RAP film. A one photograph take, the subject looks up and I make the snap.

Man and Flags - Walking in front of the mosque, this hawker of Turkish flags was captured on film as he strolled by the camera. In this case the subject walked by the scene from right-to-left and I was able to get several as he passed my vantage point. The vertical format helps isolate the subject. He seems to be walking out of the live picture area which adds a feeling of continuity to his journey. If the photo was a horizontal, he would simply have more ground behind him from his promenade. The bright red flags add an eye- director to the final photograph. Nikkor 28-200 zoom set at a medium tele focal length. Kodak S 100 film.

The Rumeli Hisari Fortress - When taking of structures or landscapes, the deliberate use of a diagonal line adds a dynamic to the final picture. Unlike a straight line, the diagonal travels across the frame adding an emphasis to the composition since it is traversing the longest distance between the corners. It can make a static photograph more interesting adding a strong angularity to the image. Fuji RVP and a 135mm lens. This fortress was built by Mehmet the Great during the Ottoman siege of Constantinople.

Sunset over the Hagia Sophia - A low view taken from sea level on a small boat of a sunset over the classic building�s dome. The reflection in the water and the silhouette of the structure add a graphic impact to this high contrast color photograph. When using a camera in a moving boat, try to keep the camera steady against your body and sway with the motion of the craft during the duration of the exposure. This technique applies both to short and long exposures. Medium tele lens and RVP ISO 50 film.

Interior Wall Decoration - This beautiful mosaic of the Madonna and Child was taken in the Hagia Sophia church. A Nikon F5 with a 28-200 mm lens and SB-28 flash was used for the picture. The small flash is powerful and the wall painting was at a distance of about 15-20 feet. This icon is a treasure of 5th Century AD artwork. A pass is needed to take of fragile art relics like this one.

Blue Tiles - From a fountain in the garden of the Tokapi Palace, these traditional blue and white tiles are of classic Islamic medieval design. Using existing artwork as a basis for a graphic representation of a culture or place is one way of showing in small detail the personality of a people. Rangefinder camera with a 35mm lens.

Slippers - Another version of showing signs of local life is a close-up of artifacts. These gold and red traditional Turkish slippers were sitting in the bright sunlight and made an interesting three dimensional color design. The repetitive pattern of the shoes, their shadows and their arrangement combine to make a distinctive statement of a culture. Kodak SW film.  

 

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