In contrast to the usually-empty place from the last project, some locations are almost
always busy, with a constant flow of traffic. Railway stations, bus stations and airports
are obvious examples, but in these days of tightened security, many are effectively out of
bounds for photography.
Giving this due consideration, choose a busy location, interior or exterior, and find a
viewpoint that will give you a satisfying composition as well as a good sense of the
nature and function of the space.
Spend some time watching how the flow of people works — the patterns they make, any
surges or lulls in movement and numbers — and how this can contribute to the
composition of the shot.
Aim to show the ‘busyness’ of the place, which might involve altering the composition,
perhaps changing the focal length of lens, or experimenting with a slow exposure.
For this exercise I chose a busy shopping centre in Leeds. I wanted a viewpoint that would incorporate some sense of the layout and design, while also demonstrating the ebb and flow of the foot traffic. By positioning myself on the top floor I was able to capture the top level, but my main focus was the shoppers on the ground floor.
I varied my shutter speed slightly as I wanted to capture subtle movement. Had the shutter been open for too long, I’d have missed the shoppers movement entirely.
If the shutter speed was too quick I’d have frozen the movement completely.
This first shot served as my ‘test’ shot. I then decided to have a slightly longer shutter speed to create some motion blur.
Most people are now blurry, with the odd exception of someone remaining still – the man in the blue shorts at the counter to the left shows this.
What is evident in all 3 pictures is the congestion or ‘bunching’ of people underneath the escalator. This is because it was the main route through the shopping centre, so as expected, would be congested.
Using a wide angle lens meant I was able to squeeze as much of my surroundings in as possible – emphasising the sense of scale. I like the effect this had on the railing to my right – it’s somewhat warped more than the human eye observed (it was curved slightly) but I think this adds a creative feel.