Remove or add human factor?
Last time, I processed couple of photos right after returning from 1st shoot-out to CKS park & throw them to Opeanut Group page asking critique and feedback. I’ve been there clearly in mind to take cityscape, such as architecture & structure, but I lost direction how to develop them & drive further down to get the result I want.
It is always good idea to ask feedback when you lost direction, feel boring on your photo or don’t know what lens you want to buy next time…. haha
Then I received brilliant comment from Kenny, saying that ‘they are boring because there are only known facts. Symmetrical composition, buildings and clouds… already seen so many times. Propose inserting Asymmetry item, something like human factor…
I appreciated so much, Kenny!
Human factor in architectural photography
Like any other busy place with tourist, need to consider how to manage human bustle if aim to take architectural or cityscape photography. Because we have no control on tourist, it means set up a plan in advance about post processing & shoot accordingly. On the other hand, to take street photography or record people business itself, it may be good to shoot as-is within such a continuous flow of crowd.
In this project, I plan to take Taipei cityscape, architecture, structure and environmental shots of the city. One way to reduce human factor is using long exposure to avoid moving objects recorded & only stationary subject did. I prepared as so indeed…. but not triggered…
Here is a series of 25 sec exposure, but as you can see it could not remove human trace entirely. Then why not expose much longer, e.g. 10 min or so to eliminate those trace? Well, it depends on…
It is possible to eliminate human trace technically, but should I do that for the project? That is a different question…
Human factor as a Key element
Human being associated architecture works as ‘key element’ when it is located desired position in controlled way. But how?
To make human being or human trace as key element, instead of completely clean photo something like blue print of engineering design, the best way is multiple (short exposure) shots in long intervals. Then each individual photo has different shape and form of human trace, later photographer can select the elements he want to keep or remove unwanted elements from the final result.
10 shots in 25 sec exposure are merged into 1 photo (equal to 250sec exposure) as below to eliminate human trace.
But unlike my plan, even after 10 shots stacked together it still shows residuals of human trace. I think, it is because they were not captured with enough intervals in between shots. I exposed 5 continuous shots twice to make 10. It means time duration of 10 shot is about 5 min in total which is not long enough for people moving randomly in this scene. If 10 shots taken in 1 or 2 min intervals making 10-15 min duration, it would be more successful to reduce human trace in the photo. Once clean image obtained, I can select ‘key element’ and recover it in controlled manner in PS. Lesson learnt :- )
Below is 2 example which has human factor in the photo
I eliminate couple of people in the square because I want to keep only 2 person in front.
After merge, I put #3 photo underneath of merged one and mask the layer to reveal her in the photo.
Manage human factor in crowd place
(1) use longer shutter duration, but be aware single very long shutter will remove human trace but can not bring it back
(2) OR take multiple shots in the same position (with tripod), shutter speed is not important but interval among them should be decent to capture random positions of human trace
(3) overlap layers & individually process to hide or reveal key elements AND / OR stack photos in median mode
(4) use clon and patch tool to finalize manipulation