‘Cleaning up’ in APOY: street and city photo tips
March 23, 2021
In partnership with MPB
Some locations can prove harder to photograph than others and the iconic architecture at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is no exception. The state-of-the-art cultural and architectural complex is usually a hive of activity with visitors, making it a particularly challenging place to photograph unless you set your alarm early and arrive at the crack of dawn.
This is exactly what Helen Trust did the day she captured this eye-catching reflection in late 2018 during her week-long visit to the Spanish city. In an attempt to find some shade from the intense morning sun, Helen found herself at the back of the Science Museum, when all of a sudden everything fell into place.
Helen explains, ‘I’d been photographing cyclists and runners who seem two-a-penny at this location when one of the local workers appeared. It was something different and my friend and I quickly spotted the potential. The vibrant trolley she was pushing caught my eye and I fired off several frames with my camera set to continuous burst mode as she approached the centre of the frame. I was jubilant when I reviewed the image on the camera and discovered I’d captured the stride of the worker centrally between the upright pillars. It was pure luck. I’m not a street photographer, but I am thrilled with the result.’
Helen’s final version of the image is a square crop from a shot that started out much wider. Over the past year or so Helen has got into the habit of posting a photograph every day to her Instagram feed and has taken a liking to the 1:1 aspect ratio. She went on to say, ‘I love a square crop. I look for squares all the time in my images and it’s amazing how many photographs I take end up being well suited to this format. This image initially started out as quite a wide shot to include much more of the amazing architecture and the man-made pool of water in the foreground, but uploading the shot to Instagram opened my eyes to cropping it much tighter.’
Very little post-processing work was carried out to create the final image, with Helen explaining: ‘I tinkered around with contrast and brightness in Lightroom, applied the square crop and removed some of the yellow tone. I finished it off by cleaning it up in Photoshop.’
Recognition of the photo, which came third in last year’s APOY competition as part of the City Life round, came as a bit of a surprise. She says, ‘I was chuffed to get a placement in APOY. I really didn’t think I had a chance. I’ve since won the Urban category in The Guild of Photographers Image of the Year competition with it and the image has been shortlisted in the Street category at the British Photography Awards.’
To capture the image Helen used her Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and trusty EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM standard zoom. She reveals, ‘I’ve been a loyal Canon user for years, owned many 5D-series models and love my Mark IV. Nothing beats the clarity you get out of it and I’ve found it brilliant for shooting landscapes and the Northern Lights in Iceland, which has to be one of my favourite places in the world to photograph. I’ve tried a few other cameras, but nothing seems to compare to my EOS 5D Mark IV, which I’ve become well accustomed to. It’s just so intuitive to use and dependable.’
Keen to keep pushing herself, Helen admits, ‘I’m not a professional photographer, far from it. I used to shoot a few weddings each year, but now take photos for my enjoyment rather than money. I have such hunger to take photographs everywhere I go and travel. I’ve created a list of locations I want to go and shoot, and I’m slowly ticking them off one by one. Anyone with a love for amazing architecture must visit Valencia.’
Helen has been taking photographs for over 20 years and lives in Buckinghamshire. She enjoys travelling the world with her camera and loves nothing more than sitting in the landscape over a period of time and capturing what she sees as it changes.
See more on her website or by following her on Instagram @helen_trust
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
At a glance
* £949-£1,849 body only (used condition)
* 30.4-million-pixel full-frame CMOS sensor
* ISO 50-102,400 (extended)
* 7fps continuous shooting
* 61-point AF system with 41 cross-type points
* Fixed 3.2in, 1,620k-dot touchscreen
Successor to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the Mark IV arrived in 2016. It introduced a raft of upgrades, including a 30.4MP CMOS sensor, wider ISO range, improved dynamic range, Dual Pixel CMOS AF to overcome sluggish live view focusing, and cinematic DCI 4K video at 30p.
It was also the first 5D model to feature Wi-Fi connectivity alongside built-in GPS. Dual card slots and a 900-shot battery life complement its extremely robust and weather-sealed body. What we said ‘For the enthusiast and pro looking for a great-performing all-rounder, the EOS 5D Mark IV ticks a lot of the right boxes.’
‘The sensor’s performance at high ISO, combined with its radically improved dynamic range, makes it markedly better than the EOS 5D Mark III.’ What to pay The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is still available to buy new (£2,787), however you can save a significant sum of money by choosing a used example.
MPB had 52 models on its website at the time of writing, with excellent condition examples with a shutter count around 30k fetching £1.849. Good condition models cost around £1,659, while well used and heavily used examples cost between £949 and £1,329.
MPB is the sponsor of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021