Everyone has that one magical moment in their life that changes everything. Mine was when I got my first DSLR camera.
Once I got my camera, I had to find interesting things to shoot. Downtown Vancouver is a popular place for photography and for good reasons too. From Yaletown to Coal Harbour, photographers have many opportunities to take some amazing photos. By experimenting here, I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when taking pictures.
I began taking photos with an iPhone in the summer of 2017 and started improving my skills. I recently bought a DSLR camera and I became a beginner again because it’s been six years since I’ve last used something other than my phone to take photos.
These are some of the first photos I took. The upgrade from my iPhone is quite insane because you see exactly what I saw with my eyes. Unlike on a phone camera, the landscape is clear and up close instead of diminished and far away.
I took the photo above with landscape mode on my camera. I like how clear the images are and how much detail they show. You can see the variety of colour in the windows from turquoise to dark blue, and the ripples of sunlight on the building.
Photography is considered art and like with any piece of art, you need to find ways to make your art different than others because people will be tired of seeing the same thing over and over again on their Instagram feed.
Out of all of the places in downtown Vancouver, my favourite has to be Coal Harbour, which is a neighbourhood on the waterfront. Walking down the streets feels unreal because the buildings are skyscrapers and I don’t have that where I live. There is also Harbour Green Park, which although small, still offers a lot of beauty. It has a view of the iconic mountains that Vancouver is known for as well as a view of Stanley Park which is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Vancouver. Although Harbour Green Park can be extremely crowded sometimes, it’s worth a visit, especially during sunset.
Vancouver is known to be a cloudy and rainy city, and those cloudy views of the ocean and mountains get old over time. But if it’s sunny, you have so many opportunities to take some unique photos. On the day I took this set of photos, it was typically cloudy Vancouver weather, but I did my best.
For this photo I tried to focus on a single object that stood out from the background. The distance between this railing and the area behind it, created an opportunity to make the railing jump out from the image. I find that focus is very important in photography.
I tried to take this photo from an interesting angle, but it is an example where my experiment was not successful. The boats in the background are pulling attention away and the angle isn’t level. This would require some editing to correct. I like the angle on the bench with its perspective lines but I could have better positioned the two arm rails relative to each other.
While I’m on the topic of taking pictures from interesting angles, the photo above has to be my favourite. It is just aesthetically pleasing. The thing I like the most about it is the way you see the same details twice — clear in the phone picture and extremely blurred in the background. On the phone, you can see farther into the depth of the scene, so it makes for a kind of illusion.
These birds weren’t afraid of me, somehow. I guess they get fed by tourists a lot. What I like about this picture is that it is mostly black and white but not quite.
This image is my least favourite that I’ve taken in a while. I don’t like how the background isn’t blurred enough. To take a good photo with a blurred background, you have to make the camera really focus on the object. You can either zoom in with the lens or you can physically move closer to the object. In every camera there is an option to choose which part of an object you want to focus on. But there are also different ways to access that feature. You will have to do some research on how to do that depending on your camera.
Of course Vancouver had to turn into Raincouver. Rain adds a very interesting effect to photos but it depends on where you are. I was luckily near the water when it started raining, making the photo have a nice visual effect. I find it interesting how the smallest things can completely change the way photos can look.
Downtown Vancouver is beautiful, so go get your camera and start shooting the beauty of both nature and city life together.
Cover Image: B. Knight