Stone Steps in the City

High Dynamic Range Photo

HDR Tip #5

The week of HDR Tips continues with Rick Sammon. Today, I called mine, Tip #5, Don’t Forget the Zooms. I have haphazardly used the word “zoom” in a plural manner that is both irresponsible and confusing. But that’s the way I roll.

Daily Photo – Stone Steps in the City

How do you guys feel about hyper-manufactured situations like this?

I don’t always know what to think. There are a lot of urban areas like this around Beijing where they create little natural-looking areas. They certainly look cool, and perfect in many ways. But, perhaps it is a little too perfect. No, that’s not the right way to say it. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something doesn’t feel right about it. It’s almost because I can picture the designer deciding to put a tree in a certain spot or the selection of a certain shape of stone in another part. Maybe if the placement of items was truly accidental — true randomness — then it might look more natural.

But I see a lot of this in China. They have communities with giant apartment blocks. The new ones are all very modern and nice. And in the middle of them are fountains, small groves of trees, paths, swings, and everything. There are families out mucking about and enjoying it… but I wonder if it “feels” as funny to them as it does to me. I sometimes feel like I’m on a holodeck.

High Dynamic Range Photo

  • Susan

    Pretty shot Trey – love the lighting – I think it looks very inviting!

  • I know what you mean. It is not quite as satisfying finding compositions like this versus finding pleasing compositions in a truly natural setting (at least for a nature photographer). I do like the giant pink lavalamp though!

  • I think these manufactured environments are essential to balance the ever growing industrial and commercial areas that dominate large cities… I think many people would prefer a natural scene that is “too perfect” than not have one at all. That and if executed correctly, these areas can really compliment the surrounding architecture! For the sake of contrast, my latest upload is purely natural, no civilization as far as the eye can see!
    ‘Rainbow at the Routeburn’ β€”

  • Simon Morris

    Nice shot… I like the diversity of the round and uneven stones when compared to the straight lines of the buildings, excellent!
    Must admit, I’m attracted to these manufactured urban scenes… gives a break from the norm, especially in my case when predominantly photographing landscapes πŸ™‚

  • I think if it looks cool and doesn’t give me a headache (kind of like airport headaches) then it’s all good – great stuff!

  • Patrick Ahles

    Are you saying trees don’t grow perfectly aligned along footways like that? πŸ˜›

    Great shot, I like the colors!

  • Gail in Montana

    Wonderful photos, Trey!! I still love the one of Yellowstone River falls, you can’t beat that one!! And the one of Stone Steps in the City, just gorgeous!! How nice that they such beautiful places for families to enjoy. I agree with all of the above!! Thanks for sharing, have a wonderful Friday, everyone!! πŸ™‚

  • Really great point. These mini-oasis areas are nice within the city, but they definitely have a sterile feel about them. Great capture of the lights in this…seems to glow. You made it feel like a holodeck!

  • Eden makes a good point. I am retired from a city parks department. Landscaping is as much a form of art as photography. Green space is essential in urban environments. Both formal and natural landscapes have their place. It’s difficult to design a natural planting in such a small space as this and there are city requirements for a certain amount of paved walking space for the public. I like how the sidewalk has been broken, interspersed with turf instead of just being a solid chunk of concrete.

  • I think it looks cool! I am glad there is some greenery and not all cement in the city. Helps with cleaning the air, we need to see more of this. This sort of reminds me of the formal gardens in England that were also brought over to the US to places like The Gardens at Middleton Place near Charleston, SC. I love seeing greenery and flowers in both formal and natural settings. I’m sure the birds don’t mind if they are in a tree in a formal or natural setting. Better than sitting on a wire.

  • Thanks for the feedback — good stuff!

  • Beautiful shots. Almost feels like I’m in a dream or something πŸ˜€

  • Richard Jang

    Beautiful shot, and very honest analysis of the landscaping, and how the landscaping can affect much in people’s lives: families spending time together, the landscaping being maybe the closest thing to nature, yet is it the right thing?

    I wonder how us westerners approach nature and things like landscaping opposed to say the Japanese, or Chinese – and even to describe by race is too much of a generalisation, some are from older generations, or different areas which may not be as populated as say a large city like Beijing.

    Great picture, great post.

  • This makes me think of how the future would be if wild and free growing trees became extinct and they were only used for decoration. It somehow feels sterile.

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