straight down the line

Sidewalk Safari

I found the noir safari challenge to be fairly difficult – not for lack of inspiration, but rather I had a hard time making sure that my photos captured the elements listed in the prompt. On the wet, rainy evening that I traversed about on my safari, there was no shortage of noir inspiration. However, I found that I had to really challenge myself to use my eye – and my camera – to really catch the elements of noir that I was searching for. I learned that noir visuals requires the photographer to do a lot of the work themselves in order to capture those elusive qualities. Here’s what I walked away with:

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I liked this photo for a few reasons, even though I think I stretched the bounds of the prompt a bit here – I think this offered a few noir qualities in a bit of a more indirect way. My favorite aspect of this is the geometric patterns throughout the photo. The window panes that frame the entire picture, as well as the metal bars on the staircases create some cool symmetrical patterns. The other aspect I really like is the contrast of light. It’s as though each square is lit differently, which I think creates a unique element and also captures the idea of lighting from one side. 

 

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I like the shadows in this picture a lot, especially after I edited to define the shadows more clearly and contrast them against the harsh street lights. As I played with the photo more, I like how the shadows casted by a group of trees was able to reshape almost and give the appearance of something else entirely. To me, as I began to see the shadows form something like a tangled web, I knew that I had captured an exciting dramatic effect.

 

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The minute I started off on my noir safari, I immediately saw what visual I wanted to capture as an example of “grittiness of built environment.” So many aspects of this picture contribute to that visual: the rusted, worn down bridge; the bland, rigidly structured brown building; the wet, dirty winter city street; and the sole, unlit streetlamp are all images that immediately stood out to me. 

 

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When I saw this spot during my walkabout, I knew it had an eerie feeling but in reality it was just someone’s home – nothing all that strange or ominous about it. However, once I snapped the picture, I knew it was perfect. Somehow – be it the single light above the dark, opaque door; the single, unlit lamppost; or the exposed brick – this visual just screams the moodiness and mysteriousness of noir. 

 

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Trying to find a visual that I could capture from a unique or non-typical angle was the hardest quality of noir visuals to find. I knew I wanted to capture it, but I kept thinking I needed to take photos upside down, which really isn’t the point. Additionally, I found it challenging because I wanted to keep the qualities of the visual as it would be looked at straight on. By that I simply mean I didn’t want the photo to be only about the weird angle. I think I captured that here fairly well. The minute I took the photo I became obsessed with the contrast of colors between the light yellow building and the dark blue sky. The black and white panels contrasting each other was a feature I didn’t even notice until I looked at the photo later.


 

This was a great challenge because it made me realize everything we see as we walk around during the day can be captured as some pretty amazing visuals. It was really cool that a walk I’ve taken at least a dozen times offered so many missed opportunities for cool pictures. I hope I can recognize visuals more often when I walk around.

 

Note: Title inspiration – 

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