Being locked into a spot or angle, forces one to focus more on other variables to make interesting images to tell a story. Sports photographers static in a baseline spot or photo well know this for fact.
If nothing else, photographing downtown Edmonton Out My Window has really sharpened my composition — particularily framing a subject or adding context. Being surrounded by high rises, it is often shadows or buildings framing subjects, objects adding in necessary context, or nature acting as a border all on its own at times.
Facing north visually lays tall sharp lines of shadows on the downtown canvas that move across the streets and sidewalks of 101A Ave and Rice Howard Way. Using these shadows to frame subjects is a long boring process, but rather rewarding when it all comes together.
Despite Edmonton being one of the most concrete cities in Canada, we do have 17 trees downtown, and I’ve used damn near every single one at some point to frame subjects. The first photo below get’s the party started using shadows and trees to frame the lunch breakers, then it is nature doing all the work.
Buildings & Objects
From the high vantage point, a number of objects and buildings are available for backdrops or to frame a subject so the eye knows what the focus of the image is and draws the viewer there.
As shown in the image above, not only the buildings and limited nature in downtown Edmonton can act as a frame for a photo subject. The pattern of the brick adds another layer to the canvas and adds to the isolation of a subject.
These are just a few examples of the ways one can force themselves into a box, in order to build a new skill. Again, being locked in my downtown condo for a couple years during a global pandemic has made me a better photographer.
Just the other day I was talking to a DJ at Cypherwild and he noted MCs that didn’t like being restricted by not being able to swear at their Churchill Square battles, but argued it forced them to be better MC’s. That exact same principle applies here. Sometimes being locked in a box of creativity fosters the most actual creativity.