In search of the perfect curve

Light trails in traffic are an often-photographed subject. Tricky to get right however, because you won’t really know what the shape of the trail will be until after you have made the exposure. Some trial and error is needed, because properly composing and pre-visualizing the images is not easy if you don’t have all elements in view yet!

Finding a good location is essential, and it turns out that the 6th Street bridge over the railway in downtown Los Angeles is one of those spots. The road has a slight bend in it leading up to the bridge, leading to nicely curved light trails. On top of that, the frame of the bridge provides context and structure. Another plus: there are many buses and other high vehicles passing by that have lights at multiple heights.

And finally, I found that it is best to shoot light trails when it is not fully dark yet: it gives much more depth to the image if the sky still has some color.

Light trails in downtown Los Angeles

6th Street Bridge Series IV

Light trails in downtown Los Angeles

6th Street Bridge Series II

Light trails in downtown Los Angeles

6th Street Bridge Series VI

© 2011-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

Square abstracts

I love abstract photography. It liberates you from looking for what you are supposed to see, and lets you take your creativity where it wants to go. Today I thought I would share three black and white square abstracts.

Square aspect ratio photography is a great way to focus more on lines, which is what is being explored in these three images. They come from wildly varying locations with different lighting: a harbor wall on a rainy afternoon in Ireland, railway tracks at night in Los Angeles, and a church undergoing renovations lit by the sun through windows in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. Even so, the lines — some straight, some curved — provide a unifying theme.

Harbor detail on the Irish coast

Harbor Abstract II

Railway tracks in Los Angeles

Downtown Railway Tracks

Church detail in Dordrecht, Netherlands

Church Detail II

© 2010-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

I thought I would take the opportunity of Charlie Chaplin’s birthday today to post this image of his statue in the Bradbury Building, downtown Los Angeles.

Statue of Charlie Chaplin at the Bradley Building, Los Angeles

Charlie Chaplin

The Bradbury building is actually one of my favorite buildings in downtown LA, with incredible light inside, and a lot of old-glory charm. A must-see if you like cast iron railings! Especially lovely was this marble and iron staircase, catching some oblique light. It made me wonder about the stories of the people that must have ascended and descended these steps since the 1890s…

Staircase in the Bradley Building, Los Angeles

Stairs And Light

© 2010-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

City in motion

My last post showed some images that were quite static and motionless. Today I will bring you the opposite: images that illustrate the perpetual motion and activity in a city. These images were taken in the evening in the old city center of Zagreb, Croatia. The long exposure captures the movement of the trams zooming by, while still allowing some glimpses of the other side of the tram tracks and across the street.

The first image was taken from a point of view closest to the tracks (but not too close!) to give a real feel of action.

Long exposure photograph of a tram in the evening in Zagreb, Croatia

Evening Tram I

Moving away, using a larger focal distance, and having a slightly more perpendicular angle towards the tracks provided a little more background across the street, which added depth to the images.

Long exposure photograph of a tram in the evening in Zagreb, Croatia

Evening Tram II

Long exposure photograph of a tram in the evening in Zagreb, Croatia

Evening Tram III

Copyright © 2010-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

A quiet Cambridge

This is perhaps the best and most peaceful time of the year in the otherwise bustling and often jam-packed university town of Cambridge: Spring is arriving with some sunlight, the students have their Easter break, and the tourist buses haven’t arrived yet. The series of photographs in this post gives an impression of a quiet Jesus College. The lack of people and movement really allowed (and forced) me to focus on lines leading through the images, a very useful exercise.

Empty corridor in Jesus College, Cambridge

Empty II

Bench in Jesus College, Cambridge

Bench II

Overgrown court in Jesus College,  Cambridge

Overgrown I

Please Keep Off The Grass sign in Jesus College, Cambridge

Rules of Cambridge

Line of bicycles at Jesus College, Cambridge

Bicycles IV

Copyright © 2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.