Sunday, September 27, 2009

Project 10

Munich is blessed with a wide variety of monumental architecture, frequently situated in wide open places to accentuate the grandeur of the subject.  For this project I selected a statue of Maximilian I Joseph, one of the kings of Bavaria, prior to Bavaria's inclusion as part of the modern state of Germany. As an aside the statue was put in place 10 years after he died, after he opposed it as he felt it was not regal enough!

The useful aspect of this statue is that it is situated in the middle of a large open square opposite the Residenz (Royal Palace) with the Opera house behind it and the old post office to the right.  I had a good 30m in which to work.  I started with a 200mm telephoto and then progressively moved in shortening the focal length.  In the sequence below I have included 3 images rather than 2, as the final image did not work, but illustrates a problem with very wide lenses.  At 200mm the statue is well proportioned and the background nearly fills the frame.  As I closed on the subject the background starts to recede as I am forced to tilt the camera upwards to fill the image.  At 38mm the statue has become much more dominant in the frame and the back lighting from the sky is starting to darken the image, I could have compensated better for this or used fill flash.  Beyond this I started to get too close to the subject to be able to frame the statue, at 17mm I was no more than 1m from the pedestal and the statue is no longer properly visible.  However, this is also an interesting image in its own right, the forced perspective giving the lion prominence and highlighting the detail around the base.  In each case I tried to keep the kings hand in the same position in the frame and include the pedestal.

For this subject the telephoto does the best job, providing a better proportioned image of the subject and enabling the architecture of the opera house to become a part of the image.  A better angle would work here, however, due to the upcoming Oktoberfest parade part of the platz was blocked by temporary seating.  The extreme wide angle of 17mm also creates a very dramatic image, but, again a better angle completely omitting the need to include the king would allow a better study of the lion and detail around the pedestal base.

My final image in this project shows the statue in its place in the Max-Joseph Platz, with a group of Chinese tourists having fun taking photo's!

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