I recently went through a phase of revisiting the work of Andreas Gursky and this is, in part, a nod to his style. I've also been thinking about J G Ballard's High Rise, and the images that conjures - this is part of a series of high rise images I intend to expand on.
There was a thunderstorm coming on, and I waited for the dusk to take this shot - this is the blue hour, and people are starting to turn on their lights. I kept an eye on these two buildings, waiting for the right light - during which time I had a lot of opportunity to get my vertical alignment and composition just right. As such, this image has had no rotation, and no crop.
Shot handheld from another high-rise bar, with the Helios 85mm f/1.5. This is, by all accounts, a portrait lens - however, there's a rumour that the lens started out as a Soviet spy satellite optic, and the same production line was then converted to making these unique lenses for civilian use. And when you stop this down from its famous bokeh-monster wide-open f/1.5 to something more reasonable, you begin to see why. It has a hard infinity focus stop, so you don't need to try to manually focus for this kind of distance, and it has almost zero distortion of any kind at smaller apertures - making it an excellent hidden gem of an architecture lens!
Editing: levels and curves to emphasise the colours, little bit of dodging and burning to bring out the stormy sky, cloning of a distracting security camera and some brighter elements right at the edges of the frame, healing some sensor hot spots and dust, and quite heavy noise reduction applied selectively in two parts, one to the sky and one to the rest of the scene, to deal with the high ISO noise.
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I just wonder why you had to shoot at such a high ISO? My interpretation from your notes is that you were using a tripod? In which case why not ISO 100 or a much lower one than the chosen one? The subject is static and lends itself fully to a long shutter speed.
Thanks for another great critique, Sid. This was shot handheld - the view was from a busy bar, with no possibility of setting up a tripod. Otherwise I'd have loved to shoot the scene at 100. It's a wonder the noise is as low as it is, at 6400 - with the thunderstorm and encroaching dusk, it was getting pretty dark.
Even before reading your excellent accompanying notes, thank you, the Gursky influence felt evident in your superb image. The detail is stunning, I can see why you are waxing lyrical about this lovely lens, you have persuaded me to search for one for my own use! I like that you have so patiently and carefully paid such crucial attention to the tiny but important detail that has enabled you to achieve the result in-camera with minimal post processing, this entirely mirrors my own attitude. I just wonder why you had to shoot at such a high ISO? My interpretation from your notes is that you were using a tripod? In which case why not ISO 100 or a much lower one than the chosen one? The subject is static and lends itself fully to a long shutter speed.