The more time I spend looking at photographs on TE and uploading some of my own miserable attempts at photography, the more I realise that the one outstanding quality of a good photograph is the lighting and the way in which the photographer has dealt with it.
This particular afternoon, as I was wandering through the streets of Oxford with some TE friends, I thought the lighting in this minor street near Corpus Christi and Merton Colleges was just sublime - the low warm afternoon light was striking the buildings on the north side of Merton Street beautifully as I looked back on the way we had come. If you are not impressed, it is because of my poor photography - I can assure you that the light at that time was indeed lovely!
Nothing much more to say about this picture, really, other than I liked the parked bicycles (a ubiquitous feature of Oxford) and the young lady with her camera, probably taking a far better picture than mine.
This is actually Merton Street and Magpie Lane (I loved that name!) is off to the right - you can barely read the road sign there - but you can see the map if you look at Map: view and, if you want to see a street-level view, you can look at this map and drag the little yellow man down to the red cross and pan around.
Critiques | Translate
macjake (57074) 2012-09-14 18:22
i tried leaving a 'reply' note on your last photo but it wouldn't let me...i'll try again later.
and yes, you're absolutely correct about the lighting!
what a world of difference it makes!
the bikes couldn't have been in a better spot for ya!
the only thing i dislike about flat walled buildings is the way light strikes it - its gets washed out, like the peachy pink building and there is really NOTHING you can do about it.
compared to the stone/brick buildings its night and day! we can see all the textures, same with the streets.
the light posts are another key element. very European.
Trust me, living here in Canada, these lamp posts are VERY european lol, and i love them.
emka (79926) 2012-09-14 22:30
hi Joh, How important is the light even I know, the good lighting changes everything, I can see it in my photos. Good photographer just notice it and take advantage of it. Haha, how modest you are. If you are so poor photographer what I should say about my abilities? I have just fun making photos :). it is nice light here and I like this composition very much. Not so much bikes in this place, human element present, nice architecture - every house different and attractive. And lovely lamp
posts. I looked at the map. I went this street, I suppose.
bayno (18342) 2012-09-14 23:52
the light and the perspective here are the protagonists, but I really like the architecture and its delicious shades, perfect square cut, excellent the inclusion of the girl and bicycles in the composition, it takes a keen eye to capture these beautiful situations, always excellent quality...
have a nice WE...
SNOOP_Chan (4201) 2012-09-15 2:04
Hello John, nice image here, lovely composed with the white building in the middle. Good sharpness on the shot. I love the old architecture.
MJR (3360) 2012-09-15 2:50
What a simple view, but yet one with so much to look at.
The pink walls stand out wonderfully against the many textured, many hued Cotswold stone surroundings, the bikes give a hint of student life, the lone photographer a hint of the tourist trade in town. And so on. ( Listing what the poster has already seen is another shortcoming of TE !! ) Perfect timing, or luck, would have had the latter character against the pink walls, I think, but we take what's given us...
Technically of course a competent user of modern equipment ought to be posting nothing less than a good photograph; what makes a great post is the eye behind the viewfinder, and the brain behind the eye.. ( The merits of light you have already referred to in your note )
And this amongst many stands out for vision of the beholder of the scene, and assessment of the potential within the scene. So, around about may be, but finally - GOOD JOB !
saxo042 (37578) 2012-09-15 5:48
I have to admit that I first use the yellow man to look around the street. I notice that the girl here is taking a picture of the church, against the sun. This is probably a better angle, agaist these old houses. The inclusion of the gir adds life and so does in fact also the addition of the three bikes.
timecapturer (49286) 2012-09-15 5:57
lovely shot of this wonderful street. Your angle and POV squash the perspective so attractively and there is no loss of detail. All the elements are here to make it such a classic and beautifully constructed image and of course the light is perfectly managed too! Beautiful work John!
Enjoy your weekend - Brian.
ACL1978 (7491) 2012-09-15 7:00
I've had the same thoughts, John - the simplest subject with the right lighting can look extraordinary - and the opposite remains true (I've had many a great subject made dull by poor lighting and my own inability to deal with it).
You show that quite well here, as you've taken a street that, while attractive, many might have passed by, and shown it to us in exquisite light that you've really managed perfectly. You've kept detail in the shadowed regions while letting the light shine off the stone work and white plaster of the buildings, the metal of the blue bikes that add great minor detail and the glass windows and lantern. Nice repetition on the peaked windows across the top as well.
holmertz (41753) 2012-09-15 8:07
I don't think the light could have lost very much of its loveliness in the process of going through your camera and computer before ending up on my monitor. It is still very attractive but would have been lost in a less attractive environment. These charming houses deserve a good light and have got it. And I like the bicycles too.
williewhistler (14611) 2012-09-15 12:23
Hello John,it`s not a bit of good having the right light if you don`t know how to use it,here you have taken full advantage to produce a most appealing shot in a gorgeous afternoon glow.
The square format is chocked full of the warm tones and fine detail of the impressive architecture.
The young lady and bicycles are the icing on a very pleasant cake.
Kind regards Les.
delpeoples (53167) 2012-09-15 21:48
Ciao caro Giovanni
I agree with you about light being so important in a photo generally and also about it being particularly beautiful in this photo. Your square frame has concentrated on the wonderful architecture. The exquisite building materials enhance the light so superbly, obviously the intention of those who designed and built this masterpiece. The bicycles, as you say, lined up against the wall provide a nice break in the scenery and also a good deal of graphism. And the addition of the little photgrapher adds a good touch of human interest. Beautiful work and nice spotting.
TopGeo (38204) 2012-09-16 8:01
Hello John! Excellent architecture photo, great framing and composition, excellent perspective! Great light management, beautiful colours despite the lateral lighting An image combined with a lovely note I think the main building gets the looks!
willperrett (7348) 2012-09-16 12:07
The bikes are certainly emblematic of the city, and you've done well to avoid the crowds (and traffic), while allowing a solitary figure to introduce a little life into the scene. Beautiful warm tones and subdued palette. Good work.
npecanhuk (66344) 2012-09-16 13:25
Very pleasant-looking and interesting urban environment with pretty attractive dfifferent façades!
Very beautiful picture with excellent sharpness, exposure, colors, chosen pov, large vertical format, slim black borders, contrasts and composition!
I love the presence of that tourist and, of course, of those three bikes!
TFS - congrats,
Ninello52 (7572) 2012-09-17 12:40
I love the photos (and paintings) with the architecture! Here is the beautiful POV, and nice choice of the cut! Beautiful three houses built in different styles, with different materials and different colors! So beautiful! Beautiful shot, nice even light, excellent detail and definition! Congratulations!
Best regards, Nino.
mkamionka (30694) 2012-09-17 12:44
you are completely right that the light is the most important for the type of photography which we like but you are also very modest about your contribution here. I have never been to Oxford but I believe I have seen plenty of photos from this town and yet your reportage seems quite different. It seems like a very different town to what I thought I knew about it before. You have a great eye to spot beautiful compositions.
I like the bikes here. I like the squeezed perspective. I like the dark sky as opposed to the well lit foreground.
The light is indeed very attractive and it make the view look very atmospheric,
annjackman (19937) 2012-09-17 21:25
I am so pleased that we found this street as it is a quieter part of busy Oxford. The combination of honey-coloured stone, the pink building and the bikes is lovely. I wish the photographer was either facing into the picture or not there but that is a very minor criticism. The directional light has given lovely shadows that has brought out fine detail in the walls and cobbled street.
Beautiful light and a beautiful picture!
Kind Regards, Ann
Tigerlily (3107) 2012-09-23 2:42
I love this image.. I like the POV, the light, texture, and the bikes..a kind of good feeling of a sunny afternoon.. You made me want to go there as well:-D.
A wonderful place to be..Have a nice Sunday, John.
SnapRJW (31469) 2012-11-14 22:27
Hello John - I think I must have missed this shot while I was in SA. I agree with you about the light here, it is lovely and brings out the textures and architectural detail in the beautiful old façades really well. Each of the buildings depicted here has its own style and beauty and they work so harmoniously together with the white one adding the essential contrast to the stone work. I like the blue bikes too, not only are they part and parcel of student life in Oxford the splash of contrasting colour adds interest to the shot. A wonderful peaceful corner. Did you see any Magpies? Warm regards Rosemary
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (20696)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-08-26
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, Hoya 77mm Pro1D UV(0)
- Exposure: f/11, 1/1000 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2012-09-14 17:12