Looking for Scenes from Above


After photographing sunrise from the roof of my hotel in Havana I began looking around from my high vantage point for something else of interest. I spotted the fellow in the balcony who was hanging out watching the activity on the street below. For my photos that focused on the upper level of the building, the single human element contrasted nicely with the surrounding architecture. As I worked the scene I used him as the anchor for many of my compositions.


In the second photo I particularly like the arrangement of the people. Not only is the balcony guy looking at the people below, but their position allowed me to arrange them on the diagonal which works great for the flow of the image. Also, the second image offers more storytelling because of the additional people. Whereas the first photo is just about the guy being the element that is "different" in an otherwise architectural photograph.


Last, we shift to just the activity at the shop - I guess I finally got tired of balcony guy. Though some things remain the same. See the diagonal connection between the laundry and the people?  In addition, take a look back at the three photos and notice the main elements that I use: balcony guy, shop people and the laundry. Each photo contains two out of three. With small changes to composition, and using horizontal and vertical orientations, I created three distinct images.

Whether you are photographing a wall (like from a couple posts ago) or people from across a rooftop, spending some time with your subject allows you to explore different compositions and enables a scene to develop.