Sunday, 11 September 2011

PnP Exercise 16: Exploring Function (ii)

Junfraujoch is a railway station/tourist attraction high up in the Alps between Monch and Jungfrau. Much of it is built inside the mountain, and it seemed to offer a number of opportunities for exploring the function of man-made structures.I considered using the railway station itself, but this felt a little ordinary – it’s location underground having little influence on its function. Similarly the various exhibitions and the ice sculpture display did not really seem to me to offer anything that I could not have found elsewhere.

The essence of the construction for me, apart from it’s height in the Alps, is the fact that most of it is underground and largely intended to move tourists from the station onto the mountains – which lead me to the idea of trying to capture a tunnel and the purpose of a tunnel.

Tunnel, Jungfraujoch

I like this composition for a number of reasons:

  • there is, quite literally, light at the end of the tunnel which leads your eye in the direction of travel
  • the converging lines on the floor and the diminishing scale of the blue lighting also lead your eye through the tunnel
  • I considered cropping the mass of rock on the right, but left it in because I feel it gives a sense of the solidity of the surroundings.
  • there is enough blur in the people to provide a sense of movement. Perhaps a little more blur in the people would have conveyed a greater sense of movement – but I would have had problems getting  the rest acceptably sharp given I was already hand-holding at 1/6:f/2.8:ISO1600.

Final thoughts

Initially I started this exercise intending to capture the function of the Junfraujoch complex, but I felt this was too much to ask of one shot. Instead I opted for a simpler approach – capturing the function of one part of it. In this way this pass at the exercise was perhaps easier than castle Unspunnen – but on the other hand I had considerably less photographic material to work with. Overall I’m satisfied with the shot.

The exercise itself has emphasised the importance of having an idea of what you want to capture and why before you press the shutter. Sometimes this will be obvious, sometimes it will take more thought, but in the two cases of posted here I’ve taken shots I would probably not have considered without that discipline.

Finally I think the comparison of this tunnel shot with the Castle Unspunnen shot shows the value of including people when demonstrating function. While the castle shot clearly gives an impression of strength and some impression of a dominant position, the reasons for those attributes is not clear whereas the actual purpose of the tunnel is much more obvious. A little of this may be due to the relatively simplicity of the concept for the tunnel but overall I hink the epople are the key difference.

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