Isolated by design

I’m a big fan of isolating just a bit of the world and making a graphic design out of it.  I was able to practice this some more whilst on a recent holiday to Madeira and Lisbon.  If you are photographing light-coloured buildings the bright sunlight means that it’s possible to get the blue of the sky really dark.

This is part of the roof of the visitor centre at the viewpoint for the Curral das Freiras (Valley of the Nuns) on Madeira.  I used a 300mm equivalent focal length lens in order to select just part of the concrete roof.  The texture of the concrete fills up the otherwise blank white area, and the shadow area under the apex makes a triangle the same size as the sky triangles.  The landscape view into the Curral was amazing, but that’s a much more conventional image.

I used the same technique on the famous Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument in Belém, Lisbon.  It’s covered in statues showing famous Portuguese explorers, but I was struck by the curving shapes that represent the sails of a caravel.  There was some attractive edge lighting that separated the curves from each other.  Once again the blue of the sky rendered very dark because of the intensity of the light.

This image is slightly different.  It’s not man-made but is a basalt column rising from the sea in Madeira.  It’s got the most extraordinarily rough surface, with sharp and jagged sections poking out all over it.  There’s all manner of faces in profile and other shapes that can be seen in it.  I converted it to black and white and increased the contrast.  All detail has been lost and it’s hard to tell if it’s a white thing with a black background or vice versa.

Images like this can be seen everywhere.  You just need to learn to look for them

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