Canon PhotoPlus Feature – Issue 100.

I was delighted to be asked to provide a second Pro/Apprentice Workshop for Canon PhotoPlus Magazine. This time around the brief was to photograph architecture in a European city of my choosing along with an ‘apprentice’ for the day.

I was also informed by the editor that the magazine was being completely revamped to celebrate its 100th edition so this shoot had to deliver a 10 page spread as the centrepiece for the forthcoming launch. No pressure then!

Valencia it is …..

So after some deliberation over possible destinations we agreed on Valencia, or more specifically ‘The City of Arts & Sciences’. If you’re already familiar with my work you’ll know that this is a location I’ve enjoyed photographing previously.

The Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (as it’s called in Valencia) is a sprawling leisure and entertainment complex on the outskirts of the ‘Old Town’, designed by world renowned Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. It features some spectacular modern architecture and provides a feast of photographic opportunities by day and by night.

A perfect choice for a productive shoot and a safe bet for a successful day. What could possibly go wrong eh?

Fast Forward >>

An early alarm call and it’s down to the hotel lobby with all our kit to meet and greet with Kyle, the ‘Apprentice’ for the day. Anxieties over my inability to speak any coherent Spanish (and not much coherent English at that time of the morning) soon disappeared, as it turned out that Kyle is actually an American, living and working as a videographer in Valencia…..first result of the day! Handshakes and introductions over, we set off to work.

L’Hemisfèric and Palau de les Arts at the City of Arts & Sciences, Valencia.

Don’t Panic!

A casual 5 minute stroll from our nearby hotel and we arrived at our location to set up for first light. On all my previous visits at this time of day the whole place had been beautifully illuminated, twinkling like the proverbial Christmas Tree.

Sadly, not on this occasion, austerity measures appear to have put an end to all but essential off peak lighting, not to mention my planned opening shot!

Disappointing, but no need to worry, I had a Plan B up my sleeve…. We headed up further to the Palau de les Arts building but then as we got nearer I have to admit that my heart sank. I could hardly believe what I was seeing, the mightily impressive monster of the whole show (and my Plan B) was undergoing some major renovation work and was clad from head to toe in scaffolding….argghh!

This wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped, not only was it now unphotographable (is that even a word?) but it was going to be an eyesore in many of the other compositions due to its humungous scale and location.

Things Can Only Get Better

And thankfully they did. After a quick rethink we hotfooted it down to the Assut de l’Or Bridge just as daylight was breaking. Kyle was using a Canon 5DMKIII (as I was) and was already proficient with his set up which made the technical aspects easier and quicker to explain. 

The magnificent Palau de les Arts – pre scaffold!

We had more good fortune with the weather, it was a very still morning with no ripples in the surrounding shallow water pools, perfect for capturing some stunning reflections.

After trying a few different compositions Kyle settled on this as his opening shot:

…..and this one of the Science Museum followed shortly after.

And So It Goes

We spent the rest of the morning exploring other areas of the complex, finding different viewpoints and angles for Kyle to consider, while sharing plenty of tips and techniques along the way.

Following a well earned mandatory siesta we reconvened late afternoon and continued through to sunset, capturing more shots to be used for the feature.

In Print

And so to the finished article, as you can see we managed to capture some cracking images over the course of the day, objectives met, we all retired happy.

Finally, a BIG thanks to Kyle for being such great company and making this a really enjoyable and successful day.

See more of my images from The City of Arts & Sciences here.

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