Happy 88th Birthday, Mary Guy

A lovely detail from the recently restored ground floor arcade at the Nicholas Building, Swanston Street, Melbourne.

My dear old mum, Mary Guy, celebrated her 88 birthday a week ago today. I wanted to take this opportunity to express my undying love and devotion to my mum, the first and greatest influence in my life.

Given the nostalgic sense with which we often look back on our lives I thought I’d post a photo, made last week with the new Sony a7R II camera, of a detail from the iconic Nicholas Building in the Melbourne CBD. 

Finding Beauty Through History

Commission by Alfred Nicholas, the inventor of Aspro, this 9 floor structure was built just one year before my mothers birth.

The building is a hub of artist studios and quite unique fashion designers. There’s even one shop that sells buttons: thousands of them.

The above photo features a detail from a lighting well that’s the major feature of the ground floor arcade. It’s described as a lead-lighted roofed and fan-lighted arcade, the only remaining example in Melbourne.

Fortunately the ceiling has been renovated over recent times. Isn’t it wonderful how this renovation has renewed these tiny treasures. Only a month or so ago this ceiling was dirty and had none of the vibrant color and texture visible today.

Achieving Good White Balance

If you visit be aware that, during daylight hours, you’ll be working under a mix of daylight and artificial light. Play around with your camera’s white balance until you achieve an acceptable result. Failing that, try a black and white rendering which would be well suited to compositions that explore the shapes and textures within the unique lighting well.

Photographing The Nicholas Building

Above all else, be aware that this is a public place and that there are retailers trading within the arcade. Do your best to make your photos quickly and be sure not to be impeding anyone’s progress through the arcade. I made the above photo, hand-held at ISO 800 with a Shutter Speed of 1/60 second at f8 with the marvelous Sony a7R II camera and the Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f4 lens.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru