Photographing Nature in the Urban Environment

A stand of trees amongst the stone and glass of the Shell building on the corner of Flinders and Spring Streets in Melbourne, Australia

Here’s a photo I made that explores the notion of nature in the urban environment. It’s a somewhat post modern scene featuring a small section of the Shell Building on the corner of Flinders and Spring Streets in Melbourne, Australia.

I think it’s beautiful, though the notion of trees coming out of rock is pretty surreal. While that concept works in Angkor Wat, Cambodia my preference, in my own neck of the woods, is for grass. And that’s particularly true in the city.

Melbourne has beautiful and expansive parks surrounding the Central Business District, but very little of the natural world exists inside the city itself.

For years folks have pleaded for some grass, amongst all the concrete.

What Are Your Photos About?

Other than the obvious social commentary regarding our need for even a semblance of nature in our daily lives, be that trees in concrete or calendars on our walls, I like the image because it’s really a study of line, surface and texture.

 
Flowers by the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

About To Travel?

 

photography And The Art of Seeing

I think it's useful trying to avoid understanding things simply through the process of identification (e.g., tree, stone, glass and pebbles).

We may well be hard wired to do so, but I find it far more interesting connecting with images in a very different way.

In this case the photo at the top of this post is also about elements of composition such as line, shape and texture.

However, I'm hoping this photo also elicits an emotive response and perhaps suggests interpretations that are less than obvious.

 

This tree in Quarries Park is about 200 meters from my place of residence in Clifton Hill, a northern suburb of Melbourne.

 

The Power Of Emotion In Photography

Making images that connect, on an emotional level, is what matters most.

If you’re an enthusiast photographer there’s little satisfaction in folks telling you how sharp or well exposed your photos are.

Heartfelt comments that describe how people are inspired by the photos you make is the kind of feedback that matters most. Wouldn’t you agree?

Subject Matter - Yada, Yada, Yada

There’s just so much more to photography than subject matter. Sometimes it’s the least most important aspect of the photograph.

As a case in point the great Ansel Adams made photos that, to my mind, are much more about weather and the luminous qualities of light than they are about mountains, lakes and trees.

I believe that understanding the photography of luminaries such as Ansel Adams in this way takes the viewing experience to another level entirely.

More and more, what we seek in our life, is a heightened level of experience. This is true for our relationships, domestic and cosmic, and for the way we experience the world around us.

The growing trend for experiencial travel is a perfect example of this desire. For me photography and travel are the vehicles my which I’m able to tap into the world around me in a deeper and more experiential way.

I wish you well in your future travels, be they overseas or around your own neighbourhood.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru