Editor’s Choice: The Beach Factory

Everybody loves shooting landscapes—especially beautiful natural landscapes. But these aren’t the only landscapes. You can also point your lens at cityscapes instead. Even a picture with smokestacks and factories in the background can be enchanting. Just like this one on Zonerama.

The basic idea behind cityscapes could be summed up like this: they use the same artistic and technical approaches as for natural landscapes, but instead of documenting nature, they document places reshaped by humans—typically in cities and industrial areas. This cityscape photo from Zonerama is a good example of this:

A typical cityscape photo. Photo: DKruithof
A typical cityscape photo. Photo: DKruithof

This photo perfectly captures the site’s atmosphere and reality. It’s textbook beach weather, and the shore’s full of people enjoying the water and warmth. The background’s made up of smokestacks and factories—that’s the industrial part of the picture.

Mildly tinting the photo towards yellow was a great choice. This yellowness gives the photo a summery atmosphere. The yellow and brownish hues are a great complement to what’s going on in the picture.

Framing and the Rule of Thirds

This photograph has almost perfect composition: the image is divided into a foreground and a background, which gives it depth. Meanwhile the background doesn’t stand out strongly, and so it doesn’t distract from the picture.

The photo’s subject is very nicely framed by the concrete blocks along the sides, and a long wharf divides the “factory” part from the “recreational” part.

This picture’s framing, made visible.
This picture’s framing, made visible.

But the bottom part could be cropped a little to make it so that the picture is divided precisely into thirds.

An ideally divided composition. The bottom part could be cropped a bit more to divide the picture into thirds.
An ideally divided composition. The bottom part could be cropped a bit more to divide the picture into thirds.

A Rose Among Thorns

You might imagine a seaside holiday more as something for a faraway beach with a crystal blue sea, but even a beach in an industrial zone can be a great topic for an interesting photo. Keep your eyes open, and you too can capture some contrast out there that isn’t apparent at first sight, and yet it will get your audience’s attention right away.

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AuthorMajo Elias

I’ve been taking pictures since 2004. When I was starting out, I photographed almost everything. Later my style solidified and I began photographing people almost exclusively. At the moment my main genres are fashion and advertising.

Comments (4)

  1. Majo, it would be a brave tour operator that included this image in its brochure.

    1. :)

  2. Surprise to see such a familiar image in your article! Thanks for the comments and advice. I have added a cropped version and a similar shot to the album.
    Terry B: there certainly weren’t much tourists to be seen on this beach; it was was typically a ‘praia’ visited and enjoyed by the locals of Porto and its neighbouring town and villages.

    1. Dick, thanks for the info. It came as a surprise to learn it was in Portugal. Somehow, I had visions it was an old Soviet holiday resort for the workers. Now this sounds like I am denigrating this location in Portugal, so I apologies wholeheartedly to any Portuguese who may take objection. I know I could find similar locations in the UK without to much searching.

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