Detroit, Michigan: Much “Mo” To Motown

Take a photo tour through Detroit and visit the many sites the city has to offer.

This photo was made in the Polar Passage, in the Detroit Zoo’s Arctic exhibit. The object of the boys’ excitement is the sight of the polar bear in the upper left corner. Talk about timing for a grab shot! The kids never knew I was behind them.

This kind of shot requires the use of fill flash. All the ambient lighting came from the scene in front of the viewers, and a second shot without flash rendered all the figures in black silhouette. The ambient light sets the basic exposure, and the flash was adjusted to deliver an equal amount of light.

All this has to be preset before you start shooting, if you want to capture moments like this. No time for fiddling …

Nothing too artistic about this shot, taken close to the zebra enclosure at the Detroit Zoo … but who could resist photographing a tourist wearing exactly the same colors and patterns as the zebras in the background?

The subject is looking into the picture, as he should be, and even the parallel lines of the fence add to the ‘repetition of line or pattern’ aspect of the composition. Fill flash of one f-stop less than ambient was used here, to lighten the shadows.

This image was made in the Polar Passage, in the Detroit Zoo’s Arctic exhibit, and shows the underwater view of swimming polar bears, as well as good dynamic action on the part of the viewers. (The stance of the photographer in the photo, with his elbows flapping in the breeze, is not recommended!)

Most of the light in the area comes from the pool, and the sun shining through it. I set my flash to deliver 1 f-stop less light than the ambient, to bring out detail in the shadows, and made sure I was not shooting directly at the glass of the enclosure.

This image was made in the Polar Passage, in the Detroit Zoo’s Arctic exhibit. It makes a good illustrative travel shot, with lots of dynamic action from the viewers, who are excited by watching polar bears swimming over their heads. A bit of fill flash helped lighten up the shadows caused by top lighting.

I’ve encountered this type of “viewing position” on a few occasions, where aquaria provide them to put visitors “right in with the fish”… the first being in Cuba. However, it adds a certain piquance to the experience when the fish are half-ton polar bears …

The wonderful fluorescent light of early evening illuminates this crowd scene at the Detroit baseball stadium. This kind of image is called an “establishing shot” in editorial parlance, to illustrate the overall scene, and set the stage for other closeups. Note the inclusion of the sign at the upper left, which makes this image “destination specific” – it tells you where you are!

I used a 24mm lens for this photo, but if I returned, I’d try the same shot with a newly – acquired fisheye lens.

The world’s largest electronic billboard, at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit, can be read in the finest detail from the far reaches of this huge baseball stadium, and can reproduce photographic quality of players’ portraits.

It’s this kind of detail, when photographing an event or area, that helps round out your “photo essay” of a place, making it more complete a “visit” for your viewers. The trick is to mentally make a list of all the visual experiences with which a visitor would come away. In this case a crowd scene, the billboard, and views of the stadium entrance. Possible closeups might include a player dashing into home plate, vendors hawking hot dogs and beer, a referee arguing with a team manager, and so on.

Pay attention to your photography, and not who is primed for a home run…


By Michael Goldstein

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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