End March I had the change to visit Berlin for a view days. Time for some cityscapes. Normally my photography takes preparation. Scouting locations, looking at angles of light at dusk and dawn, trying to imagine how an image would look like in specific circumstances. But going abroad on a far location makes this difficult, so what to do then. I do not want to end up just walking around and see what comes in front of the lens. Fortunately there is the internet these days.
What I did in preparation was first finding other images of Berling to see what are interesting points. It is not my idea to “copy” those images, but to my opinion, especially in a city, it is hard to find a place not photographed before and the purpose for me is to just give me an idea of what is possible. For the record, I do not think it wrong to shoot an image that has been taken before. If it gives you the joy of taking a specific image, just do it even if it has been done thousands of times before. After choosing some particular locations I use Google maps and weather charts to see what conditions, angles of light, timing of sunrise and sunsets, etc. I can expect. This leads to a shorter list of possibilities. Furthermore the internet is useful to see what places you can go to and which not. For instance I had the idea to visit the Reichstag building at the evening to shoot city lights. This is building is only accessible if you book a ticket in advance.
An other issue is that when traveling abroad is that when there you can not wait for the light. You just have to do with the circumstances as they are and make the best of it. Therefore it is good to prepare some alternatives in case the weather is not cooperating. During my visit the weather was not always cooperating. But his had the advantage to lie-in longer and I had to focus on evening and night photography. In a city with enough artificial light this often works well.
But however you try to prepare there are always things arising that cannot be thought of in front. For instance when I visited Berlin I was faced with Berlin being a gigantic building area. I stopped counting all the cranes so many blocking the views. I try to have my images as “clean” as possible, but in this case it was not possible. Photoshop then comes to the rescue. One of the nicest thing in photographing a city is that there is so much going on that there is no time to get bored in waiting for the light.
Looking back at what I have planned, I am very pleased with the images I have taken home. Not all things I had in my mind did work, but a lot did. So even when going to a city it is key to prepare otherwise you probably just end up with the standard tourist pics. But hey, didn’t I mention that this was alright as long as this is what you are coming for?