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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Twenty Seven: Bringing far to near with the telephoto lens > Place de Brouckere, Brussels, Belgium, 2005
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Place de Brouckere, Brussels, Belgium, 2005

Place de Brouckere, Brussels, Belgium, 2005

In 1872, a design competition was held to encourage construction of architectural value around this busy Brussels square. Today, the winning designs have fallen victim to time and commerce. It is more lucrative for the building's owners to promote a Coke than to cherish Brussels' past. The sign is mounted on the top of a tall building. To be able to get this perspective, I had to stand at least a full city block away from the building. Yet I also needed to emphasize detail to stress the elegance of the deeply shadowed pediment and to compare the dynamic swoosh of the Coke logo to the perfection of the pediment’s classical triangle. The only solution is a very long focal length. I used the full length of my 432mm zoom lens to stress this detail. I then cropped the picture to retain only the bottom of the sign and the pediment of the building, using only the top half of my original image. This means that I would have had to use a focal length of 864mm to make this same image in an uncropped version. (I also had the option of using my “digital zoom” feature, which would have eliminated cropping the image later. However I never use that “digital zoom” feature because it just crops the picture in the camera, significantly degrading image quality. It’s always better to crop a picture in Photoshop, than to crop it in the camera!)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20
1/1000s f/5.6 at 72.0mm iso80 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original
Phil Douglis26-Feb-2006 21:13
I like your comment, Xin -- there is boastfulness in advertising. That is what ads do. Whereas the decorative statuary was intended to express the beauty and prestige of the architecture. Thank you for making this point.
Sheena Xin Liu26-Feb-2006 06:56
Phil, I love the way you squeeze the roof with the classical sculptures by the huge Coke log. It is the dramatic contrasts between modern commercialization and classical arts. However, somehow the former apparently assumes more space and boastfulness.
Phil Douglis27-Dec-2005 02:18
Thanks, Lara, for initiating the dialogue here. The telephoto lens can create juxtapositions that other lenses can't. In this case, it isolates and incongruously contrasts two architectural fragments, old and new, grand and crass.
Lara S27-Dec-2005 00:26
Two worlds colliding. What a shame.
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