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The Scenic Ruination Sympathy Thread

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by richiebee, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. richiebee

    richiebee Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    St. John's, NL, Canada
    Anyone else live in a picturesque city where every image you take is ruined by a feature of modern day living like overhead power lines? I live in such a city. The downtown houses are so colourful and very picture worthy. My city is built on a huge hard rock (Newfoundland is actually known as "The Rock"), and its not possible/practical to bury power and other cables underground.

    Just looking for sympathy or maybe a group of the afflicted.


    • Like Like x 1
  2. I feel your pain about the overhead lines; we have no good reason for them where I live, and after a broken line left us without power at the height of summer (with, it should be noted, a 3-month-old baby in the house), I am quite righteously sick of them.

    I do try to work with them rather than against them photographically, though. I don't think this picture is particularly hurt by the power lines in the background:

    View attachment 148508

    And I think this picture is greatly helped by the power line in the bokeh to the upper-left:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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  3. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I live in Phila, Pa...USA.
    The thing is to incorporate those items into your images. We are a product of civilatizion. Mans effect on the environment is what makes interesting images.
    Mans effect on man, is the Human Condition.
    You can't escape either. So, just work with the reality your in and make it work.
    It's not an easy task but then that's why we call it work.
    I think your lucky. I'd love to have some time in your home town. But alas, Philly is my place.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. richiebee

    richiebee Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    St. John's, NL, Canada
    So much for sympathy :rofl:

    Thanks for reminding me that its a challenge, not a nuisance.

    By the way, my city is not pretty. More historic (just in case you're all booking your flights to St. John's to take pictures of this beautiful city)...
    • Like Like x 1
  5. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    I used to think that things like cars in images were a pain and sort of ruined the scene. With time I noticed that the old car in the photograph can bring joy to many people. When people look at them it is not the super church that they notice, it is the old Ford Cortina that they sat in the back of as a child and so on. Now I tend to not concentrate on the sights. Ill turn my camera towards traders or tourists, there are a ton of good photographs of Notre Dame say and I don't feel that I have anything to add to that canon of work.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    I live in Washington state, where every utility company places power lines in front of every scenic mountain, lake, and sea vista. Given the choice between the "scenic" side of the road and the "non-scenic" they ALWAYS have the wires on the scenic side. =\
  7. Gwendal

    Gwendal Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 6, 2010
    For what it's worth, some random thoughts :

    1) Just for the record : part of my job implies getting those lines to be hidden/cut/removed/put underground etc. And one thing I can tell you : it takes half an hour and an underpaid subcontractor to put one in place, it takes weeks of efforts for all sorts of people to remove it...

    2) I used to think like you, now I would rather see them as interesting compositional tools - all those nice, very straight lines... alternatively, some have very interesting ways of running along the front of a building, etc. It's best, in a sense, in cities with tramways, where you can get amazing patterns of overhead cables crisscrossing the blue sky (photos to follow)

    3) you can always Photoshop out those that really ruin the image

    4) somehow what buggers me most is not those power lines, but the invasive amount of advertising

    5) it's always interesting to travel a bit - as a French, I'm delighted when I go to Italy because they made such a great effort to conserve their inner cities without too much advertisements all over the walls. Also, for such simple things as the bottom of water pipes from the gutters (can't remember the exact technical term in English), they will add an animal shape in wrought iron that will "metamorphose" it into a nice little artisan's work

    6) one of the things I intend to do is, conversely, to shoot focusing on precisely those "warts" that stick out - the ubiquitous surveillance cameras for instance. It's also interesting to see how architects, more and more, manage to integrate power lines and such into their work - not hiding it any more, or suffering it, but recognizing it as a constraint that has to be integrated in the general design

    7) finally : power lines will probably go the way billboards of fifty years ago did - from a visual nuisance, through decay and degradation, until they remain as a testimony of yesteryear. If you are sensible to it, there can be some beauty on an old building's façade covered in random cables, that you can see as scars on the face of an old soldier ;-)
    • Like Like x 2
  8. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    I left them in this shot because it's such classic Venetian subject matter in the foreground, I wanted people who saw it to realize that's not where we actually were:

    View attachment 148798

    (Not a perfect photo, but I was in pain and shaking and I'm glad I got something even if it is unintentionally off-center.)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Your image has perfect eye travel. Start a new thread with it and I'll go into detail. I don't want to go off topic even if it isn't off topic...
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Michael E

    Michael E Mu-43 Rookie

    May 1, 2010
    Crawley England
    Last year I spent a couple of weeks driving around the New England region [USA] trying to take pictures of the autumn foliage. As time was limited, most shots had to be from the roadside or a short walk. It was almost impossible. Roadside power cables everywhere, and 90% of scenic views trashed. Churches enveloped in dazzling autumn leaves - and power cables. It was a frustrating holiday for me.
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