Finding Patterns and Geometry in Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin Building Comparison

Ornate vs. Simple

I recently did a blog post on finding architectural abstracts in downtown Austin. This post, in many ways, is a continuation on the same theme. While the blog post mentioned above talked about small architectural details, this post looks at the buildings as a whole. I have an interest in architecture and since the architects work hard to make interesting designs, I try to find neat patterns and contrasts in these building facades.

These images were taken on a downtown photowalk where I usually try to take only a minimal amount of gear. All three of these images were taken with a small 35mm F2 prime (non-zoom) lens. Some people say, that using a non-zooming lens helps to improve photography composition skills. Not sure if this is true for everyone but it does seem to help me see details. As mentioned in a previous post, bringing only one small lens has the added benefit of allowing me to travel light. The 35mm lens on my Canon 7D is equivalent to 56mm in 35mm equivalents. This allows for a field of view similar to the normal human vision.

The first image is a study in texture contrast and also architectural contrast. The two buildings probably are separated with 100 years of development. Which do you like better, the old and grand or the new and towering? The next image is of the W Hotel Construction with an adjoining parking structure. The building on the left is an apartment building that is not part of the W Construction. The last image is of the 360 Condos at sunset. The golden color is from the setting sun and with some added color saturation. This condo building is currently the second tallest structure in Austin.

Some more building facades.

Austin W Hotel Construction

Condo Geometry

360 Condos - Downtown Austin Abstracts

Gold and Blue

My Thought Process

Image 1: I liked the detailed façade of this old building. It had a stately feel and a nice human scale, not towering over people like the new skyscrapers. The new building pictured in the background is across the street. I thought the two buildings would contrast nicely not only in photographic texture but also a nice contrast in architecture.

Image 2: I was drawn to the silver metallic look and the geometric square and rectangular shape of the building and windows. The image actually combines 3 different buildings. It was put on a tilt to add interest. The silver and blue façade nicely matched the blue skies.

Image 3: This image was a study in color contrast between the blues of the window and sky and the golden light of sunset. I also liked how the windows and terraces formed a nice repeating pattern.

Image Details

The 3 images were taken with a Canon 7D and Canon 35mm f2.0 prime lens. Taken as a 8MP JPEG.

Post processing in Apple’s Aperture 3 program included some sharpening, added some color saturation and a slight vignette, and creating the square crop.

Image 1: f3.2, 1/640 sec, no exposure compensation, ISO 100
Image 2: f10, 1/80 sec, no exposure compensation, ISO 100
Image 3: f2, 1/1000 sec, no exposure compensation, ISO 100

2 thoughts on “Finding Patterns and Geometry in Downtown Austin

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