Instant Inspiration (27) -Alternative Postcard Shot

1/20 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 100mm

“Instant Inspirations” is my series for you if you look for something to overcome “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried, or at least not recently. Episode 27 is for you, if you are tired of taking the same “postcard” photographs of famous attractions that everybody else shoots.

When in Berlin the other week, we stepped onto Alexanderplatz where the famous huge TV tower is situated. Affectionately called “Spargel”, with its height of 368 metres (including antenna) it is the tallest structure in Germany, and the second-tallest structure in the European Union! Located in Berlin Mitte, you can take a lift 207 meters up and have a 360 degree view of the German capital! On top there is also a bar and a restaurant where you can eat and enjoy the fantastic view while sitting!

First reflex would be to take a photo of the big tower, maybe combine it with the red Berlin City Hall or the bell tower of the Nikolai-Church. The Postcard Shots. Which of course I have taken as well during prior visits. There is nothing wrong with Postcard shots. Everybody back home would be disappointed if you don’t have the classic shot everybody knows from magazines and coffee table books. So take one. But then, to satisfy your creative genes, go look for slightly different perspectives. For some ideas continue after the jump….

1/25 sec – f/2 – ISO 500 – 12mm

Walk around the monument, crouch down, look up, tilt the camera, and I promise you, new, fresh perspectives will catch your eye. We were at the tower late in the evening, so the dark sky and the lit tower already provided for a look out of the ordinary. For the title image, I zoomed into the brightly lit sphere, which looked like a steel flower from below. For the above, more architectural shot I included one the spires of the tower’s base building and combined it with the tower itself. For both this shots I already at black and white in mind, for the contrast of the pitch black sky and the brightly lit structures.

0.4 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 41mm

This blurry shot I took by shooting the tower’s reflection through a puddle, then turning the image upside down in post-processing. I took it hand held, despite the 0.4 sec low shutter speed, but I didn’t mind a slight shake. I like the “artsy” look and the mute colors, also definitely not your usual image of the Berlin TV tower, but still easily recognizable for everyone who knows the famous structure, built in the 60’s as a national symbol of the GDR and now transformed into a citywide visible symbol of a reunited Berlin.

1/10 sec – f/2 – ISO 3200 – 12mm

The above more classic shot is in fact another puddle reflection, just zoomed out to a wide angle 12 mm focal length, with the added interest of the silhouette of a passing pedestrian.

1/13 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 100mm

My final shot is again a zoom of the sphere, taken through the branches of a tree, this time in color to show the bright red anti collision blinking lights as well as the needle-fine ceiling lights of the bar.

All photos taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-100mm F/4 Pro Zoom, all taken hand held.

So next time you want to do something against your photographers block or just want to try something new, take your camera, head out to a famous, often shot landmark near your house and take some unusual photographs of it. Go get your creative juices flowing.  You are invited to show your results by posting a link in the comment section. Go out and have fun!

Make sure to regularly check out my free Learning Center for all of my tips and inspirations around photography.

Have a great Sunday!


Related Posts:

Around the World in 12 Days – Tokyo Impressions

NYC Experience – Empire State Building

Instant Inspiration (22) – Variations on a Billboard

High Contrast Landscape Photography

26 thoughts on “Instant Inspiration (27) -Alternative Postcard Shot

Add yours

  1. Amazing images! Unique vantage point, geometry, b&w (my personal favorites) and, of course, Berlin, a unique, amazing city, itself. I hope I’ll visit Berlin again, sometime soon. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great perspectives Marcus! I’m always trying to see something in a new way (I don’t always nail it 😉 ) so that it doesn’t look like a copy image of everything else of the same location. That’s probably why I like landscapes so much. The light and clouds tend to change so much.

  3. WOW! What can I say! These are amazing shots, and certainly showing that fresh perspective. The angles, the contrast of mono and colour, and reflection. These images have it all.

  4. These are BRILLIANT, Marcus! Really brilliant. I love especially the “crossed” towers and the oversized shadow of the man — but the reversed puddle-shot is really arresting too. Marvelous work.

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