Detail-on-Giant-Cauldron-Tiananmen-Square-Beijing-China

A giant cauldron in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

This photo features a detail of a dragon on a huge, brass cauldron within The Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

It's a fascinating location, particularly for anyone interested in architecture, the concept of space and the ability to move through space both within and between the various buildings and structures throughout this huge complex.

The shape and textural qualities inherent to the image suggested a black-and-white rendering was worth investigating. I employed Adobe Lightroom to process the original RAW file and applied a subtle warm/cool split tone to the image.

Now that it's open to the masses, The Forbidden City is a very busy place. My most recent visit was on a cold (-4C) day in January. Despite the brisk weather, the day was sunny and thousands of people, mostly Chinese tourists, moved through the complex in the few hours I was there. That many visitors can make it very hard to compose an architectural image that is free of people. Patience and good luck is required to get the image before one or more people move into your frame.

An alternative is to include people and use scale to illustrate the size of the buildings and vast areas of open space within the complex. In addition its often worthwhile making an effort to explore details on walls, doors, statues and the like. The image of a cauldron came out of frustration at having too many people moving, beyond my control, in and out of the frame. So, instead of continuing to wait I decided to begin to look for details within this monumental environment. To add a sense of abstraction I moved in close and then, through image processing on the desktop, converted the file into a split-toned black-and-white.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru