A Melbourne based architectural photographer in Wales, UK
On a visit back to the UK, my parents who live in the pretty little village of Usk in Gwent, offered to take me to Cardiff Bay for the day. Located within the 4.7 acre site is the stunning Millennium Centre Wales building, of which I had seen many images online, but as an architectural photographer I was naturally keen to capture some views for myself; fortunately the staff in this lovely building are very tolerant of photographers, although no tripods are allowed. This meant that in certain areas I was pushing the ISO on the 5DSR up to 1600 – 3200, and while I could have removed most of the resulting noise in post production, the images being for personal use only I decided not to bother as I am still very pleased with how well the camera handles low light situations.
The building also offered me the opportunity to put my new Canon 11-24 f4 L lens through it’s paces while shooting architecture. I have used the lens on a couple of industrial shoots since acquiring it and have been incredibly impressed with the edge to edge sharpness and lovely colour rendition, but being a rectilinear design I really wanted to see just how well it handled distortion. My conclusion quite simply is that as long as the subject is parallel to the lens it is stunning, an absolute marvel of optical engineering and my compliments indeed to the Canon engineers. Of course as soon as you tilt up or down, then the subject distorts, but still looks very impressive.
The centre was designed by local architect Jonathon Adams from Percy Thomas Architects, with initial construction commencing in 2002. The architect’s concept was to make the building reflect the many different parts of Wales, embracing it’s ‘Welshness’ by using slate, metal, wood and glass materials all sourced from within the country. The building was officially opened in November 2004, and has featured as a backdrop to a number of locally produced television series such as Dr Who and Torchwood.
Of course I found myself wishing that the 11-24 could be made as a tilt shift lens as I absolutely love the angle of coverage if offers, and would really appreciate being able to keep the lines straight when I tilt the lens up, however I recognise that this is probably physically impossible… My one work around is to shoot in portrait mode and then crop the image, which is something that is easy to do when working with 50.6 million pixels that the 5DSR offers.
If you ever find yourself within the Cardiff area, I highly recommend visiting and perhaps enjoying a performance!