Rephotography 101 - find your spot

March 17, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I'm re-photographing the Hobart Town photos for the book. This year will be all about the book.

Replicating an old photo is a fun but yet sometimes challenging experience. The most important aspect is obviously finding the right spot. I carefully line up features like the tops of old buildings with distant hills or other old buildings. This also involves camera height as well. Even being a few centimetres out can change things.

I have this iPhone app called Repro. It allows me to overlay the original photo while using the camera in the phone.

936 - Elizabeth Street (overlay version in RePro)936 - Elizabeth Street (overlay version in RePro)

This app is really handy for getting close to the spot. It won't get you 100% on the spot as you can't change the camera settings while in overlay mode.

Once the spot is found, then focal length is next. The wrong lens will also make the replication look wrong. I tend to pick a wider angle prime lens, because then I can digitally crop later to try and match the original.

Next we have timing. I study the photo and look at foliage and shadow angles to try and work out time of year and time of day. Finally I try and pick a day that's similar in weather. Overcast days are typically common.

Finally I'll take many photos - especially if there are cars or people so I can get a shot with a similar character to the original. If there's a prominent object (e.g. a tram in the city) then I'll wait for a modern bus to be in the same spot.

 


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