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How to take photos of architecture on your travels

The addition the Royal Ontario Museum offers a chance to take interesting architecture photos. Toronto, Ontario - 20070603 -- Crystal -Museum-goers tour inside the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, a $270 million addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, following its unveiling concert Saturday, June 2, 2007. Photo by Tim Fraser for The Globe and Mail (For News story by , News

Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

Last week, in the series How I Shot My Summer Vacation, professional photographer Tim Fraser taught us how to take colourful night pictures. This week, it's all about architecture.

Architecture photography is precise. It is thoughtful. It is evocative, exaggerated and challenging. At its core, it's about taking something truly iconic and transcending it into something not yet seen yet still familiar.

To do this, photographers must strive for a unique angle or perfect symmetry, and hope for those chance moments when the light or sky accentuates the building's design. All these things together can breathe new life into something people see every day, and create a new appreciation for something that deserves to be appreciated.

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Put your camera on a tripod. Align it at your most desired angle, then wait and watch, as a scene unfolds in all its order or chaos. Or take your camera off that tripod and do what professional photographers were taught to do: Shoot around it. Put on a wide-angle lens and exaggerate curves and arches, or back way up to find a long-lens angle that contrasts the unique and the mundane. Force yourself to think differently, see differently, and above all, explore.

You can apply these same principles to shooting cities as well. Cities are giant seas of architecture and design: Watch and observe with your camera how differently designed buildings mesh against one another. Or get outside the city and find an open spot to capture a breathtaking panorama.

Go a step further. You would be surprised to discover how inexpensive it is to rent a Cesna plane with a pilot and do a one-hour flyover.

Local flying clubs and smaller airports allow chartered flights all the time. You may pay $200 and up, but the view of a dense city from the air is something spectacular, and you'll thank your camera – and your pilot – for taking you somewhere you've never been before.

To see last week's gallery, and to send your vacation architecture photos, go to tgam.ca/photo-desk. Our favourite will be published next Friday (preference will be given to photos taken during the week of the call-out) on the Pictures and Prophecies page in Globe Life. Next up: landmarks.

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