How easy was it to ‘Photoshop in’ the trees?

It’s strange. In picture terms, people’s perception of reality is often hampered by a literal interpretation. A camera never lies. I suppose this is debatable – the choices a photographer makes when creating an image  can distort  perspective in a particular scene. But this is usually intended to create interest rather than to misinform. Most of the time.

In 2009 I had a print exhibited in the Association of Photographers Open exhibition. A moody shot of St Paul’s Cathedral – unusual, but not controversial. Or so I thought.

View towards St Paul's Cathedral from Tate Modern
View towards St Paul's Cathedral from Tate Modern - Canon 5D MKII

“It must have taken ages to ‘Photoshop in’ the trees,” is the usual comment. It happened again yesterday.

“No, it’s one shot”.

“But there aren’t any trees next to St Paul’s Cathedral”.

“Look from The Tate Modern,” I reply. It sometimes takes a bit of explaining, and it isn’t always believed. Computer trickery is always assumed.

So this is how I did it.

St Paul's Cathedral taken from Tate Modern
view towards St Paul's Cathedral taken from Tate Modern, a few metres to the right of the original camera position. Camera - iPhone.

Technique – 50mm lens, Canon 5D MKII. I stood with my back to the coffee cart at the Millennium Bridge entrance of the Tate. Click. Simple!

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