milan amedeo gamber

Your photos, our favourites: ‘My City’

Using inspiration from our 24 hours on the Galata Bridge story, we challenged you to capture the diversity of a city during 24 hours and upload it to our Gallery’s ‘My City’ category. Out of the many excellent entries we received, we chose three images that best met the challenge and invited viewers to Come and See. Each photograph hints at a deeper story to be told and all show the diversity of their respective cities at a transitional time of day. We chatted more to the photographers who captured these images to find out more.

Lisbon’s Cais das Colunas by Carla Brito

We liked the colours and sense of time conveyed by this photo taken in Lisbon. Photographer Carla Brito explains more about the scene and how the shot came about.

“In the past, Lisbon’s Cais das Colunas was where visiting nobility arrived by boat. The marble steps stretched like a carpet on the bank of the river Tejo, and welcomed visitors to the Royal Palace. Today, the Cais das Colunas is a tourist spot. Thousands of people from different cultures and influences, residents or visitors walk by this place every day.

From the Cais das Colunas it’s now possible to see the Terreiro do Paço, the shuttle boats on the river, the city of Almada on the south bank, the monument of Cristo Rei and the bridge, 25 de Abril.

At the end of one winter’s day, I was walking and enjoying the scenery, when I decided to capture this image. The sun was setting and I got to immortalise the moment.

Getting the shot

To capture the image, I used backlighting combined with a short exposure. I wanted to capture silhouettes - the columns and the staircase, the people sitting and close to the water, the seagulls, the bridge and the Cristo Rei - and at the same time, the river and the sunset with a warm colour over blue sky on a cold day.

I set up the colour temperature to make it real and the exposure so as not to over-expose the sky and sub-expose the river. I got what I wanted, and seeing the result makes me want to revisit the place again and again.”

San Francisco by Mark Sherrat

We liked the changing light and perspective in this photo of San Francisco, taken by Mark Sherrat. He explains the story behind the shot.

“My wife and I were lucky enough to spend three months traveling around the United States. We stopped for a while in San Francisco and stayed with my brother and his girlfriend. They recommended heading up the Coit Tower, an art deco tower built in the 1930’s with great views. But we spent a little too long stuffing our faces with amazing food in China Town and hanging out with the hippies at the Hait and ended up leaving it a little late, so it was a race against time (and up one of the city's steepest hills) to try and get up there before it closed.

We made it with minutes to spare and once we got up to the top were rewarded with an amazing view and equally amazing light pouring over the city as the sun set.

Getting the shot

I immediately grabbed my camera and started rushing from window to window trying to get the best picture before the sun set completely. I was shooting on aperture priority mode and using a fairly small aperture to try to get plenty of depth of field. I had to be careful to get just the right amount of flare into the lens. All this while trying to squeeze past all the other people who were up at the top enjoying the sunset. As I looked at the pictures the next morning, this is the shot that really stood out. It’s a great combination of being at the right place at the right time with the right equipment to get a great shot of a famous city from a new angle.”

Milan by Amedeo Gamber

Amedeo’s photograph beautifully captures the sense of movement in a busy Milan street at night. Here he recounts the story behind the shot.

“I went to the popular street of Brera in the historical center of Milan to have dinner in a restaurant and I was very fascinated by the constant flow of people strolling along the old street.

The atmosphere was warm and alive and the contrast between the old buildings and the new LED street lights really caught my eye. So, I decided to take a photo that would communicate how I was feeling in that moment. Luckily, I had my Canon 650D, my “brightest” lens, a Canon 50mm f/1.4, and a tripod with me because I was going to take some photos after dinner.

The first time I tried to shoot standing with my tripod in a little square along the street but it was challenging because of the crowd around me. A lot of people looked at me as if I were an alien! So, I found a little and shady corner that was simply perfect for my photo. In that position, I could photograph a long row of lights that led the eye to the vanishing point in order to emphasise the perspective. The vanishing point was the point where the lights and the crowd match each other, too. Thanks to my position, I could also include the “Ristorante Pizzeria” written on the tent - an unmistakable symbol of an Italian city.

Getting the shot

In order to communicate the constant motion of the people, I tried to use a long exposure time. It needed to be long enough to make the people appear like ‘moving ghosts’ but at the same time, not too long to make the people invisible. So, after a few experimental shots, I found 3.2 seconds to be an acceptable exposure. I preferred to make the photo black and white to emphasise the shadows and the lights.

One of the peculiarities of this photo is that no one’s face is recognisable because either someone is shot from behind or someone else moved his face during the 3.2 seconds of exposure.

Through my shot, I hope to reveal the secret soul of Milan, a frenetic city where centuries of history blend with progress. It’s a living city which is always active and moving during the hot summer nights.

Share your photos

Thank you to everyone who shared photos of their city over 24 hours.
Every month we will have a new challenge so, grab your camera - whatever kind you have - get creative, and upload your photo for everyone to see. Come and see our new challenge and share your unique perspectives here.