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Looking up, down and back: Putting the see back in the city

August 19, 2009

One of my favourite bloggers Eric at Travel Blogs has just published an article I wrote on the topic of Slowing Down and Zooming In for Detail when visiting a new place. This is something I tend to do out of habit  and resonates through this blog. While writing this article a phrase I’d heard from a travel photographer kept repeating itself in my mind — look up, down and back. Photographers will no doubt understand this phrase, different viewpoints hold varying angles, light and new compositions. It also holds true when sightseeing particularly in the city.

Cities can bewilder and fluster even the most seasoned urbanite with their hectic pace, crazed peak hours and intimidating nature. Visitors become swept up in the motion to avoid being trampled, bury noses in maps or guidebooks to orientate, and taxi or bus to the main tourist sights for ease.  After the trip the boxes are ticked “yes I’ve been there and seen that”, photos are shared and discussed but little else is told about the city.

Unlike natural attractions, cities tend to be seen in a different mode — straightforward and focus. But do they have to be looked at differently compared with looking at canyon or the sights enjoyed while hiking a trail?  Mountain ranges encourage people to look up, high viewing platforms draw us to look down whether we want to or not; and panoramics make us look around including behind. We stand on tip toe, crook our necks, peer over railings even climb higher just to take that view in.

Putting the see back in the city

Chicago is a city that presents herself well to visitors, there is a friendly interaction between buildings and people who look up to appreciate the style, design and height. Like most cities, its quiet detail goes unnoticed unless you look down– coloured tiles on garden walls, bronze plaques embedded in pavements old styles of advertising.

by Cate

by Cate

by Cate

by Cate

 Even shadows can evoke:

by Cate

by Cate

Looking back sometimes for safety can capture a fresh point of view:

by Cate

by Cate

Weekends are better times for walking around cities at a slower pace and taking it all in.  A good time to stop and look around without worrying about being knocked down or standing in the way of  busy walkers. Of course it depends on which city you visit. Weekends in Asian cities are usually busy with shoppers and restaurant goers making the most of their free time. But in the US weekends in the city means virtual emptiness and –quiet.

I like Eric’s travel blog site it has a mix of forum discussions, a directory and some intersting stories written by travellers and bloggers.If you want to read my article on Slowing down and Zooming in check out Travel Blogs.

 Caffeinated Traveller

  1. August 19, 2009 11:30 am

    You do have a knack for presenting the big picture and then the detailed elements of that scene, often spinning around for the “fresh” perspective.
    Nicely written article, Cate.

    • August 19, 2009 12:06 pm

      Shucks thanks Heather 🙂

  2. August 19, 2009 7:28 pm

    Good post!! It always tell a different story if we look at a different angle. A macro view can bring us more surprise as well.

    It also applies to our daily life.

  3. August 20, 2009 5:34 am

    I love reading your articles and I’m loving this new layout! Larger pictures here!


  4. August 21, 2009 10:38 am

    Rainfield – yes macro is good and you’re right it does apply to our daily life. Nice thinking.

    Cheryl – Big pictures are good, although I did like having a darker background for the pictures. But this is much better.

  5. August 25, 2009 8:26 pm

    Slowing down and zooming in on detail can be a GREAT travel philosophy. And, as you’ve shown, a camera can be a great excuse to do that.

    • August 26, 2009 7:06 pm

      Cameras are good for making you focus. What’s your style Wil?

  6. September 1, 2009 8:23 am

    Great travel site for Asia, and the States.

    • September 1, 2009 9:27 pm

      Thanks Debra glad you enjoyed it.

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