Broken Symmetry

The headquarters of the Russian Defence Ministry is one of the most square and symmetrical buildings you are likely to ever see. Built by Soviet architect Led Rudnev  (a leading practitioner of Stalinist architecture and also the creator of the Main building of Moscow State University), with its burly, squat, squared impression and size, I think it immediately gives an impression of the soviet army structure and role in USSR.

During the Christmas festivities, if you look at it from the other side of the Moskva river, it’s symmetry is broken by a huge Christmas tree. I have no idea if this is done on purpose or not, but I like to think that it symbolises through this “broken symmetry” that at Christmas time the building, and the whole Defence Ministry don’t want to look too “scary” and/or stiff. The tree might look small in the picture (and in reference to the building behind it), but it is actually huge and a good three or four stories high.

Photo tip! There is waaaaay too much light pollution in Moscow to see stars in the sky, even in the clearest of nights. But when it’s overcast oftentimes slow clouds reflect the city lights and turn a very interesting purple hue. The picture above was taken at f 8, two seconds exposure. I decided not too use too long an exposure because the river is actually flowing and the “icebergs” on the surface are slowly moving. It is such a slow movement that in order for them to be completely (motion) blurred, it would require an exposure of (very) many minutes and then it might still look somehow weird and unnatural. With two seconds they are still pretty sharp and you can clearly tell what they are. Extra bonus: with a (relatively) shorter shutter speed you can keep your f-stop at around f 8, to get the best possible sharpness, before diffraction kicks in at f 16- f 22 (depending on your sensor resolution). You can see this picture much larger and in much better quality, with lamp post sunstars and all, at The World Photos.

Are you coming to Russia and you’d like to participate in a photo walk to go and take picture of interesting places? Get in touch and we’ll make it happen!

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