Where Russian Robots are born

I love how even the most touristic cities have amazing places that actually very few people know about! Take for example the Russian State Scientific Center for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics in Saint Petersburg with its outstanding architecture. Located right next to the city largest park (Sosnovka) in the vicinity of the Polytechnic University, it is just a few minutes walk away from the Politekhnicheskaya metro station in the northern part of town.  Designed by the Architects B. I. Artiushin and S. V. Savin, its construction started as early as 1973 and it was completed in 1986.

I actually discovered the existence of this place by chance, a few days before I was heading to “Peter”, through a Facebook post of a great architecture photographer: Roberto Conte. I am unable to find the picture he took of this very building (reflected in a pool of water) on his website, but, believe me, it was stunning! So I decided to go and “have a go myself” at trying to capture this interesting shape.

Spring was already in full swing, so there was no snow on the ground to complement the white of the building, nor any water from the melting. Unfortunately the writing on the grass (which celebrates the 80th anniversary of the district) was still a bit sad, as the flowers I am sure had been planted had not yet grown. On the other hand, I was rewarded by a very, very windy day, which turned the sky into this deep blue with white, curvy cloudy stripes.

The picture above was shot with an ultra-ultrawide lens (12mm on full frame) and that is also why the cloudy stripes look so curvy.

Photo tip: when you shoot with a wide, ultra wide or ultra-ultrawide lens it is very important to keep the camera as level as you can. That is because the keystone effect will be exacerbated by the short focal length. Straight lines will tend to stay straight near the centre of the frame and will become curvier and curvier as you move toward the edges. This problem can either be fixed in post (Lightroom has a fantastic 1-click correction for most lenses on the market) or by buying a low distortion lens in the first place. For the picture above I went with the first option and I just included a lot of “useless” foreground in the frame (which I later cropped out) not to have to tilt my camera. On the other hand there is a new lens in my wish-list: the ZERO DISTORTION Laowa 12mm. At the time of writing their website is undergoing maintenance, so here’s a link to an in-depth review on Imaging Resource.






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