JAKARTA STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: NATIONAL MONUMENT (MONAS)

National Monument is an open area with a 132 m height Tower and located right in the middle of Jakarta city. The National Monument of Republic Indonesia (We call it “Monas”) built to commemorate the┬ástruggle for Indonesian independence (Wikipedia). First opened at 1975, so this spot is quite a historic place in Jakarta.

National Monument area. Jakarta, 2018.

Currently Monas is one of my most favourite spot to hunting scene for street photography in Jakarta, easily match Sunda Kelapa Harbour (Read here), and actually even better, because Monument National is located in the heart of city (easier to access and has safer environment).

National Monument area, 2018

Here are some factors that made me “fall in love” to keep shooting street in this spot for many times:

Silhouette

National Monument area, 2018

Thanks to open space area, I would consider it is not hard to get silhouette shots here. Bright sky and strong sun are our best friends to create silhouette effect. Try to shoot from low angle and use sky as our background, everything in front of our lens will become silhouette.

National Monument area, 2018

In fact, a lot of my silhouette shots came from this place. Be creative and do not just shot “plain” subject as silhouette. See if any person with unique outfit or accessories with them. Umbrella and bicycle (because everyone can rent it) are common things to see here, use them as our benefit.

Shadow

National Monument area, 2018

Same like silhouette, big open space will “invite” shadow to appear everywhere. Especially between 3pm – 6pm time. Search subject’s shadow with unique gesture or shape.

National Monument area, 2018

As what I wrote in my previous post (Create Artistic Image from Object Around Us), I like to shoot on shiny surface area (example: shiny floor), and with help of Sun’s strong light then I am able to blend texture (of floor), shadow (of subjects), and golden colour (of Sun) to create an image that looks like a painting (Read here for Photography is Art of Painting)

Geometry

Scale. National Monument, 2018.

National Monument itself is a magnificent tower, and if we stand on the certain spot then we easily can use geometry line to create a stronger photo. Always remember about diagonal composition (Read here) when shooting geometry to create a dynamic effect in our image.

National Monument, 2018

Combine geometry with scale to show how tiny size a person compare to Monas itself. Use geometry line as based of our composition, treat these lines as most important object and a person as a complementary object. To create even stronger looks, pay extra attention to people’s gesture.

National Monument indoor area, 2018

Not only outdoor, we also can use many building’s lines at indoor area to create dynamic looks with geometry.

Golden hour time

National Monument area, 2018

As a big open space, by nature sun plays big role in this place. Shooting at golden hour time (both early morning or late afternoon) definitely give us most beautiful sky colours.

National Monument, 2018

Focus to create photograph with sky as background, pay attention to people’s gesture, and if we can not get a clean background surface (like photo above, there are buildings as background), then be creative and shoot layer. Make sure each objects do not overlap one to each other

National Monument area, 2018

Not just beautiful golden colour, but we can get even more creative by “hunting” sunstar effect at golden hour time. To create sunstar, use smaller aperture (f/8 or smaller) and set our camera at certain angle till we can see the sun flare. Also, we can use any objects (put them between our camera and Sun) to cover only slight part of the Sun, and automatically sunstar will appear.

Purple Hour: A moment right after sunset, but before sky become completely dark. National Monument area, 2018.

This is how I use my vision and imagination to perceive National Monument in Jakarta city. Definitely a great spot to photograph and even till now I still love to keep shooting in Monas to create beautiful visual art.

Keep shooting and stay inspired,

Nico Harold