Photographing Cityscapes — A City Mouse Perspective by Jacqueline A. Sheen

I am a city mouse; there is no get­ting around it. Not for me get­ting up in the predawn hours to drive for hours out to coun­try vis­tas wait­ing for the per­fect sun­rise. No. My milieu is the city. I live uptown and love it here. I walk just about every­where I go. I encounter inter­est­ing char­ac­ters almost daily and the bus­tle of rush hour makes my heart flut­ter just a lit­tle. When I leave the city, upon return­ing, the moment I see the city sky­line in the dis­tance my heart races just a lit­tle with the feel­ing one gets when they know they will soon see an old love once again.

Calgary Cityscape by Jacqueline A. Sheen

Cal­gary Cityscape by Jacque­line A. Sheen

Cal­gary is not a big city although it suf­fers a bit from urban sprawl. It sits nicely on the prairies, where the Bow River runs through it. The CPR rail­way also runs through the down­town core. This is a vibrant, wealthy city, that was built on a ‚“can do‚ pio­neer spirit.

Calgary‚„s many sky­scrap­ers afford some won­der­ful sky­line pho­tog­ra­phy. Because the city core runs east to west along the core, some really won­der­ful late day pho­tos can be had from the west­ern side of down­town fac­ing east. The glass tow­ers lit­er­ally glow pink and gold. The down­town core itself is located near the riverbed in a bit of a val­ley, which makes for some awe­some van­tage points both at river level and from higher van­tage points.

When pho­tograph­ing the city, I walk every­where. It is not really much dif­fer­ent than land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy in that respect. To see, really see what you are look­ing at, you have to slow down. I try to pho­to­graph the city in a way that shows off its beauty but at the same time, shows it in a way that the com­mon com­muter may not notice in their race to get down­town. Look up. Did you notice the clas­sic art deco styling on that old build­ing? ‚Did you see those gar­goyles way high up on another?

Cal­gary is blessed in that the down­town core is vibrant and alive. There is an active arts com­mu­nity and there is much pub­lic and pri­vate funded art. The photo above shows a por­tion of a large sculp­ture that graces the side­walk in front of one of the ‚“Oil Tow­ers‚ down­town. It looks like a styl­ized dinosaur skele­ton, which makes sense as all the oil reserves come from ‚“dinosaur bones‚ so to speak. Although the own­ers of the sculp­ture may not like my use of it to frame a sky­scraper other than their own, when I saw the photo, the title came imme­di­ately to mind. ‚“This City was Built On Dinosaur Bones.‚

Jacque­line A. Sheen is a pho­tog­ra­pher liv­ing in Cal­gary Alberta, Canada. You can check out more of her work at and she also goes by the han­dle JAS_Photo on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum.


  1. Randy Romano says:

    Also like mak­ing archi­tec­tural images. There is some­thing amaz­ing about man’s abil­ity to cre­ate such inter­est­ing build­ings. That being said I also like mak­ing land­scape pho­tos. I think nature images and man made archi­tec­tural images can be suc­cess­fully enjoyed as we live in a large landscape.

  2. jimmy brown says:

    Hey city mouse,I really enjoyed your writ­ing and the “Cal­gary Cityscape” photo. I wish I was a city mouse but I’m a coun­try mouse at heart! I look for­ward to more of your won­der­ful pho­tog­ra­phy — jimmy

  3. Wicked Dark says:

    2 city pho­tog­ra­pher women in one day. good work.

Speak Your Mind