A roofing client needed to show off his prowess with a project right on the waterfront. I was a perfect project for a quadcopter as you can see by these shots on a great day.
Author Archives: Eric
Equity Residential built this 40-story multi-family residence to capture some of the explosive growth in San Francisco. A colleague of mine wanted to get some drone video of the new building to augment his stills for the client. He and the client we’re interested mostly in getting the view from the tower to the Bay Bridge but we got quite a bit more.
It’s not the widest, it’s not the deepest and it’s not the longest but in all other respects, it is the Grand Canyon. I hadn’t been there since I was very young and as I had other business in Arizona, I leapt at the opportunity to get another viewing. In its typical manner, the park didn’t disappoint and was even surprising.
The South Rim has more amenities that I remember, replete with restaurants and shops but also had a very handy shuttle system to get you to all points of interest if you had already burnt out your legs on a hike. The paths we’re well kept complete with interactive exhibits and colorful information. I had forgotten that it is at 6,000 feet and we were even treated to a brief snow storm one evening making for some great photos the next day.
I tested out a consumer end 360° camera for a couple of shots. Just click and drag.
Dawn at Mather Point
Ranger program at Yavapai Point
View from Grandview Point
View from the Eastern end of the canyon
My photography colleague: Russell Abraham invited me to shoot video of the art installation at the new Warm Springs BART station in Fremont. Catherine Widgery is a renowned public sculpture artist with over 40 site specific installations in Canada and the United States. In this location, she created semi-translucent glass panels with tinted cells that abstractly integrate with and reflect the surrounding environment.
I incorporated some drone footage with standard video and animated some stills from Russell to create this video.
Parc Telegraph, San Francisco – Shot for Sun Valley Solar
Late last August the FAA finally came out with rules and an exam solely focused on the UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) otherwise called drones. This is called the Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate that allows non-pilots to legally fly for commercial work if you pass the exam and register the aircraft.
Parc Telegraph, San Francisco – Shot for Sun Valley Solar
I am proud to say that I have passed the exam, registered my quad copter and am now offering aerial services to my clients. This really expands the photographer’s toolbox. The quad copter offers angles that are impossible to get any other way. They are more cost effective than a helicopter and can fly from 1′ to 400′ to get the right perspective on your buildings and property. The quad copter features an integrated camera offering a live view while flying and can shoot camera-raw stills and 4k video.
My longest lasting architectural client Stephen Elbert, AIA had a wine bar remodel out in the West Portal neighborhood called Vin Debut. As per usual, it was a dark location with plenty of glass, mirrors and shiny stainless steel for those uncontrollable specular highlights. And just to make it extra special; it’s open 7/365 forcing an after-hours shoot.
However, Stephen did a wonderful job in designing the interior! Although it presents challenges, it’s quite a beautiful venue and I was honored to shoot it. Besides if it wasn’t a challenge he could just get anybody to shoot it. Stephen is a renowned photographer in his own right so he was familiar with the challenges. Fortunately for me Stephen acted as art director and did all the thankless work of staging the site which was no small feat.
These days I shoot with a number of speedlights for the additional lighting. They are light, battery powered and allow me to move through a space quickly. That turned out to be very helpful because there was a slight hiccup in the shoot; the owner couldn’t make it back that night to lock up. So we went from a 5-hour shoot to a 2-hour shoot. Fortunately, we were able to get the core shots we needed within that time frame with just a little sweat.
In the end I think, and more importantly, Stephen felt, we got it done.
More and more of my clients have been asking for video on their architectural shoots. I have been shooting video for years but it was always separate from the architectural still work. Fortunately, the equipment has progressed to the point where it is reasonably affordable. As a matter of fact, I now shoot both the stills and video on the same camera.
Video offers that sense of immediacy and presences that stills just don’t convey. Not only do objects in the frame have motion but the camera movement gives an ever changing perspective on the space.
Internet broadband now easily supports large format video and having them on your site actually increases your organic Google ranking -they love video as rich media content.
Below is a sample we did on an Olson Kundig remodel of a classic Mid-Century Modern house in the Berkeley Hills.
Please contact me for more information about architectural video.
Occasionally, I’ll get the odd call to shoot a still life in my studio in Jack London Square. Although it’s small it’s surprisingly versatile. We’ve shot as large as a 3-piece furniture set there.
I got an unusual call from a local voice over talent; Michael Saunders. He is redesigning his website and wanted some photographs to act as wall paper (the page background). We kicked around a couple of ideas until we alighted upon a desktop motif. He brought over some of his gear and we set up a mock VO desk set up.
We wanted an overhead as if the talent was looking down upon the table. In order to make the background as unobtrusive as possible we went with a dark, muted tones and very softly lit approach. We took some of his gear, script, cell phone, pencils, etc. and artfully formed a fulcrum in the center.
We spent quite a bit of time rearranging the objects with micro-movements but eventually we got it to where we both said “Yeah, that’s it”.
It was a fun shoot and Michael was great to work with.
A friend and I were aching for years to get to Yosemite during the Winter. Fortunately, the El Niño of this year brought much needed rain and snow to the Sierra. So we hastily planned a three-day excursion. Winter in Yosemite is a completely different experience than in the other seasons. It’s almost what I would consider “uncrowded” -certainly by Summer standards. The Valley which is normally choked with smoke from the RV campers is nonexistent as the campgrounds are closed. And, if you listen hard, there are actually sounds of nature that can be heard in the Valley. Although it wasn’t really blanketed with snow, there were still many beautiful snow scenes to be had. We couldn’t have gotten luckier weather-wise, we arrived just upon the clearing of a storm and had two exquisite days of High Sierra sun.
For years I had pretty much skipped Oregon in my West Coast travels. I would fly directly from California to Washington or points further north. It wasn’t an intentional slight; I just didn’t know better! However, upon hearing a friend’s mesmerizing description of the amazing beauty described one night at dinner, a trip was planned within the week.
We took the route up Highway five with a long overdue stop in Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Then on to the Coastal Dunes, Salem and Portland, not forgetting the Columbia River Gorge. Then out to Bend, Crater Lake and finally one last stop at Mt. Shasta on the way back. It was a very enjoyable road trip -but 10 days is woefully too short a time for such a beautiful State and we’ve vowed to return.
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