A colleague of mine hired me to shoot some video of a new refurbishment of a Berkeley house that was being converted into apartments. It presented some issues in that it was unfurnished and had very little light of its own. However, the budget didn’t call for a lot of lighting and all three units needed to be completed in a day. So I took a single LED fixture and my fluid head tripod and just did the minimum in movements to capture the spaces.
Stephen Dalton Architects
Not all beach houses have to be located right at the beach. Although this modernist-inspired, 2300sf, 3 bedroom/3 bath house is about 6 blocks from the Pacific, it sports those amenities specific to the beach house including an outdoor shower. Its design is a light and airy open plan with a central steel and wood staircase which forms the separating element between the spaces. The living room features a tall ceiling, a fireplace and a sliding panel to conceal the TV. But by far the stand out feature in this room is the large glass-paneled swing out garage door which maximizes the seamless indoor/outdoor experience common with modernist design. Stephen used “volumetric projections” to create a composition of rectilinear masses to avoid flat, boring walls. The downstairs spaces are further separated by changes in ceiling heights, elevations of the flooring and some sliding African mahogany panels rather than doors or walls. In concert with the owners, Stephen concentrated on using reasonably priced and durable materials such as concrete, stucco and fiber cement panels which are virtually maintenance free. The interior is a tasteful combination of cedar, maple, birch, steel, drywall, concrete and unpainted, formed cement. The owners did it right by completely clearing the old structure, building up the lot with additional soil and starting from scratch. As a result, everything is square and all the doors have a neutral swing. A new build allowed them to incorporate some of the small extras which really enhance the experience like recessed lighting, built-in sound and data system, laundry shoots and casework. Other features include a separate arts and crafts space and guest house. It also doesn’t hurt to have a roof deck with a view of the entire La Jolla Bay. This is a great case study in a casual San Diego Modernist beach house design.
It was my first total eclipse and it lived up to the hype! At 10:18 am day turned to night from our vantage point on the soccer field at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, OR. Although the real dark shadow lasted about 30 seconds, it was quite a spectacle on this picture perfect day.
For photo geeks, here’s the tech data for the shot: ISO 640, 560mm, F/8, 1/250th second with no filter. This image is cropped in quite a bit.
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.
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 leaped 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 were 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 snowstorm 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 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.
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