1500 Mt. Diablo Boulevard

A new client: Mark Davis Design, hired me to shoot a project of his, located at the corner of Mt. Diablo Blvd. and Main street in Walnut Creek. It’s a beautiful new building with retail and restaurants.  As beautiful as it is, it presented a number of challenges to photograph it.

First, the common area inside consisted of a three-story starirway. This striking wood and metal staircase is located in narrow, vertical channel sharing space with an elevator that leads to the restaurants. The illumination of the staircase comes from a combination of a cluster of long pendant incandescents hung 10-30 feet from the ceiling and a vertical window rising almost as high, directly across from it. This extreme verticality and narrowness posed problems in getting a good view of the staircase and overall space. Therefore, we decided to depict it in a number of photographs including some Dutch (oblique) angles I wouldn’t normally shoot as an architectural photographer. In the end, I think we were able to catch enough views to get a sense of the space and show off a lot of the details involved.

The exteriors too were a bit of a challenge. Mount Diablo and Main is a very busy intersection, both for cars and for pedestrian traffic. In addition, the building is about a block long on the Mount Diablo side making it a long clear for the sidewalk. We overcame this my shooting multiple exposures from the same tripod-mounted position and painted out the pedestrians and cars that were in our way. As if that were not enough, the umbrellas on the rooftop were being blown around by gusts wind -almost all of them had to be corrected in post.

Finally, the twilight shots were towards the Northwest and the sky was a milky, overexposed mess so we did a complete sky replacement in post to give us the look and feel we felt worked for the building.

Although it required a bit more work and planning, the shots turned out very well. Sometimes architectural photography can become more of a problem-solving exercise than an art.

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