Where Architectural Photography meets Real Estate Photography - A full sunrise to sunset shoot of a multimillion dollar Brooklyn brownstone from 2018Read More
Willoughby House, photographed in 2017 for owner Harley Courts, to show off his renovation work.Read More
Passion, like all fires, has to be carefully tended from the tiniest of embers. it has to be nurtured like a delicate sapling. If you demand a roaring blaze or the delicious fruits immediately, you’re going to destroy it.
I did.Read More
By: Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler
Sometimes I hunt around online or in books for beautiful buildings to photograph.
On one such hunt I came across Columbia University’s Medical Center and found some really beautiful pictures of it.
I wanted to give it my own shot, so one day after some client work on the upper west side, I decided to drive up and see if I could catch it at twilight. Benny Crown was with me, as he had assisted me with my shoot for UEG. We got lucky with a parking spot nearby, and then scouted around the building trying to get onto neighboring rooftops - to no avail.
So I found the best spot I could right in the driveway, looking straight at the building.
I kind of like the way the garage driveway looks. I keep thinking about the X-Men jet launching out of it.
I made the image out of just a few bracketed shots - in order to get detail in some of the darker areas of the image, I had to take a few where that light in the garage was incredibly bright.
By fusing them together in Photoshop, I was able to make this image, which I’m pretty happy with. I would have preferred that the lights be on in that one section that’s dark, but you don’t always get lucky with lights when you’re just popping by a building at night on chance.
Here’s a basic outline of steps:
Part 1 - In the field
Find the composition, which involved backing up in some bushes next to a sheer drop into an alley that I’m sure would have hurt a lot if I slipped.
Raise the camera as high as possible on the tripod.
Shift the lens up to get as much of the building as possible.
Shoot brackets from deepest darkness to brightest blinding lights.
Pack it up and get outta there.
Part 2 - Post
Combine the images in photoshop, from the darkest images used for the brightest lights - the garage, to the brightest images used for the darkest areas - concrete in the building facade and the bushes.
Replace the sky
Adjust color and tones, add a vignette, color cast, and other creative touches.
Fix the perspective
Part 3 - Share on the blog
Oh, that’s this part! Look, we’re here already. Hooray!
Got any burning questions about this photo, or any photography related questions? E-mail me.
More posts on Architecture Photography:
5 Quick, Easy Tips for better cellphone photos.Read More
To see where you’re going, it’s often best to look at where you’ve been. Take a look back into the archive with me and we’ll go over some pictures from my past and I’ll give you pointers on how they could be improved - Lean from my mistakes, and you won’t have to make them yourself.Read More
What’s the one thing that will improve your photos more than anything else, without spending a dime on equipment or tutorials? I’ve got you covered.Read More
I’m a big fan of Airbnb. I always love living just a little bit like a local when I’m visiting a new place. I almost always go hunting for an Airbnb to stay at instead of hotels, so I’m always excited to do a project where I get to help out an Airbnb owner.
In this case, it was a little 3 bedroom house in North Bergen, NJ, for a very friendly fellow who was kind enough to make me an espresso while I was in there photographing the place. Fortunately it was already well staged, so I didn’t have to spend much time moving things around, and instead got to focus on composition and light placement for each image.
What most surprised me was the level of precision and craftsmanship that went into the renovation, and it turned out that the owner did a lot of of the work himself. Very impressive. I remember one time I made a tile backsplash behind my stove, and let’s just say it did not come out quite so polished.
I had a really good time on this shoot - I spent 4 hours on site totally absorbed in making images and finished up with around 20 great ones - Here are some of my favorites.
By the way, scroll down past my images if you’re interested in seeing the “before” images of what the owner had posted before he hired me.
Tap on an image below to open lightbox, then you can rotate to landscape and swipe if on mobile.
Below are the images the owner had before he brought me in photograph his space. I’m really excited to see what impact this will have on his bookings. It’s a bit too soon to know now, but I’m going to check in a few months down the road and then in a year to see what return he gets year over year. The difference in images is pretty drastic, and I’ll bet the increase in bookings will reflect that. I’ll put an update here once I’ve got that data (it obviously won't be for a while).
In between large projects I like to visit the city and photograph apartments. Here are my February favorites.Read More
Deep down in the belly of Brooklyn, minutes from the water of Brighton Beach, lies a lone outpost of Uyghur Cuisine, the food from Xinjiang region of China along the border of Kazakstan.
Cafe Kashkar is named for the city of Kashgar, the westernmost city in China, just before the borders of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. It sits directly on the ancient Silk Road, making it a literal cultural crossroad from the far east of China to the world of the Turks and beyond.
I didn’t know all that at the time, so I missed out on the dish that most prominently displays that connection, Lagman. It’s a dish of hand pulled noodles topped with spicy lamb that for some reason is hidden under the “soup” heading on Kashkar’s unintuitive menu.
But don’t let the confusing menu or far-flung location stop you from adventuring out there. The food is amazing and transporting. Plus, you can always take a dip in the atlantic in the warmer months.
Kyle (above) is always trying to convince me to move to his little nook of NJ, so he tempts me by taking me on tours of all the spots he thinks I’ll enjoy.
He’s always right.
On a trip last year we did a tour of new hotels, restaurants, and bars in Asbury Park, which has seen some pretty radical revitalization. There are many incredible cocktails and delicious bites to be had there, and then you can go dip your toes in the ocean. Pretty amazing place.
Who said New Jersey was terrible?
Whoops, cat’s out of the bag.
Have you heard of Googie architecture?
You have if you ever watched The Jetsons, whose imaginary architecture borrowed heavily from real life Googie buildings just outside the animators’ studio. You might also have encountered while driving around Los Angeles, California, New Jersey (where I first discovered it in the form of the Caribbean Motel in Wildwood, among other examples), or, in the case of these images, Austin, Texas.
The style came to bear from post World War 2 futurism in the 50’s and 60’s. Americans has fresh optimism about the future and fantastic new technologies, along with money to burn.
Automobiles became common and everyone wanted to travel.
And what does the traveling soul need, but somewhere to stop, rest, and get a bite to eat?
In the east you’ll find toll roads and parkways aplenty with intentionally placed rest stops, which are wonderful all in their own right. Since moving to the Hudson Valley and exploring northern and western New York I’ve discovered some really amazing ones.
Way out west in California is the land of the freeway, where one is not on a guided tour but has the freedom to stop wherever they please. So if they can go anywhere, how do you get them to stop at your restaurant?
What if you made your building look CRAZY? Like NOTHING they’d ever seen before.
So that’s what they did. The result was wild, super futuristic architecture and signage.
Architectural Historian Alan Hess said “Googie made the future accessible to everyone… it wasn’t custom houses for wealthy people - it was for coffee shops, gas stations… the average buildings of everyday life”.
That last line got me thinking. I’m a big fan of residential architecture and really gorgeous homes, but a home like that really only exists for the person that owns it and their social circle they invite over. These other structures, though, coffee shops, gas stations, the other places of business and leisure - those are the places we all experience together that may go even further to define our lives than our own homes.
There’s something really special about so much thought and intention being put into making our communal spaces, our spaces that everyone lives in.
Sure, we don’t get as many buildings that look quite as crazy as this anymore, but there are still some marvels out there to discover, and wonderful new things being made every day.
I was cleaning off my hard drive last night, which I like to do to prepare for the new year, and came across this footage that I shot back on July 4th, 2018, as I was trying to get into vlogging. I was going to just delete it, but inside the video itself I talk about how I want this stuff to last and that tossing it out runs counter to making that happen. So I spent a little time putting the clips together and put it up. Hopefully many more to come.
What you need to know:
The best cheese steaks are, counterintuitively, at John’s Roast Beef in the middle of nowhere on 14 Snyder Avenue. It will blow your mind.
The two places covered in neon, Geno’s and Pat’s King of Steaks, are fun to behold rivals facing each other down across the street, but they’re both absolutely terrible. If you only have one philly cheese steak and it’s at either one of these, you’ve been horribly cheated.
Also, I don’t go to many shows, but Jojo Mayer and Nerve really rocked it. Would highly recommend you check them out.
When I was imagining what I would photograph in Austin, one of the things that felt iconic to me was neon signs. So I went out almost every day at twilight to hunt for some to photograph. Here’s a small selection from South 1st Street in the Bouldin neighborhood of south Austin.Read More
Big. Fat. Donuts.Read More
I organized a camping trip for National Hammock Day back in 2017.Read More
Black & White Photography at Bouldin Creek Cafe in AustinRead More
A short video of me and Regina picking apples, taking photos, and exploring Lake MinnewaskaRead More
My hunt for the best hot dog continued in Austin.Read More