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.