A few weeks ago I met architect Stephen Shoup of building Lab in San Francisco to photograph a new residential project. Stephen’s work has a very strong character that makes it instantly recognizable, but it also evolves over time, which is absolutely fascinating, and challenging, from a photographic standpoint.
For example, check out this stairwell:
And then compare it to this one I shot for Stephen back in 2013:
Natural wood, check. The thin metal rods that serve as a partial wall have morphed into high-tension wire, but the motif remains the same. Both stairwells have very strong graphical lines and both “make a statement” rather than receding into the background.
And this stairwell came with a little something extra…a playspace for the resident kid!
I could’ve spent the rest of the day doing nothing but composing shots on this structure, but we did have a few other things to shoot:
All in all, a fun day! More building Lab projects coming up, so don’t touch that dial!
Here’s an image that’s a good example of a technique I’ve been working on. I had both interior and exterior issues to deal with here. The outside areas ranged from blindingly bright concrete in the foreground (about f/3 billion) to the deep shadows in front of the rear structure. The interior was a good one and a half stops below my darkest exposure for the outside.
While this might have been a good candidate for a hand blend, I opted instead to shoot it as a 3-exposure Photomatix blend (I prefer Blends over HDR), and flash the interiors. Two lights were used, both of them SB-80s triggered by Pocket Wizards. One is directly behind the nearest vertical windowframe (those little video-tripod lightstands have tiny profiles) and is aimed straight into the room, with the Wide Angle Diffuser (WAD) lens down. The second light is bounced in from the right side. My exposures were -2, 0, +2, and the lights fired on all three.
After Photomatix did the blend, I layered in the darkest exposure to gain more detail in the foreground. I’m going to continue working on this technique, as it can really rescue a shot when there’s a serious time-of-day problem!