Monday, August 30, 2010

Bank of the West Building, downtown Sacramento

I recently had a shoot of the new Bank of the West Building in downtown Sacramento. The goal of the shoot was to get some good architectural elevations of the building in various lighting conditions.

I started out early in the morning, right at sunrise in order to try to catch a bit of sun on the face of the building. Unfortunately, the US Bank building across the street blocked most of the sun at that early hour. Still, I did manage to get a few decent views.

Bank of the West Building, Sacramento

I used my 24mm tilt/shift lens to correct the distortion that appears when you shoot tall buildings. It's a must have lens for professional architectural photography. The image above was one of the first images I took, and it's my overall favorite from the shoot.

Bank of the West Building, Sacramento

Still, the lighting wasn't the greatest in the morning because of the shadow the US Bank building cast. If I had come a week or tow earlier, I wouldn't have had that problem, but you do the shoot when you have to do it, and you make the best of the conditions you have. 

I had better luck lighting-wise when I came back after sunset to catch the building as its lights came on at dusk. The colors of the building and the sky were fantastic, and I was able to get some excellent angles. I used both my 24mm tilt/shift lens and my 17-40mm wide angle zoom to capture various angles.

Bank of the West Building, Sacramento

Bank of the West Building, Sacramento

Bank of the West Building and Wells Fargo Center, Sacramento

Bank of the West Building, Sacramento

Overall, this was a fun, easy shoot, and provided very satisfying images. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Studio Shoot for SunWest Foods

Last month I shot the full product line of rice and nuts for SunWest Foods in Davis.

SunWest nuts

They actually sent there entire product line (including 50 pound bags of rice) to my studio.

I shot everything from their full product line in a single shot (well, actually three shots stitched and blended together), to individual products, to loose nut products.

SunWest Product line

This was an interesting and difficult shoot. First of all, my studio isn't really big enough to have a bunch of 50 pound bags lying around for several weeks. Secondly, those bags are heavy and difficult to move around.

But the biggest problem with the big bags was the fact that they sagged when you stood them up for their portraits. So, for some of the shots, I laid the bags on the floor to smooth them out more.

SunWest sushi rice

Another approach I took for dealing with the wrinkles caused by sagging bags was to light the bags from several different angles and then merge the differently lit shots in Photoshop to minimize the shadows and glare. Though this was a bit labor intensive, it produced excellent results.

I had a little fun with a couple of shots, scattering loose rice around the product jar.

SunWest Harvest Medley Rice blend

Of course, after sitting in my studio for a couple of weeks, the 300 pounds of rice and nuts we had photographed couldn't be sold, so, with the permission of the folks at SunWest, we donated it all to the Chico Jesus Center. Here it is in the back of my truck ready to be delivered.

Rice to be donated to the Jesus Center

Although challenging in some ways, this was a successful and fulfilling shoot.