O.K., it may not be as glamorous as shooting professional models or as fast paced as breaking news events but photographing real estate can be very rewarding. I used to have to lug my studio lights to make each interior look its best but by using the latest High Dynamic Range shooting methods, I don’t even have to bring a flash. Of course, even with plenty of automation, I’m still spending more time behind the computer than during the shoot but the results are incredible. I recently shot a beautiful home in the foothills with an indoor swimming pool and adjacent game room. The challenge, like in so many situations is to compress the wide range of exposure and color values into one natural image. The game room, despite the roof lighting, was quite dark and the pool room and outside very bright. The first shot is the base image that correctly exposes for the highlights and the one below is the final that is a composite of about 7 images blended together.
Local visionaries decided to give the big stock agencies a run for their money. After years of planning, Student Stock has taken flight and is well on the way to becoming the next major resource for innovative images. This was a very graphics intensive production and much of the work went into the concept development and communication with the client so that the end product was precisely what they wanted.
A friend of ours, Dennis Gulla, is an experienced dog and exotic animal trainer. He recently moved out to California, in part, to assist with the relocation of the Barry Kirshner Wildlife Foundation facilities. The owner and operator is his wife’s aunt, Roberta Kirshner, who graciously allowed Dennis and his daughter to give my wife and I a private tour of the new facility today prior to its opening to the public. Many of the exotic animals cared for at the Foundation are former (and current) “actors” such as Nyla, a Sumatran Tigress who was the commercial Exxon tiger. Other big cats have recently appeared on the Jay Leno Show and soon on Konan O’Brien. These are wonderful animals that are well-loved and cared for.
Of course I couldn’t resist taking at least a still camera with me.
For the past several years, I’ve been working under contract providing both photography and videography for one of the country’s largest water infrastructure projects. The Freeport Water Authority is a joint agency that has been coordinating the development and construction of an intake facility and pipeline that will provide both the greater Sacramento area and East Bay Municipal Water District customers with new access to fresh water from the Sacramento River.
Today was the ribbon cutting and grand opening featuring speeches from local, state and national dignitaries. In fact, if anyone was counting I think there were about 14 speakers. Yes, this was a big deal and the media coverage was impressive. I haven’t been in a news gaggle like this since my reporting days in the ’80s.
Solar energy projects have been popping up everywhere. I recently was hired to provide aerial photography for five new solar arrays; one here in Chico on top of the Sierra Nevada Brewery installed by Chico Electric, two in the bay area, one just north of Bakersfield and one near Los Angeles by Perpetual Power. It’s really hard not to love your job when it includes grabbing quality images while banking hard turns a mere 1000-feet above the ground. Usually, I hire small Cessnas like 172’s or 162’s because they can fly nice and slow and two of my favorite pilots are Jimmy Bryant who flies air attack missions for CDF during the fire season and Amy Ellis of Bridgeford Flying Services. However, for the trip near Bakersfield, no regular fixed-wind aircraft were available, so I flew a little after midday in a very cool small ultralight. Now that time of day is when thermals make for a pretty bumpy ride in a regular plane…so I was very, VERY, glad to have fast optically stabilized lenses with me!
It’s not everyday that I have a chance to renew a friendship with a past colleague and provide both a head shot and a video for a prolific author. But today, Leonce Gaiter, author of a soon to be published work, Waking From King’s Dream, examining the legacy and impact of Martin Luther King, Jr., walked into my studio. We had the fortune to work together while at the American Lung Association of California. But it had been many years since we had a chance to catch up, and our studio session was a great opportunity for me to hear about his nearly completed manuscript. He is in the process of shopping the work to publishers and needed a powerful head shot and video to accompany the submission. When he gets a deal, I’ll be sure to post a link to the book.
- Leonce Gaiter