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New Home in Portola Valley


Yesterday evening found us in Portola Valley on the site of a beautiful new home. Designed by architects Mark Tetrault and Marc Lindsell of 2M Architecture and built by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders. We had a crew of five on the photo shoot, both Mark and Marc from 2M, Kimberly Moses
of Kimberly Moses Design, the landscape architect, my assistant Marco Hyman and myself.  At dusk with had two cameras going, with Marco on one side of the house and me on the other. I believe we captured some stunning photos of a truly amazing project. This marks my fifth visit to this location, since we originally visited the site to walk-through and photograph the interior, followed by two days of photography to capture the interiors, another visit in the spring to plan the exterior photos, and last night to capture the exterior images with the landscaping in place.


Dale Hardware Bronze Sculpture

Dale Hardware

I was meeting with a client today and reminded of a photo shoot we did for the client, FCGA Architecture, at Dale Hardware in Fremont. ¬†We did this last fall, and in reviewing the work with the client I was reminded how remarkable it is to see artwork of this scale on a retail location like a hardware store. Life-size bronze sculptures of workers, ¬†Here’s a worker about to loose his footing on a ladder, hanging onto the Dale Hardware sign. ¬†Complete with tool belt.


Photos in the April Diablo Magazine


The April issue of Diablo Magazine has an article about the upcoming Heart of the Home Tour. The article written by Jeanne Berres talks about the homes that will be on tour. The six page spread includes eight of our photos. The article starts on page 46.¬†The Heart of the Home Tour is a fund raising event for the Children’s Support League of the East Bay (CSL). CSL serveS disadvantaged and at-risk children throughout the East Bay.


On the River

Hokulane. A Carver Yacht

We recently had the opportunity to photograph a boat on the Petaluma River. This is a job that came to use through an interior designer we’ve worked with, Jenny Ildefonso of¬†Jentry McGraw Design. (jentrymcgraw.com) What made this photo shoot work was the planning we did ahead of time and the styling. I made a visit to the boat a week before the shoot in order to determine what might be involved. I met with the owner, and the interior designer. I decided at that time that we would conduct the interior shots in the late afternoon while the boat was at the dock, and then close to dusk we would head down the river to a location where we could photograph the boat on the water with some color in the sky and with a less distracting background than the marina. Needless to say, Jenny’s selection of props for styling and her attention to detail really helped the interior photos come to life.¬†I think you’ll agree that the styling and the planning made this project work.¬†Hokulane. A Carver Yacht


San Jose Earthquake’s Avaya Stadium

We recently had the opportunity to photograph the¬†San Jose Earthquake’s Avaya Stadium for a client Reliable Concepts Corporation and Brilliant General Maintenance Inc. We were there on Friday¬†February¬†27, the day before the stadium opened. We had a limited time window, so the challenge was to pick a point of view that would show off the stadium without some of the last minute construction items that I consider to be visual liabilities. The lighting turned out to be a bit¬†contrast-y¬†since we were shooting in the late morning with the sun at a high angle. We used a multiple exposure technique, called HDR to help bring out the details in the shadows while reducing the brightness of the highlights.¬†Fortunately¬†we had some interesting clouds to add some drama to the images.¬†The team was actually on the field practicing when we captured this image. At the clients request we removed the players in post-production.



Clients Win Regional CotY Awards!

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) just announce regional awards for their Contractor of the Year (CotY) awards. Two of our clients won awards. HDR Remodeling won an award for the Residential Kitchen $30,000-$60,000 and¬†Podesta Construction, Inc.¬†won an award for Entire House $500,001-$750,000. Congratulations! We’d like to think that the high quality photos we provided for both of these projects was a factor in winning the awards.
Whole house remodel in BurlingameAbove: Podesta Construction
Residential  kitchen remodel Above: HDR Remodeling

Why Hire a Pro?

¬† ¬† ¬†Here’s an example of how, with some planning and forethought one can capture some stunning photos of something that might otherwise look drab. It isn’t always about the equipment. Knowing how to solve problems as they relate to the photographic image comes from experience and planning. ¬†In this case, the project was a garage¬†that was converted to a living space. Our client:¬†local remodeling firm, HDR Remodeling.
     The first step in this process is to take a look at the project before the shoot, with enough lead time to plan for any staging and props. During the walk-through we usually capture a few snapshots so that we have something we can use for planning. Here are a couple of images from the walk through.
tjp_1360_113        tjp_1360_101
     The first thing I discovered on the walk-through was that the morning sun does not shine on the front of the garage as I had expected. The front of the garage is in shade. This is something I may not have been able to determined based on what I can glean from map and sun orientation. Shooting at dusk would eliminate the shadow issue and bring the structure to life with light glowing from within. The interior walk-through photos suggested that some furnishings would be essential to making the shoot work. In particular a bedspread, pillows, chairs and plants. I envisioned an image taken from the driveway with the doors open, with a rattan chair and a guitar in view to give the image a sense of humanity. A couple of plants at each side of the entry would soften up the concrete of the driveway.
¬† ¬† ¬†Prior to the shoot I shared the shopping list for props with the client. Between us, and with the help of my assistant, we managed to pull together the props we needed to make the shoot work. Setting up for the shoot meant unloading furniture, making the bad, ironing pillow cases, and moving furniture. Another key to a project like this is having enough hands on-deck to manage the staging as we go.¬†A chair or a plant may need to move between different camera positions. Since we are only seeing part of the room at any time we’re often moving or re-using props as we change camera positions, having an assistant makes it possible to work quickly and¬†efficiently¬†and an extra set of eyes is handy for seeing things like the fringe of the rug that is askew.
¬† ¬† ¬†When all is said and done, here’s what the final images look like.
Garage conversion         Garage conversion
¬† ¬† ¬†I think you will agree that getting¬†professional¬†quality photos is not just about equipment. It’s about planning, bringing experience to bear and having the right help to get the job done.

The Church of the Good Shepherd

Church of the Good Shepherd

Originally built in 1878, the Church of the Good Shepherd is the oldest continuously used church in the Bay Area. Designed by Charles L. Bugbee, a renowned San Francisco architect, it is modeled in the Gothic Revival style and is a City of Berkeley Landmark as well as listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We had the opportunity to photograph the church on behalf of Plath and Co. general contractors and The Bay Architects who restored the landmark after a fire in October 2012.


Steel Clad House for EcoSteel

Private Residence in Danville

We recently photographed a private residence in Danville that had some interesting features. Upon entering the house you find yourself in a two story atrium with a Koi pond and a glass bridge across the pond. Quite remarkable. We photographed this project for EcoSteel.  We chose to photograph this project close to dusk to take advantage of the available light.


The New 49ers Store for Nike


Yesterday we had the opportunity to work with Nike, photographing their display in the new 49ers store at the Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. No shortage of products available to support our local professional sports team. Walking around the stadium, everything is brand new, bright and gleaming, and high tech. Just waiting for the throngs to appear for the first game.