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Author Topic: Part 2: "Becoming A Great Arch. Photographer  (Read 118752 times)

Rob C

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Part 2: "Becoming A Great Arch. Photographer
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2009, 01:48:18 pm »

Quote from: Lust4Life
Rainer,

Now, considering I could sell off my current H3DII-39 (with only 2,000 clicks on it) and 28mm, 80mm and 150mm lenses (none of this gear being well suited to doing arch. work), then purchase the full list of Canon gear you suggest, and still have thousands of dollars left over from the sale of my MFDB for marketing and other equipment.  Where to pursue the MFDB route will take the ADDITIONAL expenditure of tens of thousands more cash (as I do not believe in debt).

Jack



....(as I do not believe in debt).


For what it's worth, and possibly in my mind only, that's the best show of business acumen displayed yet and the basic reason I managed to survive so many lean years between the fat. Buy what you can afford - rental wasn't an easy option in my day and wouldn't have been attractive either; get the Canon tilt/shifters you can already afford and keep the 'blad until you know and have proved to yourself where you are going. Trust me, there's little worse than wishing you'd kept something when you find yourself having to buy the same thing on the second go round.

I can't tell you a great deal about the technical side of the speciality, but the general idea of keeping debt away is overarching, regardless of genre. Buys you time, at the very least.

Good luck.

Rob C

rainer_v

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Part 2: "Becoming A Great Arch. Photographer
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2009, 06:08:58 pm »

Quote from: Rob C
....(as I do not believe in debt).


For what it's worth, and possibly in my mind only, that's the best show of business acumen displayed yet and the basic reason I managed to survive so many lean years between the fat. Buy what you can afford - rental wasn't an easy option in my day and wouldn't have been attractive either; get the Canon tilt/shifters you can already afford and keep the 'blad until you know and have proved to yourself where you are going. Trust me, there's little worse than wishing you'd kept something when you find yourself having to buy the same thing on the second go round.

I can't tell you a great deal about the technical side of the speciality, but the general idea of keeping debt away is overarching, regardless of genre. Buys you time, at the very least.

Good luck.

Rob C

the Canon with these new tse lenses is a great setup, not a compromise ....
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rainer viertlböck
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rethmeier

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« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2009, 06:36:26 pm »

I agree with Rainer here,that Canon set-up is not to be sneezed at and can handle 99% of the jobs.
It's only limited when you can't stitch and need to produce a large file in one shot,like with the P65+.

For myself,I'm getting great results with my D3x and the 24+45+85 PC-e lenses.
The 14-24 Nikkor is nod bad either.At least it's sharp and has very easy to correct barrel distortion.

What Nikon now needs is a 17 PC-e and I would be very happy and a 35 PC-e please Nikon.

N.B If my market would require MFDB,I would go with the arTec.
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photosoph

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Part 2: "Becoming A Great Arch. Photographer
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2009, 09:00:04 pm »

This is a very interesting and inspiring thread to a special theme. Thanks to all the people for their input!

I started shooting architecture with a 4x5, creating 10-12 images per day at the most. It trained the concentrated view, the cost of film also helped for that. Then I switched to a 6x9 Arca-Swiss. I was thrilled by the speed of work, being able to easily change film on location sped me up to 30-35 images per day. But I already realized that I had to be careful not to lose the concentration. After starting to shoot digital in the studio I also wanted to try it for architecture, using a SLR (digital backs were not ready yet to go outside). WOW, 100 shots a day! But they weren't any good. Not necessarily because of optical quality but because of visual quality.

So I turned back to 6x9 film for architecture until I got an Aptus 22 Back, which I now use for architecture as well, using my Arca-Swiss F-line with my analogue lenses (35, 47, 55, 70, 90, 135, 180, 300 mm, except the 47 all Rodenstock). Mostly I am using the 35, 55 and 90 mm lenses. Because of focusing problems I got used to shooting tethered to a laptop. The results are good (of course the lenses could be better...) but working with a laptop on location is quite cumbersome: problems with batteries (I even used a car battery once, worked for a whole day but was quite heavy to lug around), problems focusing using the laptop (keeping the laptop close to the camera, sometimes the screen is difficult to see in direct sunlight), lots of stuff to carry around (I ended up using Festool Systainer, keeping the laptop in the top element).
This setup basically works (except the 35 is not wide enough) and it slows me down to about 20 images per day (what is good). But handling all that equipment takes the concentration away from the object I want to photograph. And the usage is too slow to allow reacting to changing light.

I guess, the ideal solution for me would be an Arca Rm3d (or was it R2-D2?) with a setup of lenses, about what Rainer recommends. Using the viewfinder (or the sliding back) and controlling the image with the screen on the back should work. However, that would be about 25-30 grand (without a back, but I own one...), which I don't have at the moment.

So, having a little money to spend now, I just ordered the 17 and 24 TS-E mm lenses yesterday to be used with my 5dII. Reading Rainers tip I will also get that 1.4 extender (did you also test the 2x extender to get a 48 mm shift?). That should solve my wideangle problem. The 12-24 Sigma and the 24-105 L Canon were already used as a backup and for a quick documentation (or for extreme situations with the 12 mm), but I always had a bad feeling selling those images.

Now I probably will have to do some meditation before a shooting to keep myself from rushing again. In theory it works: Looking at a building, walking around with a cup of coffee, deciding which perspectives to take and then using a quick system to get them into the box. Well, we'll see...

In any case, this will not be a wrong investigation. I can always use it as a backup or for jobs for people that don't have much money, like young architects or artists. When I see that the visual quality is diminishing again I will have to get that Rm3d (or whatever is top at that time).

Well, these are my thoughts, but having read other people's thoughts and taking profit of their ideas, I thought I'd share them.
Thanks!
gunter binsack

leipzig : germany
« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 09:04:03 pm by photosoph »
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lightstand

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Part 2: "Becoming A Great Arch. Photographer
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2009, 10:50:37 pm »

Quote from: Edmund Sumner
Hi All

I hope I don't come across like a party pooper but the whole conversation on how to come a great Architectural photographer seems to be missing the most important thing, that is to say ones understanding and knowledge and appreciation of architecture and ones ability of to contextualize a scheme in its environment. Sure you need some decent kit and the basics are a perspective control kit and full rage of lenses say from 38-240 but its is as important what you shoot (and why) as how you shoot it.

Edmund Sumner
www.edmundsumner.co.uk


This to me is the biggest question and I would love to hear how you guys approach seeing a project.  Do you do any visual / mental exercises to make sure you truly understand the project's design?  I guess this sounds like a silly question, but for me I am always amazed how many new things I am discovering in the building I live in (for years) knowing that the amount of time shooting a project is so incredibly brief.  A scouting day plus the shooting days not very much time to truly get to know a project. Yes I am very inquisitive with the designers listening to how they see their project and of course study the project's plans.  Any insights or elaborations on how you guys approach seeing a project would be very interesting.

thanks jeff
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rethmeier

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« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2009, 11:45:54 pm »

Quote from: lightstand
This to me is the biggest question and I would love to hear how you guys approach seeing a project.  Do you do any visual / mental exercises to make sure you truly understand the project's design?  I guess this sounds like a silly question, but for me I am always amazed how many new things I am discovering in the building I live in (for years) knowing that the amount of time shooting a project is so incredibly brief.  A scouting day plus the shooting days not very much time to truly get to know a project. Yes I am very inquisitive with the designers listening to how they see their project and of course study the project's plans.  Any insights or elaborations on how you guys approach seeing a project would be very interesting.

thanks jeff

I think you see "it" or you don't.
Simple as that.
Cheers,
Willem.
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Kirk Gittings

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« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2009, 02:05:09 am »

Quote from: lightstand
This to me is the biggest question and I would love to hear how you guys approach seeing a project.  Do you do any visual / mental exercises to make sure you truly understand the project's design?  I guess this sounds like a silly question, but for me I am always amazed how many new things I am discovering in the building I live in (for years) knowing that the amount of time shooting a project is so incredibly brief.  A scouting day plus the shooting days not very much time to truly get to know a project. Yes I am very inquisitive with the designers listening to how they see their project and of course study the project's plans.  Any insights or elaborations on how you guys approach seeing a project would be very interesting.

thanks jeff

A scouting day? I've never needed more than brief walk through with a familiar client, a bit more for a new client. I'd rather be shooting. Some shoots for sure take allot of planing and coordinating, but you can over think and plan a shoot, lock in your thinking and miss some great opportunities as they arise. I generally can see 90% of the shots in a brief walk through and the rest are discovered as the light changes during the day and evening. But I have been doing this for 31 years. It is second nature to me. I lay out a tentative shooting schedule, which is not cast in cement, but is constantly being modified throughout the day as I watch the light and see opportunities. My crew is working with me and ahead of me setting up the next shot.

On another point, marketing, I live architecture. That is how I market, very indirectly. I attend and give lectures, attend AIA meetings and conventions, give talks at AIA meetings and conventions, sit on boards, teach, take classes, get involved in historic preservation etc. I'm an active part of the architecture community. All soft sell. It has worked for me and my personality.


















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rainer_v

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« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2009, 04:02:53 am »

Quote from: Kirk Gittings
A scouting day?

this depends mainly on the size of the building. the largest project of a single building i have shot was the new bangkok airport. a building complex wiith a size of 1,4 km x 0,8 km, including 140 mtr high towers, side buildings , terminals, connection ways, main terminal ( 800 x 250 mtrs 40 mtrs high ) and my briefing was to show all buildings in empty state as well as later after the opening of the airport. problem was that all parts of the building have been finished at different times and than immediately been modified by the users. so there was NO time when the shooting could be done except some hours or even minutes before the changes at the site started. cause so many firms have been involved no central planning or schedule was available, all firms had their individual dead lines. shooting such project without scouting or planning and without having a clear idea what i would like to do and which views are needed would not be possible, at best it would be am accumulation of shots which would not cover the most important shots, because the short time frame when these shots could have been done would have to be missed on a building of that size and complexity.
no chance to see in the morning what could be done and what not.
the shot was done in four phases , all together 22 weeks on location with 200 finished motifs (!).
the first phase took me 7 weeks and i ended up with app. 30 shots, due to very bad and foggy weather, conditions on site and because for earth movings the whole building was covered under a thick layer of yellow dust, which needed the first rains ( summer in bangkok ) to be cleaned. the amount of scouting time was quite huge and for me this time was absolutely necessary.

recently i made a re- shoot of the sony center in berlin.
this is a complex of many buildings including one tower in berlin. the ensemble follows a basic geometry which is created a bit as a puzzle, formed by the individual buildings which contain the main form elements as well. it plays with mainly two forms:triangle and circle.
to find out in which relation this forms have been planned and in which relation the buildings form the entire ensemble in correspondence to the singular buildings and facades is nothing i can explore if i come to such building and start shooting without thinking before.

there exists already many 100s of photographs of this building, and i havent seeen a single one taken from a view point which has let me to see the triangular basic form of the building complex. i think for two reasons this has not been shown already: its not easy to find an adequate viewing point ( took a 90ft. plattform for that ) and 2. this form needs to be understood before you can search such viewing point and this basic elemental form is everything else than obviously visible, because teh size of the complex.

scouting does not mean for me photographing layout shots. it means that i drive or walk many times to a building, trying to understand the intention behind its design. this way to spend time feels sometimes a bit strange even to myself, because it has more to do with meditation than with photography or with "work" ..... but if i do it i rarely think afterwards its waisted time,- the final shots look different than in projects where i come and start immediately shooting.

with smaller buildings i usually dont see this as a need, there its often more obvious what i want or need to shoot.


also it can take me longer time ( hours .. ) to check out the right position if i shoot design in museal context, which i regularly do.
often i am confronted that i have to deliver two or three shots from exhibitions, which already are photographed by the employed photographers of such museum. the expectations to my shots are high in this case and no one wants me to add two more shots to the existing 50, they expect to get "the" shots from me. it can take me longer time before i start to photograph and to determine the exact position with my eyes, not with a camera, i go around, look under the objects , look over them, think about, change the position, drink a coffee, think about it again, finally the photograph takes sometimes less time than this "scouting" and comes at the end.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 04:03:31 am by rainer_v »
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rainer viertlböck
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Part 2: "Becoming A Great Arch. Photographer
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2009, 07:40:35 am »

Quote from: GBPhoto
Heh, it seems like whenever I've said "Screw it, the client's never gonna notice...", that's when some unforseen, ultra-high-quality use comes up for that image.  

Now, even on low-budget dslr jobs, I shoot a stitch sequence of any important shots.  That way I have high-res material in the bag if another $$$$ use comes up.  Especially if it's a difficult-access or unique situation.

I had this issue when I was using my 5MP Nikon D1X, but not since we not shoot with 20+ MP DSLRs. I do however see huge differences in optics - so you must be very careful to use only the best WA lenses. I don't know how Canon or Nikon can even sell some of their lenses for use on the latest cameras.

I think the bottom line is to create images with great composition and to capture what the brings out our clients talents. If a 30x40" print will look as good to us, is very secondary. A client will probably never see the difference at that size, if ever.
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CBarrett

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Part 2: "Becoming A Great Arch. Photographer
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2009, 10:17:17 am »

Quote from: Yelhsa
The way I see it: if you are going to spend all that time to create the image/s, why would you want to use anything but the best camera system possible, to capture it in the end.
We would often spend hours creating the image/s - styling, lighting, etc - so the camera is simply the recording device, one uses at that end, to capture it.

Almost any camera will do  - but why not use the best one possible - if the clients requirements and budget are in place to allow you to use it.

So you need to put the horse in front of the cart here.
The clients requirements and budget will determine what you can afford to bring to the table.
Which means you have to know: who's going to buy the images and what all do they need the images for first... before you can determine which camera system is best for the job.

Cheers,
Ashley

http://www.ampimage.com
http://www.ashleymorrison.com


I'm in Ashley's boat.  In discussing using the P65+ I summed it all with... "Anything less than the best you can possibly deliver is... less."
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Carsten W

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« Reply #50 on: November 11, 2009, 02:32:25 pm »

I am curious if there is any particular reason why so many recommend Canon, but only Willem mentions Nikon? Is it just because the T/S lenses are so new that everyone already had Canon?
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CBarrett

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« Reply #51 on: November 11, 2009, 03:01:54 pm »

Quote from: carstenw
I am curious if there is any particular reason why so many recommend Canon, but only Willem mentions Nikon? Is it just because the T/S lenses are so new that everyone already had Canon?


I think it's because Canon has kicked Nikon's butt in the DSLR market for so long that Canon just dominates right now, and I believe they have more T/S lenses to choose from.  I love my D3, though!
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Christopher

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« Reply #52 on: November 11, 2009, 03:08:36 pm »

Quote from: CBarrett
I think it's because Canon has kicked Nikon's butt in the DSLR market for so long that Canon just dominates right now, and I believe they have more T/S lenses to choose from.  I love my D3, though!


I think there are to more reasons:

Nikon offers no 17mm TSE and has no "cheap" 20+ MP body.

Yes one could use a d3x, but I don't think it makes sense. So for a backup solution, I think Canon is the smarter choice by far.
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rethmeier

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« Reply #53 on: November 11, 2009, 03:44:23 pm »

I have to agree,that Nikon not having a 17 PC-e is a bummer,however I would never replace a D3x with a 5DII.
A 5DII is a backup camera and the D3x is not.
I don't have a MFDB kit,like some of the shooters here.

Having said that when Canon announces their follow up of the 1DsmkIII,I might move back to Canon. Just for its 17 TSE.
I hear the new 24 TSE is very good too.
It had to be because the old one was so so.

The irony of all this that I had a complete Canon kit with the old TSE lenses and the day I switched to Nikon,after selling the Canon,Canon announced
their 17 TSE and 24 TSE lenses.

I did take about a year for them to come to market,however they seem to be very good.

So Canon,bring on that new 1Ds4!

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Kirk Gittings

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« Reply #54 on: November 11, 2009, 03:58:49 pm »

As per the discussion of scouting days. Ranier has the good fortune of shooting larger projects than I do and his approach clearly works for him (based on the extraordinary results).

As per Canons? When I got into digital DSLR, Canon was the only DSLR game in town with a reasonable ff body and t/s lenses. Then Nikon surged ahead with their new t/s lenses, but I didn't switch as I was too heavily invested in Canon (and the improvements, by my testing, were not dramatic). Now Canon has bounced back again with superior t/s lenses. Though I was sorely tempted, I'm glad now I didn't jump to Nikon. This competition is great for us. Also, personally I don't care much about the top of the line Canon bodies as allot of the bells and whistles are aimed more at sports photographers etc. (like fast frame rates high ISO's). In any event what ever is new in the top of the line camera will appear in the second tier a year later at 1/3 the price.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 06:59:21 pm by Kirk Gittings »
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K.C.

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« Reply #55 on: November 11, 2009, 11:20:12 pm »

Quote from: CBarrett
Because the camera files are just not as sharp, don't have the same tonal width, or color fidelity and tend to exhibit too much distortion... at least with what I've seen from the 1DS, 5D and D3.

But again... will the client notice on prints or at web size?

I shot with an Arca 6X9 and film for years, then transitioned to digital on the Arca. Now my clients neither want a file that size or are willing to pay for the post time. I picked up the new Canon TS-Es a month ago. My clients are happy with the images, and more importantly, they're still my clients.

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Christopher

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« Reply #56 on: November 11, 2009, 11:26:10 pm »

Quote from: K.C.
I shot with an Arca 6X9 and film for years, then transitioned to digital on the Arca. Now my clients neither want a file that size or are willing to pay for the post time. I picked up the new Canon TS-Es a month ago. My clients are happy with the images, and more importantly, they're still my clients.


I think there is an important difference between what I want and clients. Most don't care about 60MP files which can be printed at 40x60. They are happy more than happy with 10Mp files. Of course there are exceptions. However I don't shoot the file quality for my clients or a better way to say it, I shoot to the quality that I want to get out of a project. I'm sure if I only cared about my clients I could shoot 95% with a Canon 5DMk2 and rent  a MFDB for the other 5%. They would still be happy.

I think we should always remember that in the End it often doesn't matter with what tool we take the image, but how the light is and to find the right moment to shoot it. I still think that great light, is our most important tool to display architecture in a certain way.

Just a small example, while travling the last 4 months, I didn't shoot to much architecture, just some things I really enjoyed. However, it took me three days for this shot, I drove 30 minutes each morning before sunrise and twice it wasn't what I imagined. The last day, the sunrise was colorful and magical. I think in the right light it does not matter much which camera is used.
[attachment=17852:LA_01.jpg]

« Last Edit: November 12, 2009, 12:00:22 am by Christopher »
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Williamson Images

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« Reply #57 on: November 12, 2009, 01:06:33 am »

Good comments from the crew.  I will add my two cents.  I think photographers need to immerse themselves in the way architects work, understand the way they design, and try to capture the point of the design.  The most successful images (graded visually and helpful to the designers) are not made by simply showing up at the right time.  It's how you can capture their process so they can justify their fee to their clients and go get more.  I'm hired because I am able to provide context showing more than one discipline: architecture, landscape architecture, and planning principles.

I LOVE the D3x and the PC-E lenses.  They are much better than my previous canon's and the files from the D3x are simply fantastic.  We'll see how it compares to the Leaf Aptus II 10 on the Contax and hopefully cambo wide RS.  I do output at 40x60" regularly so the Leaf will get equal use.  

Robb

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Christopher

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« Reply #58 on: November 12, 2009, 02:26:20 am »

You are certainly correct. However, I haven't seen to many great architecture image, where the light and weather was sh** ;-) Or the timing wrong. To get great results one has to combine both elements. (And yes there are a lot more, to be successful. )
« Last Edit: November 12, 2009, 02:26:43 am by Christopher »
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Huib

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« Reply #59 on: November 12, 2009, 03:24:00 am »

I studied a lot of portfolios of some (great) architecture photographers of this forum. Just to bring mine skills on a higher level.
The big rule is that vertical lines are straight up and parallel. This can be done with the help of rise and fall  (or PS).
But the horizontal lines / parallels gets much less attention. Even when it could be correct with a little PS or shift / cross.

Why are the parallels of the horizontal lines less important? Is that looking more natural?
« Last Edit: November 12, 2009, 04:01:10 am by Huib »
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