Architectural Dusk Photography.

I got to shoot this cool home for Wallmark Custom Homes Vancouver a couple of weeks ago and was faced with a few problems... 'or opportunities to find solutions'. ;)

It is a great looking home that maintains the heritage of the street with seamless shingles, classic eve design and exposed beams, however, the shoot could only happen on the day before hand-over and landscaping hadn't been completed, there was still a bit of rubbish to be removed and a dawn shoot wasn't possible so the light was in the wrong direction (behind and to the right of the house).

The obvious way to hide things is in the shadows but if the light got too 'moody' the blue of the house and the detail of the external finish would have been lost. On top of this light-poles and tree placement meant only really one angle worked and that had a tree blocking the home too.

So timing was everything... namely lighting the darker north facade to match the 'just after sunset' light on the west facade. Bringing the light under the porch under control, adding some interest highlight to the tree in the middle of the frame and making sure the shingles were well defined was also on my mind.

The end result is a composite of about a dozen exposures and several adjustment layers. I wasn't sure what to do about the final crop, I thought the overhanging branches on the left looked a bit out of place if I cropped the trunk in the bottom left even though the neighboring house is a bit distracting.  I'm sure the the graphic designers will work this out though. Removing the rubbish down on the right of the home was tricky because I have to recreate part of the fence but since it is in the bottom corner the vignette is fairly deep there so I think I got away with it. 

The client said he wanted front and side elevations so the above facade was always going to be the hero but I felt we needed a square on angle too. 

This is taken from the very base of the tree on the bottom left of the above photo. Waaaaayy too close... it's around 5 meters to the steps and the facade is essentially 3 floors high. But there was no other option, needless to say I was pushing limits.

Step 1. Extend that tripod. Luckily I have one of the tallest tripods you can get and a ladder so I can compose the shot. Step 2. Shoot really wide because the perspective distortion is going to be massive. (I shoot with a D800e so the loss of resolution in the top half isn't a problem and at 100iso there is no grain to worry about distorting... I doubt a tilt/shift would have worked in this situation anyway.)

To add to the fun... see that overhanging branch over the eves? In order to remove the sticks all of those shingle lines needed to be lined up and some totally recreated. It took a while and it's still a bit blotchy but hopefully you only just noticed that. I think all that was worth it though in order to get an alternative facade angle.