Photographing The Architecture of Los Angeles From Above (Part 2)

It would appear that I've been bitten by the aerial bug - quite hard, in fact. What began as a half baked idea to shoot real estate and architecture from a helicopter turned into a full-fledged fine art book. So that's the new goal - take 15, 20 flights, amass a huge collection of black and white photographs, and get it together in a big, heavy, thick coffee table book, as it's something I've always wanted to do. I've been keeping an eye peeled for my latest personal project and thankfully, this one is right in my own backyard. 

Los Angeles is a thing of terrible beauty; and sometimes downright misery from street level. But once you're up in the air, it transforms entirely into something else. There are endless opportunities for composition with all of the lines of intersecting freeways, surface streets, and architecture. Every time I have flown in a helicopter now, I make a loose plan to get some shots I've pre-selected with Google Earth, etc. The problem that I have is that the shots I plan on come out just okay, but the shots that I don't plan for absolutely shock me with how awesome they are. That might sound cocky, but some of this stuff is beyond what I'd ever thought I'd be capturing.

Shooting like this is definitely refreshing and a nice change of pace - it's one thing to put something together from a tripod, 10 lights and Photoshop, but it's something else entirely to be shooting something so alive. Nobody will ever recreate these images - and they exist for only a fleeting second. Trying to coax the light and mood out of them in post-processing is just eye-opening - things that you never notice from the air become simply magical once the files are worked over a bit. 

So, here's to this next project of mine. I've got a lot on my plate, as always, between my Iceland project, Pan-Am project, and now this, but these are just too cool to pass up, and I might as well strike while my iron is hot. I'm hemming and hawing over kickstarting this project or just doing it on my own, I'm not really sure yet. Time will tell!

In the meantime, I've been invited to sell these prints throughout a few select stores in LA as well as online through PurePhoto. You can check out the full gallery and order prints, if you're interested, by clicking here.

Photographing An Architecturally Significant Home In Beverly Hills Designed By Paul R. Williams

I was recently hired to photograph this architectural treasure in Beverly Hills, CA. Designed by the great Paul R. Williams, this was his last residential project before his death in 1980. Williams practiced largely in Southern California and designed the homes of numerous celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lon Chaney, and Charles Correll. In addition to countless residential projects (over 2,000), he also designed and worked on many well-known public buildings in Los Angeles such as the Theme Building at LAX, The Beverly Hills Hotel, and numerous state and federal buildings in the LA area. For more reading, check out his Wikipedia page here.

Remodeled Ranch: Luxury Real Estate in Montecito, CA

I recently shot this beautiful ranch home in Montecito, CA. Situated on 80 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the property boasted avacado and lemons groves with over 20,000 plants. The view from the top over the fields was breathtaking, as was the recently remodeled interior. I spent an entire day there and wish I could have stayed longer, as it was an incredibly inviting home and the isolation and quiet, only about an hour from LA, was really lovely.

Shooting Architecture in Culver City: An Architectural Photographer's Playground

Culver City, CA, is a veritable goldmine of stunning architecture. Below are the offices of Media Temple, a web hosting and domain service. A very unique building that was a lot of fun to shoot! I channeled my inner Edward Hopper in an effort to create some interesting architecture images, and I'm especially fond of the image that includes the woman running with her dog. If you ever have an afternoon to kill in Los Angeles and you're interested in architecture, I'd definitely recommend parking your car over here (it's all free!) and taking a self-guided walking tour of the architecture in this area of Culver City, located near Jefferson Blvd near Baldwin Hills. Chosen To Photograph Historic Beverly Hills Architecture

I'm happy to announce that I've been chosen to work with the Beverly Hills Historic Society to photograph a number of famous and architecturally significant Beverly Hills landmarks. The photos will be used in everything from museum displays to advertising and tourism promotions for the city. In addition, they'll be used as historical records for future generations. I'm greatly looking forward to photographing as many sites as possible with the Society. You can check out my first subject, the Beverly Hills Electric Fountain, located on the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd and Wilshire Blvd, below. All of the light you see was created by small, handheld flashes positioned throughout the scene, yet still cleverly hidden.


Photographing High-Tech Real Estate For The Space Enthusiasts Out There

Check this one out! This home, located in Laguna Niguel, CA, was constructed around a custom-made observatory. Situated 30 feet above ground and built on concrete-filled pillars which extend 20 feet below ground for stability, this was truly a one-of-a-kind home. Need I mention the gorgeous travertine floors and incredible backyard? This was definitely one of the coolest homes I've photographed.

Architectural Photography Of A Modern Office Space in Culver City, CA

I had the pleasure of working with Natalie Younger, another Los Angeles-based interior designer, to shoot her remodel of Muse, an advertising agency based in Culver City, CA. Located in a brick building constructed decades ago, this was a really fun project to work on, as the decor is something I don't often get to work with. I was able to take great creative liberty in the lighting and staging of the space, and Natalie was a ton of fun to work with. My favorite part of this shoot? Getting to take a break in those enormous bean bag chairs.

Luxury Interiors: Photographing An Architectural Gem In Orange County

This architectural beauty in Orange County, CA, was an absolute pleasure to shoot. The recently finished four-story home featured an open-air atrium in the center of the home that spanned the entire height of the home, and a custom pool that overlooked the Pacific Ocean with views for miles in every direction. Situated at the top of a scenic overlook, it felt so far removed from the bustling metropolis that is the greater Los Angeles and San Diego area. The space provided a wide range of challeneges - no shortage of problem solving here. High-noon light blasted into the dark wood interior, and I often had to juggle five or six different spaces in the same frame. I love this type of shooting, however - the greater the challenge, the greater the reward! 


Interiors Photography: Modest Retreat on Lake Malibou

Shot for Shannon Ggem, ASID, this small property is a gem tucked away about a half an hour north of Los Angeles in the hills of Malibu. The style and decor is certainly unique to the area, and it was fun to shoot a property that had so much rustic charm. Need I mention the absolutely adorable dog who stood in as a model in a few of the shots? Too cool. I could happily waste away a few weeks in this quiet and private enclave.


Architectural Photography Of A Private Residence in the Hills of Los Feliz

I was recently commissioned to shoot this incredible new construction in Los Feliz, CA. This shoot presented it's own series of unique challenges, however the setting allowed for some incredibly dynamic photographs. The first challenge was dealing with the extreme brightness range of the scene - that's bright, midday sun streaming in against a white interior with a dark wood deck outside. Pretty tough to keep it all in check. The following were shot with a set of Pul C. Buff Einsteins.



One of my favorite shots from the day was a result of the sun setting directly in front of the sliding glass doors which opened to an expansive view over the hills. The sun aligned perfectly with the back of the home and filled the entire place with a surreal, golden light. Definitely one of the most intriguing shots I've taken, and the best part is that it was nothing but 100% natural light. You don't always need a truckload of gear to pull off a shot, though getting lucky like this certainly makes it easier.

 Lastly, a couple twilight images - we know how much I love these.