Architectural photography – Shoes or No Shoes

architecture, Personal Pictures

if you are into fashion design, shoe design or if you have any kind of shoe fetish, you absolutely need to see this museum collection. Without spending too much words about it, it contains the largest ethnographic collection of shoes in the world, next to a vast collection of designers’ shoes and artists’ shoes. More info on the opening times and location: www.shoesornoshoes.com

I visited the place several times now, and I’m especially fond of the architectural qualities of the building. The building is constructed as a combination of hexagon shaped rooms. The main floor exhibition rooms have special north faced windows that assure a neutral light in any kind of weather. Credits for the architecture: original building (1973) : Emile Veranneman and Arch. Christiaan Vander Plaetse. Redesign (2008): Lode Uytterschaut, Johan Ketele and Rutger Davidts.

Last visit was with my architectural photography class from KISP. I never can deny the urge to take some photographs myself, in between tuition and guidance. The main purpose of this excursion was to emphasize on the link between the building and the surrounding area. My personal selection:

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Images taken with Canon TS-E 24 mm f3.5 L II, except third image, taken with Canon EF 17-40 mm f 4.0 L. All on Canon 5D mark II.

Some images are HDR composites, some are stitched panoramic. (although they all are square 🙂 )

Thank you for watching, and don’t forget to visit the place!

see you soon,

Ludwig

New court building in Ghent – architectural photography classes

architecture, Personal Pictures

Hello there,

as promised, some images of the new court building in Ghent.

architects Stéphane Beel and Lieven Achtergael, opened in 2007

 

I had lent my tripod to one of my students, so these images are not ‘top notch’, but they are well enough to show.

Normally you should never do architectural photography without a tripod. The advantages of a tripod are multiple:

It helps in fine tuning your camera position, a 3 way head is optimum for this.

It helps when light levels get low, a stable tripod allows using small apertures, even at dim light.

It allows for multiple exposures or bracketing exposure series, when you need to handle a too large dynamic range in your scene.

It slows you down, which I think is a good thing in architectural photography.

I use a Berlebach 2042 report tripod, which has a ball joint just beneath the 3-way head. This ball joint is of immense help in leveling out your tripod head. Both tripod and head are a heavy pack, but in the same respect very stable. I have been using it for about 4 years now, and it shows no signs of wear. In the image below, you should clearly see the ball joint in the tripods base. Oh, and it is the most beautiful type of tripod I have ever seen, with its solid ash wood legs.

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The main goal for this evening was to concentrate on light and lighting, and again, these were taken without tripod. 😉

 

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See you soon for the next series of images: Sanne at house Adelaide, the color version.

have a nice weekend, Ludwig

HDR composited image workflow

architecture, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

Making a panoramic image in Photoshop is pretty simple, in the menu you go to file->automate->Photomerge, there you select your images, press enter and photoshop does it all for you, no hassle. You’ll just need to crop afterwards and your done.
Making a HDR image in Photoshop is pretty simple too, in the menu you go to file-> automate->Merge to HDR Pro, follow some easy steps, choose if you want to work 16 bit or 32 bit, choose wether you want to edit in Adobe Camera Raw or just save a 32 bit file, and further edit in ACR or Lightroom (since version 4)

Now making a panoramic image that has been shot in exposure bracketing, is a little more complicated, although a logic iteration of the above two workflows.

Here’s what needs to be done (Lightroom/Photoshop workflow)
000. Work with your Autofocus off for your exposures, focus once, then leave your focus be, work manually, work on a tripod, with preferably a panoramic head, or, as in this case with a Tilt-Shift lens.
00. Make sure you get sufficient overlap in between images (1/3 of your image is a good average)
0. Make sure you get the same exposure bracketing series in all your images

1. Grab your first bracketing series in Lightroom, right click and Edit in -> Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop.
2. Photoshop will run trough a series of actions, and will bring up the HDR pro interface.
3. Now you’ll choose 32 bit, remove ghosts if necessary (only available from 3 or more images, and good if you have moving elements in-between images.) and just click OK.
4. Your 32 bit tif file will appear awful in Photoshop, no panic, just click the save button. (not save as, as this might save your image in a different directory than the original one)
5. Back in Lightroom, you should be able to see your image as filename-edit.tif You can edit the image just the way you edit RAW files, except now you have 10 stops exposure range up and down. Work with exposure, highlights, shadows, blacks and whites to get your image correctly edited. It might be a good idea to do lenscorrections in at this stage. (lens deformations and chromatic aberration, no perspective corrections)
6. Do this for all your bracketing series, try to develop the different images the same way. Avoid too many local corrections, as you will not be able to synchronize them because they will need to be applied in a different spot in every different 32 bit image.
7. Now the final step is just to make a panoramic image from all our previously edited images: select all your edited 32 bit files and right click -> edit in -> Merge to Panorama in Photoshop
8. Photoshop will gather all images and nicely align them out, make layer masks according to the images content (actually it searches for places where there’s no geometrical difference in two consecutive layers, to make the transition at that spot. That may lead to awkward layer masks, but the result is generally good.
9. Crop the image to get rid of white edges (photoshop will do transformations to compensate for lens corrections, or to get the perspective in-between images working ok)
flatten and further edit if needed (sharpening, filters, …)
10. Sit back and enjoy your work.

Visual representation of the workflow (click for bigger):

workflow

A small version of the final image.
This is the entrance hall of the Antwerpen Centraal train station:

Ludwigdesmet_HDR_PANO-2

Thank you for reading, you might as well follow my blog now you’re here :p

Ludwig

Teaching architectural photography

architecture, Personal Pictures

Hello there,
A post about my teaching job at Kisp this time.
KISP is a evening classes institute giving adults the possibility to change careers, enrich themselves with language courses, learn how to cook vegetarian meals, meals with Belgian Beer or learn how to execute bike repairs, amongst a ton of other things. Photography classes are immensely popular at our institute, so we count over 1000 students currently following one or more semesters of the photography program, a program that exists in 10 different classes, normally running over a 5 year period.
I have been teaching photography classes for 3 years now, and I am currently teaching 4 classes, two Lightroom development classes, two architectural photography classes.
Teaching is a good way of fine tuning and deepening your own knowledge on the subject, and I admit I have learnt a lot in preparing my courses over the last 4 months.
It has been a joy to see my students discover the multiple facets of architectural photography, something that a lot of them at first would classify as a boring and dull subject in photography. Architectural photography is one of the ‘advanced’ segments, so these students have done at least 4 preparatory classes.
We are not blessed with a lot of rich and blooming architecture here in Belgium, so it is quite a challenge to find interesting building projects that are accessible to a group of students. Especially since we arrive only at a time that most office desks close down for the day. We usually start at 6:30 pm and work trough the night, till 22:00 hrs. Often we have to deal with security people to get access to a building, mostly we are very welcome.

Unfortunately I cannot post work of others, but i would like to show you some of the pictures I took in between tutoring and solving technical questions from my students.
They are often not perfect because I carry very little equipment myself on these hands-on evening classes. I often don’t take a tripod with me and only a single lens, or maybe two.
Subjects tackled so far: building in it’s environment, perspectives, composition and equilibrating elements in your image, light and lighting. This is only a very small selection, there is some more on my facebook account here: Album architectural photography classes

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thank you for reading, see you soon,

Ludwig

architectural compositions

architecture, Personal Pictures

When I was still in my architecture module (evening classes photography) we were asked to photograph a museum interior with composition in mind. Not the building as such was important in the result, but mainly the distribution of elements in the picture. Not a simple, but a very interesting exercise. Balancing weights, colors, working with lines, structures, perspectives. Photography becomes a very graphical art. The building is a museum building in Ghent, Belgium.

It is absolutely necessary to work on tripod for such an assignment, because this allows you to carefully study your preliminary results, and eventually do very subtle corrections to your composition. I have a tripod with a 3-way head, which is interesting, because you can just modify one axis, without moving the other ones. (vs. a ballhead, which releases all axes at once)
I just noticed yesterday that I hadn’t published these images before, so here they come. Clickable for a bigger size.

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Thank you for watching. And remember, any question you have please ask.
Take care, come again soon.
Ludwig

Academy for music and word

architecture, Personal Pictures

Hi all,
I’ve been very busy the last couple of weeks, sorry for the long wait.
This morning we had another gathering for the lessons of architectural photography. We are supposed to know all about the subject now, and we do, of course. 😀
It’s been a tough selection, we are supposed to deliver only 5 images. I’ll show you my favorites and leave you guessing about the final 5.
The academy has been deserted with the move to the new building, late september. It is still occasionally used for theatre plays and music concerts, but the classes have not been used since. The building is in good shape and will probably be rented to local artists.

All images with Canon 5D II and a selection of lenses: 85mm, 50mm, 24mm and 17-40mm

I hope you’ll like some images too!

See you again soon. I have had two shoots at the Mansion last week which I am eager to show to you, but I need approval from my models for my -selection for publication first. That’s the fairest way to go.

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Juror Award of Merit

architecture, Personal Pictures

My image Casa Batllo has received a ‘Juror Award of Merit’ in the International Fine Art Photography Competition. Looks like I didn’t make it to the finals, but this is a very big motivational plus for my photography in general, and my free work in particular.
I had not expected this image to be rewarded. It is taken with my Canon s95 on a city trip to Barcelona. It shows the upper floor of Casa Batllo, one of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces.
The image will be used on the ‘International Art Photography Competition’ Website, as well as on their Facebook page, with a link to this blog and my website.
I’m really pleased. I’m sure this will help my photography find its way into the art scene.

This is the image that was rewarded:

Thank you for looking, thank you for visiting my blog, hope you’ll keep supporting me!!

I’m gonna have a good glass of wine tonight, to support the french Photographic art community! Cheers!

Ludwig

Urbex shoot

architecture, Personal Pictures

Hi there, it’s been a while since my last post, but a lot has been going on here. I have been pretty busy with my Renderhouse jobs, and next to that, I have been assigned as a teacher for two evening classes in photography. YESSS!! I will be giving the basics of photography to one group (all about camera settings, exposure, composition basics, etc. …) and another evening class will handle Photoshop Lightroom 4 editing. I’m all excited, today is the first day I will be in front of one of the groups. …

I still found the time today to finish my urbex shoot post-processing from two weeks ago. I have been shooting in a place that has been abandoned for about two years I guess, but is still in pretty good shape. No vandals have passed by here (yet) The place is owned by one of my Renderhouse customers, and we made a deal. I would to shoot the ‘heart and soul’ of the villa as it is now, and then I can make use of of the location for future model/beauty shoots. Great, I love that kind of deal!

What you see here is the result of a 3 hour shoot, a short time of image selection, and about 3 hours of postprocessing. Hope you like them. click images to see a bigger size version of them.
Most of the images have been made with the 17-40 mm f4 L wide-angle zoom lens, some with 50mm f1.4, some details with 85mm f1.8. All on Canon 5D II.
Thank you for watching, please leave a comment if you feel so.










Come again!!

ludwig

Barcelona Highlights

architecture, people, Personal Pictures

Hi,

I went to Barcelona two weeks ago, partly for business, partly citytrip. I stayed for 4 days, together with my wife Nathalie. We met a 3D designer to discuss a future project, and we visited a lot.
Barcelona is famous for its pick-pocket plague, so we travelled really light. When walking trough the city, we had only the most necessary things with us. Also for my camera I didn’t want to take risks, so I only took my Canon Powershot S95 with me. I finally learned how it works. 😉 I photographed in highest quality .jpg. Images were treated in Lightroom afterwards. I originally intended to show only black and white images, but some things simply must be seen in color. I hope you like my selection

Some highlights:

Gaudi’s Casa Batllo:

Citylife:

Laribal Gardens, Miro Museum, Olympic Stadium and Calatrava tower:

Parc Guell:

Sagrada Familia:

The verdict for Barcelona: Great city, lots of things to discover, great weather and fine food if you know what to look for.
The verdict for the Camera: Small camera with potential, tucks away in about any pocket, good battery life, fairly good image quality. Lens distortions can be annoying sometimes, not as quick as a DSLR.

Hope to see you soon.
Comments are welcome, questions as well!!

Ludwig