On Location - UW ME&S Building

Testing out a new ladder/tripod set-up while taking a few photographs for Construction Specialties of the new University of Washington Molecular Engineering & Sciences building by ZGF Architects.

As a Husky undergrad alumnus and graduate school dropout, it felt great to be back on campus. Frisbee golf through the Quad and down to Drumheller Fountain! Who's with me??!!?....

UPDATE: I've had a few questions about my "ladder/tripod" set up. It really should be called "ladder/monopod." It's essentially a geared head fixed to a heavy duty light stand and mounts to the ladder via a Super Clamp. It's quite sturdy though best results are had by making the necessary camera adjustments and then climbing down from the ladder and releasing the shutter with a remote trigger. I'm working on a few changes to make it even more stable.

VA Hospital for HDR Architecture

The VA Hospital of Seattle opened it's brand new Emergency Department last month. Designed by HDR Architecture the new ED is pretty high tech inside and out.

Of particular awesomeness is the sweeping front elevation: a wall of thick glass containing hundreds of LED lights that can all be independently controlled. By day the glass is a calm light blue color, but come nightfall the entire front facade can display any color in any pattern one chooses (that would be the one who knows how to work all the buttons and dials on the control panel of course).

Umpqua Bank for Ditroen

I recently photographed the new Umpqua Bank flagship location on Queen Anne. The interiors of the newly remodeled Umpqua Bank locations are the result of a collaboration between Ditroen and the Miller Hull Partnership and are very cool and "un-bank-like," with free wi-fi laptop tables, kid friendly play/hangout areas, and a coffee and snack station. The Queen Anne location even has a projection screen hooked up to a Wii!

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New Old Digs for Rice Fergus Miller

Rice Fergus Miller had me ferry out to the peninsula recently to round out the photography of their newly renovated headquarters for the upcoming 2011 AIA Awards. Not only did they take a Sears automotive warehouse that had been abandoned for 30 years and turn in to a tricked out new workplace, but they did it all to LEED Platinum standards.

75% of the existing structure was reused and the building is insulated so well that if the outside air temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees no active heating or cooling of the space is needed. Check out the 15' Big Ass Fan that manages air circulation within the space.

The Kolstrand Building

Well this post has been a long time coming. I had been wanting to photograph the Kolstrand Building since late last year but conflicting schedules and poor weather conspired against me. The interior spaces were photographed early this year but it wasn't until just a few weeks ago that the weather cleared enough so that I was able to get a good photograph of the exterior.

Located in Ballard Avenue's Landmark Historic District, the Kolstrand Building is Graham Baba Architect's revisioning of an old marine hardware warehouse in to an ultra-cool mixed use space. On the ground floor you have the Dutch Bike Company and two great eateries: Ethan Stowell's new restaurant Staple & Fancy and the coolest oyster bar I've ever seen, The Walrus & The Carpenter.

Upstairs are the lovely ladies of Duo PR and a trio of awesome creatives: Wintr, Turnstyle, and Stoke. It's like a one-stop shopping place to start your unique business. You can come up with your idea, get help with your website, advertising and PR, graphic design, brand management, and take new clients to dinner and drinks all in the same building!

Olive Way Starbucks

Last week I photographed the newly remodeled Olive Way Starbucks store the weekend before it's grand opening/unveiling to the public. Front exterior of Starbucks Olive Way Store

There has been a lot of buzz around this store for a number of reasons but primarily because it represents a major new direction for Starbucks. While both "inspired by Starbucks" stores in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood have been serving beer and wine for almost a year, The Olive Way store will be the first branded Starbucks store to serve beer and wine (after 4pm).

The Olive Way store is also the first branded Starbucks store to really get a significant interior and exterior design update and it looks fabulous, especially if you had seen what it looked like before the remodel. Since the store was not yet open to the public, we had the luxury of photographing during the day instead of the middle of the night. The location has great Southern and Eastern exposure and gets wonderful natural daylight all day long.

Dining Table for Sutherland

Photographed a gorgeous custom dining table this week for Sutherland on location at Interior Environments headquarters here in Seattle. Interior Environments does some of the best custom cabinets, furniture, and architectural millwork around. The table is a beautiful pairing of steel and wood and with extension leaves is almost eight feet long and weighs 700lbs! To give you a sense of scale, the seamless backdrop is 12 feet wide.

Shooting a piece like this on location outside of a studio definitely poses some unique lighting challenges but I think the shots turned out very well.

With the extension leaves attached:

New Sutherland Catalog 2010

The new 2010 Sutherland Furniture Catalog has arrived, hot off the presses and features a number of images that I have shot for them over the years.

I enjoyed flipping through this catalog in particular because there are a number of images (some taken more than three years ago) that I have never really seen in print.

The shot above of Philippe Starck intensely scrutinizing a prototype design was taken in 2007. I had the pleasure of documenting (on three occasions over the course of a year) his collaboration with David Sutherland as they produced his "Robinwood Deluxe" collection for Sutherland. It was a fascinating experience as Starck is a revered figure in the design world and has to be one of the most interesting and energetic persons I have ever met.

He also has the smoothest, coolest French accent ever: Philippe Starck TED Talk

Some more images from the catalog:

Starbucks wins A.R.E. Award

Just announced this month: Starbucks has won two 2010 Design Awards from the Association for Retail Environments. Starbucks was awarded the Grand Prize in the specialty food retailer category for it's two new coffee stores, Roy Street Coffee and Tea, and 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. I had the pleasure of photographing both stores earlier this year.

The Roy Street Coffee and Tea store also won a Sustainability Specialty Award for creative use of reused materials.

Congrats to the whole gang at Starbucks Global Design. You can check out some of the photos by yours truly as well as the other winners on the A.R.E. site.

Inspired by Starbucks

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of photographing three new stores for the Starbucks global design group. In addition to a newer remodel of an already established Starbucks store in downtown Seattle, the other two stores were completely new, designed to look and act and feel more like a neighborhood coffee house. In addition to a new look, the stores serve beer, wine, tea and drip coffees are made to order by the brewing method of your choosing (I don't drink much coffee so it's all Greek to me). In fact, the new stores are not called "Starbucks" but rather named after the area they are located in. The only way to tell who owns them is to notice on the sign that they are "inspired by Starbucks." Since I am not much of a coffee drinker, what really interested me was the interior design of the two new stores. And it's pretty impressive. In addition to being LEED certified, the stores make liberal use of reclaimed materials and furnishings. The 15th Avenue store feels very comfy and rustic. In one area, the pages of Homer's "Odyssey" are used as wallpaper above antique stadium seating. The Roy Street store is quite a bit larger but maintains the cozy atmosphere by having distinct spaces each with their own feel. There is a large area that can be curtained off for indie movie nights and private parties.

The projects were quite challenging to shoot for two reasons. First of all, it was important to the designers that the images showed the natural warmth and "mood" of the stores. This meant keeping additional, stylistic lighting to a minimum. Since the stores were pretty dark (we were shooting at night), I used a big octa to fill in shadows just a bit and occasionally a small spot or two to give texture and contrast to a chair or table. I continue to be impressed by the Nikon D3x's flexibility in post, particularly it's ability to pull detail from very deep shadow areas.

The second difficult part was the shooting schedule. We were on a tight deadline and so the interiors were photographed on back-to-back evenings. We shot from 11pm to 4am two nights in a row. This was the latest that I had ever photographed an assignment. Since I am the consummate professional, I prepared for the shoots by staying up and playing Xbox 360 online till 3am for two nights prior. I thought that the cognitive activity of shooting aliens and calling in napalm air strikes would match that required by the shoots. However, I forgot to account for the physical activity involved in a shoot of this nature. Needless to say, I learned that staying up till 4am is a lot different than WORKING till 4am. Next time I'm going to prepare by playing Xbox while on a treadmill ;-)

A big shout out to Michelle and Lionel from the design group for getting everything looking fabulous and sticking it out with me in to the wee hours of the morning.

You can see a few more images from this project in the commercial section of my website here.