Real Estate Photography made easy

O.K., it may not be as glamorous as shooting professional models or as fast paced as breaking news events but photographing real estate can be very rewarding. I used to have to lug my studio lights to make each interior look its best but by using the latest High Dynamic Range shooting methods, I don’t even have to bring a flash. Of course, even with plenty of automation, I’m still spending more time behind the computer than during the shoot but the results are incredible. I recently shot a beautiful home in the foothills with an indoor swimming pool and adjacent game room. The challenge, like in so many situations is to compress the wide range of exposure and color values into one natural image. The game room, despite the roof lighting, was quite dark and the pool room and outside very bright. The first shot is the base image that correctly exposes for the highlights and the one below is the final that is a composite of about 7 images blended together.

Real Estate made easy. Image exposed for highlights.

Real Estate made easy. Image exposed for highlights.

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Real Estate made easy. Final image of 7 blended shots.

 

Wild Time

A friend of ours, Dennis Gulla, is an experienced dog and exotic animal trainer. He recently moved out to California, in part, to assist with the relocation of the Barry Kirshner Wildlife Foundation facilities. The owner and operator is his wife’s aunt, Roberta Kirshner,  who graciously allowed Dennis and his daughter to give my wife and I a private tour of the new facility today prior to its opening to the public. Many of the exotic animals cared for at the Foundation are former (and current) “actors” such as Nyla, a Sumatran Tigress who was the commercial Exxon tiger. Other big cats have recently appeared on the Jay Leno Show and soon on Konan O’Brien. These are wonderful animals that are well-loved and cared for.

Of course I couldn’t resist taking at least a still camera with me.

Photoshop’s cool new tool

As if Content Aware fill wasn’t enough, Adobe has unveiled a significant upgrade to their lens correction technology. Now included in Lightroom 3 and Camera RAW 6.1 (shipping with the CS5 Suite), is the ability to easily correct lens distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting. Now some of these controls have been available in earlier versions, but not in a one-click tool that also provides a great deal of manual overrides and the inclusion of both preset and custom profiles.

For  the latest direct from Adobe

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Adobe CS5 reviewed

I had the opportunity to review the groundbreaking  new suite of media tools from Adobe, CS5 Production Premium, for Videomaker Magazine. For the last month I’ve been testing what I really believe is a revolutionary upgrade. For certain key tasks, like editing multiple layers of HD video, I’m seeing between five an ten fold increases in performance. When was the last time THAT happened in a mere dot upgrade? Check out my full review at Videomaker.

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An Epic Water Event

For the past several years, I’ve been working under contract providing both photography and videography for one of the country’s largest water infrastructure projects. The Freeport Water Authority is a joint agency that has been coordinating the development and construction of an intake facility and pipeline that will provide both the greater Sacramento area and East Bay Municipal Water District customers with new access to fresh water from the Sacramento River.

Today was the ribbon cutting and grand opening featuring speeches from local, state and national dignitaries. In fact, if anyone was counting I think there were about 14 speakers. Yes, this was a big deal and the media coverage was impressive. I haven’t been in a news gaggle like this since my reporting days in the ’80s.

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Lou Mars Goes for the World Record

A friend of mine, Lou Mars, not only operates SmartWebSales.com, but he also is a professional drummer. In fact right now, he is attacking the world record for marathon drumming right here in Chico, CA. You can follow his progress and cheer Lou on here; http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lou-mars-world-record

Or check out some pics of his continuing attempt:

http://www.brianpetersonphotography.com/Client_Proofs/Lou_Mars_Record/

The drum set on the right (the gray one) will be raffled off at the end of the attempt. Tickets are only one dollar and all proceeds will go to the charity Little Kids Rock, an organization that gives instruments and music lessons to needy children.

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Spotlight on Solar

Solar arrays continue to pop up throughout the Northstate. I was commissioned to shoot a series of images for Chico Electric and Mitsubishi Electric today of two new arrays on the Butte College campus.  This campus is now the most solarized community college in the state.

As the panels below are mounted on an angled scaffolding that is already about 8-feet off the ground, this shot required the use of my 21-foot camera crane to get an angle that showed off the project.

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Solar Energy News Series Hits the Air

During the past couple of weeks I had the pleasure to again work in news with ex-colleague and friend, Debbie Cobb from Action News here in Chico. I produced a short three part news series from the footage I’ve acquired during the past 18 months documenting solar installations here in Northern California, the main one, of which was the record-setting rooftop array installed at the Sierra Nevada Brewery by Chico Electric. The first part aired tonight and the following two nights will feature parts two and three.

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Solar Array Aerial Photography

Solar energy projects have been popping up everywhere. I recently was hired to provide aerial photography for five new solar arrays; one here in Chico on top of the Sierra Nevada Brewery installed by Chico Electric, two in the bay area, one just north of Bakersfield and one near Los Angeles by Perpetual Power. It’s really hard not to love your job when it includes grabbing quality images while banking hard turns a mere 1000-feet above the ground. Usually, I hire small Cessnas like 172’s or 162’s because they can fly nice and slow and two of my favorite pilots are Jimmy Bryant who flies air attack missions for CDF during the fire season and Amy Ellis of Bridgeford Flying Services. However,  for the trip near Bakersfield, no regular fixed-wind aircraft were available, so I flew a little after midday in a very cool small ultralight.  Now that time of day is when thermals make for a pretty bumpy ride in a regular plane…so I was very, VERY,  glad to have fast optically stabilized lenses with me!

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My take on being a professional photographer

The word “professional” can mean many things. As a professional photographer, I believe it must include:

  1. Being courteous.
  2. Being creative. But remembering it’s always your wedding, your session, or your company; not simply an opportunity to create “art” (the anti-Prima-Donna clause).
  3. Taking the time to understand and exceed your expectations for fine photography.
  4. Representing my abilities faithfully. This includes knowing when to refer you to another photographer if my abilities won’t meet your expectations.
  5. Not just being on time, but a little early.
  6. Maintaining primary photo equipment.
  7. Maintaining backup photo equipment for when the unexpected happens.
  8. Living a healthy lifestyle to allow for work at the peak of my ability.
  9. Charging a fair price for my services.
  10. Remaining a student of photography. Keeping current on industry trends and techniques along with regular upgrades to improve imaging and service