It’s not often you get paid for taking pretty pictures of rocks. But that’s part of the fun of being a photographer; you never know what your next assignment will be.

I was lucky to again be called to shoot some commercial images for the company, LW Stone, a leading provider of natural stone products based here in Northern California. Today was a full day of shooting these very cool looking stone veneers (if my wife had a clue how perfect this product would look around our house, I’d be committed to doing only trade!). We just finished shooting an interior fireplace in a gorgeous home built by local contractor Jerry Tucker. Jerry commissioned a mason to artfully apply these laser-cut stone slabs onto an interior surface that is the centerpiece of the home’s Great Room living space.

It was challenging to photograph as it was important to retain the natural color and texture of the stone, while maintaining a warm “lived-in” look. This required me to cover most of the surrounding windows that were letting in normally desirous North light and substitute them with 3200k Fresnel video lights. Each had a 1/4 CTB filter on so that the glow in the fireplace still looked adequately warm after white balancing to the CTBs. I exposed a series of images for various parts of the subject; a long exposure to strengthen the weak gas fire; an even longer exposure for the shadows; a short exposure for the highlights in the stone veneer; and several others to use in a high dynamic range composite. Taking this many images allows me the greatest flexibility in post to paint in the look I want without having to resort to any PS trickery outside of deftly wielding an erase brush.

After the interiors it was off to shoot the backyard of one of the principles of the company, Scott Lane. This is a place straight out of Sunset Magazine. In fact, I have plans to shoot Scott’s place for Sunset as soon as the finishing touches are completed. Their place truly has the kind of landscaping that challenges any photographer by simply demanding technical perfection on a par with the beauty.

With today’s shoot, we captured a half dozen angles featuring specific aspects of the natural stone for immediate use in web and brochure marketing. I relied on mostly natural light and bracketed exposures of which I will composite in PS to creat high dynamic range images. Of course, at five minutes before and after sunset I was hustling to get every last angle I could imagine before the Magic Light extinguished. When I returned to the studio tonight, I dumped all the files to an array and a backup drive and saw that each of the images were just what I was expecting. Hopefully, the client will agree.

Stone Patio from LW Stone

Stone Patio from LW Stone

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