It was an interesting week this week.  First l sold some images that are going to go on a web site (that’s pretty exciting), and secondly I was asked to photograph this building.

The building is the Escala Luxury Condominium building located on 4th Avenue in downtown seattle.  It’s also the the residence of the leading male character in a very popular novel.  Anyway I was asked to shoot the building so went there this afternoon to check it out.

As buildings go it’s very nice.  Has nice lines and a distinctive curve around one of it’s sides.  But finding a good composition was a challenge.  Firstly the building is very tall and getting it all in was difficult, hence the reason I shot it in portrait orientation.  Then there was the traffic and people, there were loads of them and they were in the way most of the time.  Finally the end of the building with the interesting curve I mentioned above, was ruined by a large number of overhead power-lines and the look of the 1st floor windows that were full of ugly advertisements for buying a condo.

Consequently I had to shoot the building from the front.  So I crossed the road and started capturing some shots.  I tried some with the building straight (with the bottom horizontally level), but they looked boring.  So I tried tilting the camera a little.  There were some trees across the road too and standing behind one added a little foreground interest in the image.  Eventually I ended up with this image.

I really liked the trees, I thought they added a lot to the picture, but unfortunately there was a lamp post directly infront of the building, right in front of the Escala sign.  So when I got home I had to remove the lamp post.  Then I had to get another copy of the Escala sign and add the “E” that was obscured by the lamp post.  (Hope this doesn’t ruin the image for you).

So I ended up with an image I liked.  The problem was the image was a little monochrome – boring.  So I tried it in black and white and got a much more compelling image.  I even printed it out to see what it looked like on paper (it looked really good).  Hope you like it too.

Tonight Carter asked Master Chief to help him with his hair.  He looks so much better now don’t you think?

I thought tonight we’d go back to Las Vegas.  On my last day there we had some time before our flight left, so decided to check out some of the other hotels.  (It was pretty hot outside so the idea of spending time in an airconditioned building sounded great).  As Caesars Palace is so grand, we thought we’d go there.

Most of the hotels aren’t too keen having photographers walking around the casino taking pictures, but they don’t mind you shooting images in the shopping areas.  Which is cool because Caesars has the most amazing shopping mall – I guess that’s what you call it but it’s like no other mall I’ve ever seen.  Firstly everything is inside but to make it look like you’re walking the streets of Italy they paint the ceilings blue with fluffy clouds.  Then every now and then you reach a super elaborate section with big pillars and statues and usually a beautifully decorative ceiling with amazing sky-lights giving you lots of natural light.

Of course you can’t have a mall without a huge fountain!  They have several, some with water features that shoot water across the room.  Again very very impressive.  At the end of the shopping area (I can’t bring myself to call it a mall again), is this three floor collection of shops which again is very decorative (following the theme of Caesars Palace of course).  They have these beautifully curved escalators the take you to each floor and some of the most expensive shots your’ve ever seen.  Think of a designer label and it’s here.

As the shopping area at the end was so impressive I had to take a picture.  So I set up the tripod so it overlooked the majority of the shops and captured the image below.  The light in the area wasn’t that bright (there was some natural light coming down from skylights above) but I had to have a long exposure to get the shot.  This of course meant that any movement looked blurred but I quite like this in the image (especially the people on the escalators).

Looking at the image I think it would make a pretty cool puzzle, there’s so much detail so finding matching pieces would be fun.  The colors are all bright and the statues are great (never photographed so many boobs in my life).

The guys got some “personal” flashlights tonight, all color co-ordinated to their uniforms. I think they looked pretty cool!

I’m not sure why we like the images we do, I guess it’s all down to personal taste.  Sometimes there’s an image with an interesting subject that attracts you, other times it’s a place you’ve been to or want to visit, maybe even someone you love or care for.  Hopefully you like an image because it creates an emotion of some kind in the viewer.  But every now and then you find a picture that you like but you don’t really know why.

Tonight’s image kind-a falls into that category.  Truth be told I know why I like the image, but it’s not obvious.  I think the literal definition of photography comes from Greece and means “drawing with light”, and it’s not until you really start to dabble in photography that you start to learn how important light is.  The reality is it doesn’t matter how amazing or beautiful a subject is, it it’s badly lit it won’t be a great photograph.  Learning to manipulate late and use it well is a never ending challenge.  This is something I’m still working on

One of the reasons I like HDR photography is that you get to draw with light after the fact.  Sometimes when you take a picture you can’t control the light, you can’t manipulate it how you want and you get what you get.  With HDR you take multiple images with different exposures and when you get home you create a new image by merging the images together, taking the light from each picture to produce the desired result.

Today’s image was taken at the Mandalay Bay. We walked past this restaurant every day and there was never anyone in it.  I loved the lighting and thought it would make a great HDR.  This was made up from 3 separate images and then merged together in Photomatix and Photoshop.  While the direct lights are a little bright they don’t detract from the image.  In the end I think the image came out pretty well.

The Halo guys decided to play on their climbing frame today, lots of exercise, loads of fun.

Last Saturday morning I was in Las Vegas and had nothing to do until my flight home later that night. “Nothing to do in Las Vegas” I hear you ask?  How is that possible?  Well I’m not really into gambling and photographing Las Vegas in the day just isn’t as much fun as shooting at night.  So I decided a field trip was in order.  As Hoover Dam was only 30 minutes away (and I’d never been) I thought that would be a cool destination.

So Chris and I hired a car and we set off (just as a side note, it cost less to hire a car for 24 hours than the taxi fair too and from downtown Las Vegas, the night before).  It took us around 45 minutes to get to Hoover Dam (not including our stop over at Lake Mead and this scary casino right by Lake Mead for some breakfast), and it was ridiculously hot – well over 100 degrees.

Now I would imagine that Hoover Dam is really fantastic at night, I’m told that it’s all lit up and looks amazing.  If truth be told we tried to hire a car the night before but we got out of the conference after the Avis rental desk was closed.  But during the day in September it’s pretty hard sunlight everywhere.  Don’t get me wrong Hoover Dam is amazing especially when you realize when it was built (back in the early 1930s), but getting really cool pictures with the sun directly over head on the border of Nevada and Arizona, is pretty difficult.

Having said that I did capture a few images that I will post over the next few weeks but the first one I’m sharing is a picture of one of the two bronze angels.

On the Nevada side of the dam there are two winged figures that flank the American flag.  Sculptor Oskar Hansen (who created these figures) has an overly complex description of what these statues are and what they represent, I really don’t understand any of that, but I thought the figures looked really great.  There are actually two of these figures (or Angels) and I tried shooting them from quite a few angles.  I tried to compose an image with the figures all in frame, but there were a load of wires crossing the top of the statues and while I could have removed those in post processing, the full size images didn’t really look that great.

The thing that caught my eye is the image below.  I loved the contrast in the statue (the fact that I caught directly lit and shadowed parts of the figure) and the sky behind – which looked great I thought.  So this is the image I chose to post.  Home you like it.

Master Chief and Carter were arguing tonight over who had the bigger brain.  Master Chief proved his was larger when he got it out to show Carter!

OK this is a weird one.  I took this picture the other day of the Washington Mutual Tower and I kind-a like it but don’t know why!

I don’t think there is anything special about the building, I mean it’s not the tallest in Seattle or anything (it’s the second) and to be honest it’s not even called the Washington Mutual Tower anymore, it’s actually called the “1201 Third Avenue” (but I like the old name more).  Although some people call it the “Spark Plug” which is kind of funny I guess.

The image was shot just after the sun went down and the lights in the building were on.

So what do I like about the image? Well the building is a cool shape and symmetrical, which I think looks good.  It has loads of windows that make a cool pattern (I’m struggling aren’t I?) – I like the little square box on the top.  Anyway, I liked it enough to post.

So what about the building?  Well apparently it’s an office block and was built in 1985, it’s 772 feet high and the 60th highest building in the US.  That’s all I could be bothered to find out.  Oh and it looks cool against a dark blue sky.

Cater found today that he likes Goldfish, quite a lot!