Recently I was contracted to shoot this building for Illumivision, an LED lighting company based out of Canada. I have shot for Illumivision several times now and have enjoyed working with them and getting a chance to capture their fantastic LED products on buildings and installations in and around the South.
This particular project, the Adventure Science Center, is located in Nashville, Tn. On a Friday afternoon I headed up to Nashville from Atlanta for an evening of shooting to capture the lit-up pyramid prominently seen from the interstate coming into the downtown area. When I arrived it was still light out and the center was still open, so I had a chance to meet Dan who works at the Center.
While waiting around for the sun to do it’s thing, get below the horizon, I wondered over to a park just behind the center and an old Civil Ware fort ruins called Fort Negley Park. After getting some history, and a chance to walk Sally some, I took a drive downtown. I probably should have parked and walked around but eventually ended up driving in and around the area until the sun went down.
I started the shoot from just south of the center facing the partial view of the Nashville Skyline, with the Center in the foreground. As I progressed in the shooting I eventually made it up closer and got some nice detail shots of the Pyramid that the LED lights were illuminating. The real challenge with this shoot was the exposure time. The pyramid had 4 sides and each side was a different color. That though was not the challenge, but the fact that the LED’s changed color every 3 seconds was.
As it got darker this became something I had to adjust for as I kept the same shutter speed but then had to make other camera adjustments like with the ISO and my aperture. Something I typically do when shooting long exposures, and primarily night shooting, is to have my aperture set to the “sweet spot” (around f8 to f11) and to keep my ISO at 100. Keeping the aperture at the “sweet spot” helps for the most crisp shot at that aperture. Keeping the ISO at 100 is usually desirable to keep the grain to a minimum. Of course, with only a 3 second exposure time this probably wasn’t as big a deal than I made it out to myself when I was shooting, and as I look back on it. Anyhow, for every shot I took I tried to capture at least 3 exposures to have different shots with different lighting scenarios. This worked out great as the client wanted this option for some possible animation when displaying the images on their website.
Another Challenge was the topography. The building sat up on a hill and so most of my vantage points were below the building, which mean I was shooting up at the building. What this does is cause vertical alignmnet distortion. This is correctable in post, but also takes time. I would love to be shooting with a tilt shift, but that is sitting outside of my budget at the moment.
when it was all said and done I snapped off 223 shots (remember many of these were of the same shots at different exposures). All that for the selection of the best 3 – from the client’s perspective. And of course this perspective was the best perspective as they are paying the bills 🙂 The shots came out well and I hope the client is happy with them (the shots are in the mail as I type this). I hope they serve Illumivision well.