Great Escape in Simpsonville

No, this post isn’t about a photography journey into animation 🙂 One of my flickr contacts, Orbitgal, had made reference to the Simpsons in one of my posts on this project and it cracked me up. It doesn’t take much to do so apparently.

This photography shoot I was hired by Artech, based out of Chattanooga, Tn, to shoot a brand new movie theater that was set to open the day after my shoot. Simpsonville is just south of Greenville, Sc.

I set off on my journey to Greenville from Atlanta on a Sunday afternoon, with plenty of sun and just a really beautiful day. With plenty of time to spare I stopped by Falls park (see Google Map) in Downtown Greenville to snap off a couple of shots of Liberty Bridge and the waterfall that is showcased right in the middle of this urban park. It is pretty cool and of course is marked in the database.


After my little side trip it was time to get to business. After driving around a bit and also getting more concrete directions from Mark at Artech I finally stumbled upon the Theater (yeah, I had driven right by it while searching). The theater is in a suburban type of area and what you typically see in most sprawl type situations here in America.

One thing I was worried about before arriving was the building’s orientation. Something I completely forgot to ask when talking about the shoot with Artech. If you are ever doing an architectural shoot, or shooting anything outside, you have to know this. A complete slip-up on my part and really amateurish. Fortunately, as luck would have it, the building was facing west and set up perfect for my afternoon and early evening shooting (note: this is such an important thing, knowing the suns angles to the object or building you are shooting, so never takes this lightly… I don’t and it really can make or break you shoot).

So, on to the shoot itself… To start with I decided to get some exterior daytime shots. As I stated above I was shooting in the afternoon so the sun was be behind me while facing the building. There was some clouds but mostly blue sky which helped to create good shadow on the building.

After some exterior shots I decided to move indoors. One big problem, and one I have encountered before, was the contractor and operations people with the theater, were in a scurry trying to finish up loose ends and get ready for the grand opening. This of course made for shooting the lobby space quite difficult as there was cleaning going on, people doing stuff, and clutter everywhere. To avoid this I decided to hold off on the lobby space and move into the main IMAX theater, as this was on the list of spaces to shoot. I snapped off shots of the IMAX and then of some of the hallway just outside of the theater entrances (again another requested shot). At this point I was at the mercy of time and had to wait around a bit for both the Lobby to clear up some and for the sun to get lower in the sky. While waiting I met one of the main guys with Parke Construction, Richard Paula, who I had a chance to talk with a bit and offer my photography services. Coincidentally Parke has gone in on some of the shots as well… Thanks Richard.

Once the sun was in its place I was able to get the needed shots of the lobby space. The lobby is hectic in it’s color and design. Movie theaters always seem to have this type of aesthetic. One space just off of the lobby was the bar. Yeah, movie theaters are now starting to serve alcohol… Even in South Carolina. Some of my favorite shots from the interior were in this bar space.

Finally, the sun was well below the horizon and it was time to get those evening/sunset shots. I was blessed this evening to have a really nice clear sky and some great color in the sky. The building too, with all of its neon, I think helped bring out the color even further.

I shot mostly around f11 with varying exposure times, ranging from a couple of seconds up to 30 seconds. My ISO was a constant at 100. In every case I shot with bracketing of 3 exposures… though a couple of occasions I just did 2. The difficulty with shooting the theater outside was the large parking lot and then a long-ish length of building frontage. It is kind of hard to capture a composed shot which has an asphalt foreground, but I think, mostly, that the building’s neon helps to draw your eyes away from it.

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