Recently whilst in architect designed Islington (London) I received a call from a Yorkshire based company to photograph a new pod that was about to be commissioned at the University of Exeter. Checking the website out these Yorkshire pods would have fitted in well where I was so it looked like an exciting brief.
Upon returning to Devon to be brutally honest the site visit was a bit of a let-down. Nothing wrong with the building, it was absolutely as hoped for. No, the problem to me, photographically, was that it was sat hidden away within the confines of a larger building. What this meant to me was that the striking external shots that I had visualised weren’t really a possibility. What I could communicate however was how well the new building could utilise a small space and of course the high quality of the provision.
Pod-Space describe themselves as supplying:
Award-winning and stylish ecological studios for gardens, commercial land or public sector.
To my eyes that’s what I have photographed, I like the building, it immediately felt like a good place to be. Pod-Space add:
We have the expertise and infrastructure to develop sizeable structures including state-of-the-art eco classrooms and community pods, green space buildings for commercial use such as stylish eco holiday retreats or company offices and advanced eco home pods tailored to your individual requirements.
Inside there were a series of seminar rooms, a well considered colour choice and pleasing graphics on the internal window walls. The spaces were well lit and the use of glass on the internal walls made the facility feel airy, modern and relaxed.
Shooting Tethered for Architectural Photography
I would like to report that the shoot ran smoothly but on this occasion it didn’t. Unfortunately as I walked through one door with my camera equipment, men walked in the other end of the building with HUGE cardboard boxes full of whiteboards that were to be placed on in each room. There’s no point in doing anything other than going with the flow at a time like this, the finishing touches to the building were clearly more important.
In the end it became a weekend shoot, the building was empty, the light was good and there was calm. This kind of work is simple and methodical. I chose to shoot tethered firing straight to the Mac. Working this way previews are immediately available to check sharpness, composition and lighting balance. The rooms were to be commissioned the following week so this really was the time to get it nailed.
Although I had brought a car-load of equipment including studio lighting my desire was to shoot in the natural light. Having already discussed this with the client the plan was to avoid the overly lit styles more often seen in estate agents and property pages. The aim was to show that the rooms were well lit in their own right and that the room’s own internal lighting was well balanced. Also it was important to show the neighbouring labs, though the increasingly bright day wasn’t about to make lighting balance easy. The individual rooms were photographed with lights on and lights off but no added lighting was used.
The camera was the Nikon D800e with the 14-24 ƒ/2.8 or the 24-70 ƒ/2.8 which clearly takes the polariser more neatly and is useful for controlling all of those reflective surfaces. Tripod mounted on one of my first ever bits of gear, the Manfrotto Triman and hooked up to the Mac with the help of TetherTools for stability. My eldest son Ollie assisted me, home from his final term at univesity it seemed like a reasonable way to punish a young man who had just submitted his dissertation and is about to sit his finals!
(The news back from Yorkshire is positive.)
Hi Andrew – they look great!
Thanks for your help with these – I’ll let you know when we have some other projects