Architectural & interior photography at Southfield Town Center in Southfield, Michigan

In early May I was contacted by Deutsche Bank in New York about providing architectural photography of the Town Center complex in Southfield, Michigan. This is a landmark complex in the Metro Detroit area and with it’s reflective gold glass and distinctively shaped office towers, it’s impossible to miss the Town Center complex as you head north on the Lodge Freeway from Detroit. Located 10 miles north of Detroit, the upper floors of the office towers afford a good view of the Renaissance Center to the south and the surrounding Detroit suburbs. The complex consists of 5 office towers totaling 2.2 million square feet.

Being involved in the purchase of the Town Center complex by 601 West Cos. from Blackstone Group, Deutsche Bank wanted good quality architectural and interior photography but they did not have the luxury of waiting for ideal weather. Deutsche Bank told me that they need 3 -5 exterior photographs and 1 or 2 good interior photographs of the large atrium.

One shoot day the sky was cloudier than I would have liked, but do to my client’s schedule I had to shoot. As Deutsche Bank was not looking for sunrise or sunset photographs of the exterior, I began shooting shortly before 9:00am. I photographed the exterior from various locations throughout the day and then moved inside to photograph the atrium when the late afternoon sunlit was steaming in through the large glass wall. The final photographs of the day were a couple of exterior photographs taken from a Lodge Freeway overpass north of Southfield Town Center.

Then next day I posted 25 proofs online for my client to review and by 5:00pm had delivered high-resolution digital files of the six photographs that they selected

The results of the day were some nice photographs of the complex and a very happy client. Also encouraging was word that the new owners, 601 West Cos. are planning on spending between $40 and $50 million on upgrades to the complex.

Posted in architectural photographer, architectural photography, interior photography Tagged , , |

Detroit aerial photography over the ice

Detroit Aerial Photography

Detroit Aerial Photography. I received a call on a very cold Saturday morning in January inquiring about the possibility of doing an aerial photography project that day. Andrie Inc is a marine transportation and equipment company located in Muskegon, Michigan. They were transporting a loaded barge through the ice filled waters and wanted aerial photographs as they came through the St. Clair River north of Detroit.

Because of the thick ice, barges are not normally brought through the lakes during the winter. By using two boats and some help from the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley, Captain Phil Andrie was able to navigate the ice filled waters. In sprite of 2013/2014 being one of coldest winters on record for this area, the loaded barge was successfully delivered to its final destination.

Pilot Nick McMahon of McMahon Helicopters circled the ships at differing altitudes and distances while I did the aerial photography using a Nikon D800. After 20 minutes of shooting we called it a wrap and headed back to the warmth of the hanger.

The objective of the aerial photography was to illustrate the difficult conditions that Captain Phil Andrie was facing in bringing the barge through the ice. My client and I were both happy with the photographs and hopefully, the next time that they need a Detroit Aerial Photographer they’ll call again!

Aerial photograph of a barge being brought through the ice in the St. Clair River north of Detroit

CCGS Samuel Risley clearing a path through the frozen St. Clair River

Aerial photograph of CCGS Samuel Risley leading a barge through the ice in the St. Clair River north of Detroit

Aerial photograph of a barge being brought through the icy St. Clair River north of Detroit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aerial photograph of the Samuel Risley leading a barge through the ice in the St. Clair River north of Detroit

Transporting a barge through the frozen St. Clair River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Aerial photography Tagged , |

Night photography Madison Building, Detroit

Communication Associates needed an architectural photographer to produce twilight exterior photographs of the historic Madison Building in Detroit. I was pleased to get the call and have another opportunity to work once again with their creative director, Beth Blase. Beth is a bit of a task master and always has a shot list that I think is too big for the time we have to shoot, but somehow we always get the shots that she needs and have a good time doing it.

It was a cold late afternoon in December when we met outside the Madison Building to get started on the photography. Because the Detroit Opera House, a Ticket Master Office and a couple of coffee shops are all nearby, we had are hands full trying to persuade people not to park in front of the Madison Building while we were shooting. We had already made arrangements with the tenants to turn on all of the interiors lights, so once I had the camera set up it was just a matter of waiting for the right light while Dan, my assistant and Beth kept cars away from the building.

All in all in was a productive evening at the Madison Building for this Detroit Architectural Photographer!

Night photograph of the Madison Building in Detroit

Detroit’s Madison Building at Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night photograph of the sign at the Madison Building in Detroit

Madison Building sign at night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

claytonstudio.com

Posted in Detroit architectural photography Tagged , , |

First National Building Detroit

First National Building, Detroit

First National Building Detroit. When Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services needed an architectural photographer to do interior photography in some of the newly refurbished and renovated spaces in the historic First National Building in Detroit, I was lucky enough to get the call. The interior renovation work was still in the early stages but new interior photography was needed for marketing purposes. Of course, being a true architectural photographer, I had to do a couple of exterior photographs of this great building!

This is one of the truly great buildings of Detroit. Designed by Albert Kahn in the Neoclassic style and completed in 1930, this 26 story building features limestone construction, 3 story tall Corinthian Columns and incredible interior detailing. With over 800,000 square feet of floor space, the First National Building is one of the largest buildings in Detroit.

Photograph of the First National Building, Detroit by architectural photographer Curt Clayton

First National Building, Detroit

Corinthian Column detail, First National Building, Detroit photo by architectural photographer Curt Clayton

Corinthian Column detail, First National Building, Detroit

Elevator, First National Building, Detroit by architectural photographer Curt Clayton

Elevator, First National Building, Detroit

Elevator detail, First National Building, Detroit by architectural photographer Curt Clayton

Elevator detail, First National Building, Detroit

Ceiling detail, First National Building, Detroit by architectural photographer Curt Clayton

Ceiling detail, First National Building, Detroit

 

Posted in architectural photographer Tagged , |

Interior photographer U of M Law Library Reading Room

University of Michigan Cook Law Library Reading Room

My interior photography project at the University of Michigan Cook Law Library Reading Room began with a series of “before” photographs for the architects. We spent a full day photographing the main reading room from different angles and also photographing the building’s lower level corridor and offices and public spaces in adjacent Hutchins Hall.

When the renovation work (by Lord Aeck Sargent Architects) was completed one year later, my assistant and I returned and spent another day on the interior photography of the beautifully redone space. The transformation was amazing. The magnificent ceiling had been cleaned and new uplighting was installed that illuminated the ceiling. Tables and reading lamps were all refurbished and new high efficiency bulbs were installed in the reading lamps. To ease eyestrain caused by hours of reading, the overall room illumination was raised which lowered the contrast between the ambient light levels and the reading lamps on the tables. Raising the overall illumination also helped reveal the beautiful details in the woodwork and ceiling. Replacing the old cork floor with new cork also helped to brighten the space and return the reading room to its original beauty. As an interior photographer, projects don’t get much better than this! Photography by architectural photographer Curt Clayton. ClaytonStudio.com

University of Michigan Cook Law Library Reading Room by architectural photographer Curt Clayton

University of Michigan Cook Law Library Reading Room

Posted in interiors photography Tagged |

Interior photographer Aviora Medical Spa

This interior photography project was done several years back but it’s interesting for a couple of reasons. Dr. Russell Craig, the owner of Aviora Medical Spa 20 miles north of Detroit in Clinton Township, Michigan, is a board certified plastic surgeon. He also designed Aviora Medical Spa, has his own line of skin care and beauty products under the Aviora name and he runs triathlons in his spare time. At the time of the photo shoot Dr. Craig had just been informed that he had qualified for the Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii. Can you say “over achiever”?

My assistant and I began the interior photography after the spa had closed for the day. Dr. Craig, who takes an active role in all aspects of his business, was with us the entire time to approve camera angles and to help with propping the rooms for photography.

The lighting in the spa is quite nice and we needed very little supplemental lighting for this project. A couple of the views required the use of a Lowel Fren-L 650 and a Lowel DP with a silver umbrella for fill, but for the most part the lighting was very simple. We wanted to keep the mood of the lighting just as Dr. Craig had designed. For an interior photographer, this was a very different and interesting project.

Main interior hallway at Aviora Medical Spa

Main interior hallway at Aviora Medical Spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies shower room at Aviora Medical Spa

Ladies shower room at Aviora Medical Spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Private lounge at Aviora Medical Spa

Private lounge at Aviora Medical Spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massage room at Aviora Medical Spa

Massage room at Aviora Medical Spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manicure room at Aviora Spa

Manicure room at Aviora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aviora Spa in Macomb Township, Michigan

Aviora Spa in Macomb Township, Michigan

Posted in interiors photography Tagged , |

Interior photography at Zurich Insurance Canada

Interior photography at Zurich Insurance Canada

Interior photography often has many more complications than just composition and lighting. One of the biggest issues facing a photographer of a commercial interior space is the use of the space. Who will be occupying the space and will they be receptive to a photographer and assistant setting up cameras and lights while people are trying to work?

In the case of the Toronto offices of Zurich Insurance Canada, they had several floors of a major downtown building redone for their new Canadian head office. With the expense of the build out and the associated costs of moving all of their people and equipment, they wanted to get back to work ASAP!

In this case we were very fortunate. Turner Construction, the General Contractor on the project, had a very good relationship with the people at Zurich and we were allowed to come in late in the afternoon (after business hours) and photograph their interior space. I would have liked to schedule the photography to take advantage of the spectacular views afforded by this building in Toronto’s financial district, but an architectural photographers responsibility is to make the best of whatever situation presents itself. I always keep in mind that we are in the space at the sole discretion of the people working there.

Interior photography at Zurich Insurance Canada

Reception lobby at Zurich Insurance Canada

Posted in interior photography, interiors photography, Toronto interior photography Tagged , , |

Aerial photography over the Detroit River

I received a call from a marine transportation company that wanted a Detroit aerial photographer to capture photographs of its tug boat bringing a Jack Up Barge down the Detroit River and past the Detroit skyline. They wanted some good aerial photographs for their web site and marketing material and were willing to pay the extra cost for photography from a helicopter. I contacted Nick McMahon at McMahon Helicopters in Canton, Michigan. Nick is a great pilot with many hours at the controls of the Bell Jet Ranger. Since we had to time the flight with the arrival of the barge in Detroit, we would not be able to wait for ideal weather. The tug boat captain was willing to slow down to give me more shooting time while he sailed past Detroit, but if it was cloudy he was not about to stop and wait for the sun to come out. If I had been able to schedule the flight based on the weather, I would have waited until the following day when the sky was much clearer. But all in all it worked out very well. Nick made my job of shooting very easy. He seemed to know just where to position the helicopter to give me the best shots and on several occasions brought the helicopter down to within a few feet of the water. Aerial photography over the Detroit River, or any body of water, requires extra caution. The great thing about working with an experienced pilot like Nick is that I can concentrate 100% on my photography while he safely positions the helicopter for the best shots. email: curt@claytonstudio.com

Aerial photography over the Detroit River

Aerial photography over the Detroit River. Aerial photograph of tug boat pushing a jack up barge down the Detroit River.

Tug boat Meredith Ashton pushing a jack up barge down the Detroit RIver

Aerial photography over the Detroit River. Low level aerial photograph of tug boat pushing a jack up barge down the Detroit River.

Aerial photograph of tug Meredith Ashton pushing a jack up barge down the Detroit River.

Posted in Aerial photography Tagged , , |

Detroit architectural photographer

Detroit architectural photographer

Being a Detroit architectural photographer, I should be used to this weather, but I’ve had just about enough cold, snow, ice, freezing rain and more snow for one winter. I’m not sure how people do it in areas of the world that are really cold. Working outside when it’s -10F is not too bad when you are properly dressed, but in the mid-west we know that this is temporary and it is going to warm up in a few weeks. Somehow that makes it much easier to put up with working outside in the cold. I can’t imagine living in a place like Barrow, Alaska where the average mean temperature for July is only 40.4 degrees! How do you work outdoors when it’s -45F?

Like most people living in the U.S. mid-west or southern Ontario, I enjoy the different seasons. Autumn can be spectacular and a snowy winter can be fun and beautiful. One of the great joys of being an architectural photographer is the opportunity to spend so much time outdoors while photographing breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. But this cold weather is outstayed it’s welcome and I am very ready for spring!

Detroit architectural photographer

Woodward Tribute in Pontiac, Michigan on a snowy winter night.


Roses against a red brick wall at the Chass Center on Fort Street in Detroit.

Roses against a red brick wall at the Chass Center on Fort Street in Detroit.

Posted in architectural photography, Detroit architectural photography Tagged , |