Category Archives: night photography

Night photography of Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheater

Night photography of Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheater

The Chene Park Amphitheater photography project was part of a multi-building architectural photography project for along time client. I was given a list of seven buildings that had been completed years before but that, for some reason, they had never commissioned photography. Any architectural photographer in Detroit is familiar with Chene Park and the Chene Park Amphitheater. Built in the late 90’s, the Chene Park Amphitheater is a popular concert venue and is also used for graduation ceremonies by many Detroit High Schools. I wanted to provide my client with an architectural photograph that was visually arresting. I scouted the site to determine the best vantage points and then returned on a sunny Saturday morning to do the sunlit photographs. While I felt that these would be nice I knew that night photographs would capture the true feel of the amphitheater. I checked the Chene Park theater schedule of concert dates and then watched the weather. The forecast looked good for the evening of June 25 when Marcus Miller & Jose James would be performing. With sunset at 9:15 I arrived at 9:00pm to set and wait for the best light. About 30 minutes after sunset the sky took on a purplish hue and I watched while the stage lighting cycled through reds, oranges and blue. The blue looked best and contrasted well with the green grass and the orange sodium vapor lamps at the far left and right of the scene. Just before the sky lost its color I made the final digital captures. I think that that my Night Photography of Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheater project was a success.

Night photography Detroit's Chene Park Amphitheater

Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheater at night

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Detroit Medical Center Night Photography

Detroit Medical Center Night Photography

My goal was to produce a dramatic architectural photograph for my client. Parking structures might not be as sexy as a 50 story condo tower, but our modern cites couldn’t survive without them. And in the hands of great designers and builders, these very utilitarian buildings can look as good as the offices they serve. A chance to do night photography at the Detroit Medical Center is the type of project that an architectural photographer loves! This new parking structure for the Detroit Medical Center Heart Hospital utilizes precast concrete panels manufactured by Prestessed Systems, Inc. who hired me to photograph it. The decision to do a night photograph was based on two factors; 1) with a night shot of the building the darkness would hide much of the construction at the south end (far left) of the parking garage. 2) The second, and most important reason is that night photographs look awesome when properly executed. With the sun setting shortly after 9:00pm, we decided to arrive on site at 8:00pm to begin setting up. Once camera position was determined and the tripod and camera locked down, we brought the generator out onto the median (at the far left) and set up 2 Lowel DP lights (with 1000watt bulbs). The first captures were for the sky and the interior lighting of the structure. Once those were done we started the generator and turned on the lights. I started by lighting the south end of the building (far left) and used 2 lights to light approximately 1/3 of the building. We moved the lights and repeated this until we had captures of the entire building well lit. Then it was just a matter of layering the captures together in postproduction. The moon was out when we did the architectural photography, although it was not a full moon. I removed the “real moon” in post and replaced it with a full moon from my files. I love photographing all types of buildings and interiors and all types of architectural photography, but my favorite type of photography has always been night photography. Overall, I’m very happy with this night shot at the DMC.

Detroit Medical Center Night Photography

Detroit Medical Center Heart Hospital parking garage.

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