Sacramento (CA), 1001 Building, Trees, Long Exposure Monochrome (Edit 1)

ISO100, 38mm, f/9, 913 sec (15min 13 sec) 16-stop ND
Sacramento (CA), 1001 Building, Trees, Long Exposure Monochrome

The routine for the last couple of months has been to drive downtown on a Sunday and explore.  Exploring means driving to a set of buildings that might have potential and then walking and looking up at the high rises to see if there is an interesting composition.  Then the real challenge begins.  When the conditions are good, it is still a waiting (or rushing) game as I try to time the appearance or disappearance of clouds for the long exposure shot.

Sundays downtown are all about the lack of people.  Sure, there are still some folks on the busier streets, but around government buildings?  I have these places all to myself.  I can take my time and find what about a particular building interests me, compose the shot, and enjoy the relative quiet around me.  I can setup the tripod in the middle of the sidewalk without getting in the way of other people while enjoying the relative sense of calm round me while marveling at the architecture around me – from the Gold Rush-era brick buildings with their now subterranean storefronts, to mid-century utilitarian office buildings, to today’s modern towers.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, spot metering mode, ISO100, 38mm, f/9, 913 sec (15 min 13 sec), 16 stop ND

Sacramento (CA), 1001 Building, Trees, Long Exposure Monochrome (Edit 1). California EPA Building, Sacramento, CA. February 18, 2018. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Sacramento (CA), Glass Tower Panels, Interior Steel Frame

ISO100, 30mm, f/8, 368 sec (6min 8sec) 16-stop ND
Sacramento (CA), Glass Tower Panels, Interior Steel Frame

Well, with the way the sky turned out (really bright!), there really was not a reason to do a long exposure on this composition (which I did).  Maybe, I will pull this into Photoshop in the future and see what clouds can be recovered.  Or maybe I should go another day and see if I can improve on the sky contrast – and get better clouds.

I had a total of 4 composition shots for this building, with the first 3 being relatively unoriginal as they ended up, come to realize, be very similar to others on the web.  For this final composition, I decided to move right next to the glass tower and noticed a view that was new to me.  While the original intention was to convert this image to monochrome, the green tint of the glass should be left alone, at least with this version.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 30mm, f/8, 368 sec (6 min 8 sec), 16 stop ND

Sacramento (CA), Glass Tower Panels, Interior Steel Frame. CalPERS Lincoln Plaza East, Sacramento, CA. February 11, 2018. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Los Angeles (CA), Stainless Steel Panels, Long Exposure Monochrome

ISO100, 35mm, f/11, 674 sec (11 min 4 sec) 13 stop ND
Los Angeles (CA), Stainless Steel Panels, Long Exposure Monochrome

Honestly, I had higher hopes for this image. While decent, I didn’t give myself the best opportunity to capture great shots. Here was the situation I put myself in: 7 hour drive to spend the holidays with family, a 1 hour window at this location, and I was running late for dinner with my parents.

The point here is not about those excuses, but rather the fact that if are not ready to shoot physically or mentally, the work suffers. This applies to pretty much everything of life. Your output is not at its best when you’re not at your best.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 35mm, f/11, 674 sec (11 min 14 sec), 13 stop ND

Los Angeles (CA), Stainless Steel Panels, Long Exposure Monochrome. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA. December 25, 2017. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

San Rafael (CA), Open Floors, Domed Skylight, Monochrome

ISO100, 18mm, f/13, 1/13 sec
San Rafael (CA), Open Floors, Domed Skylight, Monochrome

I am as guilty as any other photog of planning trips to shoot a certain location or building, even more so when I am shooting landscapes.  When time is limited, I do my research online, create an ordered checklist of locations to shoots, pack up the SUV, and hope the timing works out.  More often than not, I end up leaving my “good gear” in the car and spend time hiking, exploring, and taking snapshots with the cell phone.  I am pretty inefficient at checking off that list of what to shoot.  At least I did get to spend time (almost entirely by myself) at the Marin Civic Center.  That was an unexpected treat as I had a feeling the entire building would be closed on a weekend – but it wasn’t!

I didn’t know it at the time but this trip to Marin County, just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, was a catalyst for the recent conscious decision to spend time in the Sacramento Valley area to capture architectural photography.  Instead of spending at least a couple of hours each way driving to locations in the SF Bay Area and hoping for the right conditions, I would work with what is here locally.  For the last 6 weeks, I have ventured no further than 30 miles from home.  Sacramento certainly is not SF when it comes to the quantity of photogenic buildings or structures, but the challenge of finding an interesting compositions is exciting to me.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 18mm, f/13, 1/13 sec

San Rafael (CA), Open Floors, Domed Skylight, Monochrome. Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, CA. December 23, 2017. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.