Skyscraper Window Architecture Photography in Albuquerque New Mexico

Skyscraper Window Architecture Photography in Albuquerque New Mexico

Architecture Photography Tips for Albuquerque

I used to get to make architecture photos a lot, actually, when teaching DSLR photography lessons in Florida. I would meet my students in downtown St. Petersburg or Tampa where there are both tall office buildings and fancy skyscraper condos too. So i found myself in downtown ABQ last Friday evening and realized, I have not seen a view like this before so pointed my Nikon with 50mm lens on up toward this interesting building.

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High Contrast Red Filter turns blue sky to night in Silver Efex Pro

Signature Place in downtown St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 1/320th with high contrast red filter in Silver Efex Pro appliedWhen teaching photography at night I often tell my DSLR photography lessons students that with long exposures you can turn night into day.  Well, with a high contrast red filter, you can do the harder reverse of that, which would be turning day into night!  It is actually not hard if you have the awesome Silver Efex Pro plugin, which I have been raving about for years.  

The Nik Silver Efex Pro interface with high contrast red filter applied to the imageFirst I went through my normal digital photo editing workflow on this architecture shot of Signature St. Petersburg.  I made a duplicate and sent it into Silver Efex Pro.  From there all that needed to be done to change the color image to black & white and the blue sky into a night one was to click on the high contrast red filter preset.  No mess, no fuss.

Bird's Eye View of Tokyo from Shinjuku Nikon Headquarters Black & White

Bird's eye view of Tokyo from Nikon Headquarters in Shinjuku - Nikon D80 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 1/40thAll you see above I could navigate precisely on foot, by bike or on train, for this was my home neighborhood for six years.  Yet I never saw it from so high above until the very end of my time there.  If it looks like a maze I can assure you it most certainly was.  Passing through it on foot or by train was a constant series of turns, not just left and right, but also up and down in and out of stations, underground street passages and long, very long tunnels.  By far the fastest way to get from point A to point B was by bike, especially if one had the nerve to ride out in traffic, though by day or night I only ever found a section of about a quarter mile of road in that entire maze to be risky to ride on.

When friends visited it was a point of pride to lead them on a dizzying path through routes that took months to learn.  

I made this photograph from the Nikon Headquarters high up in a skyscraper in Shinjuku, the hub of Tokyo, if not its heart.  I lived a 10-minute walk from here, which in Tokyo walking time, is a short distance.  You could get hands on with every lens Nikon makes and also bring your Nikon DSLR in for a free sensor cleaning if it was still within warranty.  You were also treated to the view you see above.  I of course had to shoot through windows to make this shot.  I erased the spots on the windows visible in the sky portion of the photo.

If you can believe it, this place felt as much like home to me as any place I have ever lived.  

Look for repeating patterns in architecture shots

Using balconies as a repeating pattern composition - Signature St. Petersburg tower - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 1/500th - black & white processing using Silver Efex ProFinding and using repeating patterns in your photographs is my photography tip for this week.  In the above photograph of Signature St. Petersburg I composed the shot to exaggerate row after row of balconies so that they came to form a repeating pattern.  I also held my camera off-angle to create a leading line with the far edge of the skyscraper and also the interior contour that leads the viewer's eye from lower right to upper left.  Thus, in this architecture shot I combined repeating patterns with leading lines in an attempt to produce an interesting photograph.

Once again using leading lines and repeating patterns to create interest - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 1/200th - black & white processing in Silver Efex ProI used the exact same techniques in composing this architecture shot as well, just put into portrait orientation.  In composing and later in cropping, I paid special attention to make sure each leading line ended exactly at the edge of the frame.  Note how the lower left the line ends right into the corner, and for the small line in the upper right, just before the roof went upwards to the right, I cropped it there to keep the line straight.

Lastly, I chose black & white processing for both these images because there was cloud cover and the building itself lacks color, so no reason to leave what little color was left in the image.

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  • St. Petersburg Downtown Waterfront Skyline at Twilight

    St. Petersburg Florida waterfront at Twilight, this image available for fine art print & commercial license - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 10 sec tripod mounted with cable releaseThe waterfront of St. Petersburg, Florida is home to the third largest continuous waterfront park in North America (behind Vancouver and Chicago).  This is why at the very edge where the city meets Tampa Bay as viewed from the water the first thing you will see are trees.  This long park system is my favorite part of the entire city.  

    I made this photograph from a secret-ish spot on The Pier allowing for a low near water-level viewpoint of the St. Petersburg skyline.  The ten second exposure allowed for some motion blur on the surface of the water and for pulling out the last remaining light in the twilight sky. 

    Architecture Photography Tip put building edge parallel to edge of the frame

    This photography tip is about how to frame architecture shots with regards to the sides of the frame.  When photographing a skyscraper like the one above, I like to get the opposite edge (in this case the left) of where the building starts from to end with a part of the building parallel to that edge.  

    In the shot on the right, the top of the building is at an angle to the left of the frame.  To me this looks awkward and makes the viewer's eye uncomfortable when following the lines of the skyscraper.  In the shot on the left, I composed so that the top of the building ended up parallel to the left (opposite edge) of the frame.  The viewer's eye starts from right to left and continues up through the top of the frame.  

    What do you think about this small, but important composition detail? 

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  • Downtown Tampa Architecture & Landmarks in Black and White

    Sykes Building downtown Tampa Florida black & white - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR on tripod with cable releaseAfter shoots for specific client requests I often find I can create a subsequent set of images from the remaining shots.  Such is the case with these black & white photographs featuring downtown Tampa and surrounding areas and landmarks.  The client wanted landscape orientated shots for a use in an existing website template.  Still, while out making those images I did rotate my DSLR to produce a few portrait orientated ones just in case the client might have a need for them and also just because I thought they would make cool shots and did not want to leave any unmade photographs that I saw the potential for.

    Tampa Theater marquee in black & white - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/11 ISO 200 1/25th single exposure tripod mounted with cable releaseThe client actually chose the above image of Tampa Theatre, which did not standout to me personally in my initial culling, but after editing and convesion to black & white I kind of liked it because of the below eye level composition.  I closed my tripod's legs to use only about half of its full height shooting from just around my own waist level.

    The new Tampa Museum of Art with krew on Hillsborough River - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 1/250th single exposure tripod mounted with cable releaseThe new Tampa Museum of Art building is very modern looking in person.  However, I thought in the photograph above its rectangular architecture made it look more like buildings from the 1950s, especially in black & white.  I saw the crew rowing team and waited for them to come into the shot to make the composition I wanted.

    Tampa First Baptist Church with traffic in black & white - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseI had no idea the above building was the Tampa First Baptist Church.  I saw people coming and going from it while I was in the area over the course of the afternoon and thought it was a courthouse or some other type of government building.  Even while editing it I never even noticed the largest FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH engraved on top of the columns.  I had to look up which building it was in Google to surprisingly find out it was a church.  

    Tampa Downtown Skyscraper Skyline View in black & white - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseThis last photograph is of a much more familiar and oft-photographed subject matter, the downtown Tampa skyline featuring the unique skyscraper in the center, the cylindrical Sykes Building.  The moon can be seen rising in the upper left of the image.  

    I encourage everyone to go through past shoots and see if you can find a whole different photo story than the intended purpose of the shoot from the remaining images.  Be sure and post a link to it in the comments below.