Category Archives: Architecture

Real Estate Photography: Rennie’s Isle, Edinburgh

Rennie’s Isle is a wonderful location in Leith. It is close to The Shore, a lively area with many restaurants and pubs. It is also a short walk away from the Firth of Forth. It is ideal if you, like me, like strolling along the sea shore.

Living room in Leith Edinburgh, with amazing back light.

It was a lovely flat, and I needed to do it justice. With the windows in the shot, it was not possible to capture the whole dynamic range of the image in one picture. It took three photos blended together in Photoshop to produce this realistic looking image.

Professional photography for your property has quite a number of benefits that make it a worthwhile investment.

Bedroom in rental flat. Leith, Edinburgh

I really love back light, and this is my favourite shot of this bedroom.

Bedroom in rental flat. Leith, Edinburgh

For completeness, I always take a shot from an other angle if some aspect of the room is not visible in the first photograph. In this case, the mirrored wardrobe

The first impression of your property people are likely to get is from the pictures on your website. Showcasing the house or flat with good photography is therefore likely to elect more interest in viewings.

Bathroom in rental flat. Leith, Edinburgh

Professional photography can really pay off for bathrooms. You want them to be looking clean and fresh.

The more people you have interested in renting/buying your property, the more likely you’ll be able to rent it at the best possible price. It’s just the law of supply and demand, with limited supply.

Kitchen in rental flat. Leith, Edinburgh

A nice kitchen can be a wonderful asset in renting or selling your property. It should not be overlooked. And as in the case of the bathroom, you want it to look clean and fresh in your marketing photos.

Kitchen with dining table in rental flat. Leith, Edinburgh

It wasn’t possible to capture all of the features of this kitchen in one single photo. I therefore looked for another angle.

When you have more candidates, you’ll have more choice in selecting your tenants. Better tenants will better take care of your property, saving you money in maintenance and repairs.

Bedroom with lovely view  in rental flat. Leith, Edinburgh

The view from this bedroom is clearly a valuable asset. As in the case of the living room photograph, it took a number of shots blended together in Photoshop to create this image.

Bedroom in rental flat. Leith, Edinburgh

For documentary purposes, I also took a photo of the same bedroom from a different angle to show the mirrored wardrobe.

While I’m not a landlord looking to rent a property, I imagine that knowing the property management company is going to market my rental flat with good photos signals they are willing to go the extra mile in terms of customer service. And I imaging that the more luxurious the property, the more important to the landlord good photography is. And given that property managers take a percentage of the rent, expensive properties are more lucrative and probably more fun to manage (they clearly are more fun to photograph).

Exterior photograph of building in Rennie's Isle, Leith, Edinburgh

Exterior shots can be tricky, given the temperamental nature of the Scottish weather. On this day, it was cloudy, so I tried to limit the amount of sky showing in the photograph. I also love diagonals, as they give pictures a more dynamic look.

Urban Textures

A while back I took some wonderful online photography classes by Kathleen Clemons on Fine Art Nature Photography. Kathleen introduced me to the idea of superimposing textures on my images using Photoshop. In the Fine Art Nature Photography classes we had to chose our subjects from the natural world. So I first added textures to some photographs of flowers and trees, and very much like the results.

As a scientist I learned to develop an inquisitive attitude and a good question to ask is always ‘what if?’.

What if I added textures to images of urban scenes? Urban environments are replete with elements of designs such as lines and shapes, and sometimes colour. This was the reason I was attracted to take the two photographs below.

Newhaven, Edinburgh red warehouse with stairs

I loved the colours, lines and shapes of this building. It is only quite some time after taking this photograph that it occurred to me to try blending some texture with it.

In the above photograph, taken in the area of Edinburgh called Newhaven, the roof and pavement provide some texture to the composition, but by superimposing a texture on top of my original image, I created more of an ‘urban feel’ to the photograph.

Industrial blue building in Musselburgh. Lines, shapes and colour abound in the picture.

I was scouting the area when I saw this industrial building in Musselburgh. I quickly thought of this photographs when I started experimenting blending textures with urban photographs.

I was attracted to the industrial building in Musselburgh by the colour, lines and shapes. The walls also add texture to the composition, which I further enhanced by superimposing a texture of my own. As in the previous image, the final result has more of an ‘urban feel’ in my opinion than the original photograph.


Lausanne, Switzerland and the balance of light

If you are looking to photograph cityscapes with vibrant colours, you should wait for the night to fall. But when I say ‘night’, I really mean wait for ‘the blue hour’. That time of day is after the sun disappears and before the sky turns black. The best time for photography during the blue hour can depend on the season and your geographical location, and definitely doesn’t last an hour.

At this time of day, the fading light from the setting sun roughly matches in intensity the man-made city lights. And the sky turns a deep shade of blue, regardless of the weather. The photograph of the Chateau d’Ouchy (Ouchy Castle), a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland illustrates this.

Ouchy Castle Hotel in Lausanne Switzerland, night photograph with the Castle illuminated in red.

Le Chateau d’Ouchy (Ouchy Castle) in Lausanne, Switzerland after sunset and before the sky turned black. IN winter, this hotel is illuminated in red, which provides a nice colour contrast with the blue sky.

Earlier in the day, the ambient light coming from the sun dominates and the sky is too bright relative to the buildings. You either get an overexposed, washed out sky, or underexposed, dark buildings.

And after the blue hour, the artificial city lights dominate as the sky turns black. The scene is usually too contrasty for a digital camera to handle well. Although it is possible to use several exposures blended together in software to achieve good results. It is a personal choice, but I tend to prefer a deep blue sky over a completely black one. The photograph of the Lausanne Cathedral is an example where multiple exposures were used to achieve the final result. The scene was too contrasty because the sky is very dark shade of blue and the street and building lights much, much too bright relatively speaking. It was a bit after the optimal time for photography, but it still works in my opinion.

Cathedral, Lausanne Switzerland, photographed at night in the winter

The cathedral in Lausanne, Switzerland photographed during a winter night.

Interestingly enough, balancing two quantities to get something striking also happens in physics. In the quantum realm, particles behave like waves, and thus have a wavelength. In liquid helium 4He, when the average wavelength of the helium atoms becomes comparable in magnitude to the average distance between the helium atoms, the system undergoes a transition to a superfluid state, a totally new state of matter.


Vancouver, B.C. – Downtown

I was lucky to spend a couple of weeks in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., visiting relatives.

I had not been in North America for a few years, and the modern architecture of downtown Vancouver provided an interesting change of scenery from the city where I currently live, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Photographically speaking, the abundance of lines and shapes in downtown Vancouver made for interesting photo opportunities.

Lines and shapes: elements of design at work. Modern buildings in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

Lines and shapes: elements of design at work. Modern buildings in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

I probably could stay at Canada Place and take pictures all day. The architecture of this building is fascinating.  Canada Place is located on the waterfront and is the home of the Vancouver Convention Centre and Vancouver’s World Trade Centre.

Detail picture of Canada Place, a landmark in the city of Vancouver, B.C.

Detail picture of Canada Place, a landmark in the city of Vancouver, B.C.

I also love to photograph reflections, and if you look for them in a modern city, they are nearly everywhere. Some of the glass covered buildings of downtown Vancouver reflected their surroundings in interesting ways on that sunny day.

Reflection of a nearby building in a glass covered skyscraper in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

Reflection of a nearby building in a glass covered skyscraper in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

A standard creative exercise consists in combining ideas to create new ones. How about a combination of lines, shapes and reflections? Add colour and you are all set.

Combining a green tower in Vancouver, B.C. and it's reflection in the nearby building with the use of a telephoto lens.

Combining a green tower in Vancouver, B.C. and it’s reflection in the nearby building with the use of a telephoto lens.

Lines, shapes, color and reflections in modern building, Vancouver, B.C.

Lines, shapes, color and reflections in modern building, Vancouver, B.C.