Fifteen minutes, sometimes less.


Where did the term "HERO," to describe the most impressive photograph in an architectural portfolio, come from anyway?


This is the HERO view of the Working Artists Ventura (WAV) sustainable artists complex in Ventura that was dedicated this month; and it wouldn't have been possible without the help of my three heroic assistants and the artists and staff of the WAV who allowed us to light up their studios and neaten up their balconies, etc. 


For the uninitiated, this photograph took about six hours on site to light, an hour to capture and about eight hours in the computer to create the final HERO. That eight hours is what I would call enhancement & subtraction. No pixels were harmed in the Hero-ification of this image, but some were lightened and some darkened, some were covered up by others, and over time, a "Still-Frame-Movie" was created from about twelve still frames all taken from atop a 10' ladder on a digital SLR. The car streaks came from one view, the clouds from another, the best view of Paul's artwork in the window was chosen along with the Avenue windows with the best car reflections to make the empty commercial space look brighter. The best views of people leaning on the railings were added, and the blown-out Ventura Ave. street sign was replaced from a darker exposure. The prominent Do Not Enter sign and the ratty fence were covered up with ivy and cleaned up link-by-link.



Now, I know you're thinking, "That's Cheating." Yes, guilty as charged, but in my defense, every picture tells a lie. Trust me, I could make this a bigger lie, or I could offer up the plain exposure before the sun went down, or I could show it in the rain, but is a view in the afternoon or in the rain really any truer than a morning view or one with a bus parked in front? I do a lot of documentary photography, and this is not that, but no one asked me for a documentary image of the WAV, they wanted a HERO.

Credits for the WAV HERO "Still-Frame-Movie"

1st assistant/lighter: Hannah Fitzgerald

Key Grip: Lisa Dodge

Best Boy: Ricardo Miranda

Casting: Paul Lindhard

Catering: Spencer McKenzie's

The Dude: Chris Velasco

Sets: Paul Benevidez

Landscape Lights/communications: Sara Wiley

Documentist: Jessica Lindley

Starring Building Exposure: 7:41:48 PM

Offramp and Ivy: 7:55:14 PM

Sky: 7:41:27 PM

Offramp tail light streaks: 8:02:54 PM

Street Lights: 7:23:51 PM

Cars on Avenue: 7:42:55 PM

People on WAV deck: 7:34:04 PM

Guy on the ladder: Stephen Schafer

That cast and crew came together to compress five hours of lighting and 39 minutes of photography into one still frame. THANKS!



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