Using Online Aerial Maps for Photo Scouting, Preservation and HABS/HAER/HALS

Yesterday I did a fast paced webinar ("Lunchinar") with Jon Haeber for the California Preservation Foundation that is now live on their YouTube channel here:

YouTube.com/watch?v=qhuBZRFMoYM

It was a fun lunch with Jon covering Google Maps & Streetview plus Bing Bird's Eye, DIY smart-phone 360º photos, CAL-TOPO, online Sanborns, historic USGS maps, GIS, Apple Maps, Google Earth and even a little drone 3D imaging. These are useful as scouting tools for photographers and for historic research for historians.

Screen Shot 2021-02-06 at 10.32.14 AM
California Preservation Foundation Webinar

I use these techniques and online programs to scout and scope my HABS HAER and HALS photography and I used it to plan the routes for photographing the book PRESERVING LOS ANGELES with author Ken Bernstein (available in Spring 2021, Angel City Press).

Check out this fun video for great tips on researching historic sites, preservation advocacy, and photography-related data gathering. I was talkin' fast to fit all the diverse subjects into 40 minutes, with lots of examples (get the links mentioned in the YouTube show notes) and remember, you can always rewind or slow me down to 75%-speed in the YouTube video playback settings.

There are a bunch of preservation and documentation related videos on the CPF YouTube channel available for free here: https://www.youtube.com/user/calpreservation/videos

Cheers,

Stephen Schafer

HABS HAER HALS photographer based in Southern California  www.HABS.photo


Nomination Photographs for the Watts Coffee House and Mafundi Center

On November 5th, 2020 – during the Covid 19 pandemic – I volunteered for a day of documentation photography in Watts to support the nomination of the Watts Happening Cultural Center and the Mafundi Mural located at East 103rd Street in Los Angeles. It was a sunny day working with Rita Cofield and the staff at the WHCC. We were filmed by Parker Collins, a reporter from Spectrum News 1, who did a nice story about Rita and the significance of the Mafundi Center in Watts history. Here's a link to the new story and some of the nomination photographs from the Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument application. (The Mafundi building also is featured in the Preserving Los Angeles book section on SurveyLA).

https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/human-interest/2020/11/11/watts-native-pushes-to-preserve-cultural-center

Here are some of the nomination photographs of the building. From Rita's report: "The Watts Happening Cultural Center was built by Black architect Arthur Silvers. Silvers was born and raised in South Los Angeles just outside of Watts with his family. He moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and returned to Los Angeles in 2007. He attended the University of Southern California School of Architecture and was a member of Scarab (Architecture Fraternity)."

02-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0043-Mafundi Mural--0043
Watts Cultural Center East 103rd Street and Wilmington Avenue, Los Angeles.
02-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0043-Mafundi Mural--0043
Mafundi Mural in Watts by Elliot Pinkney
02-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0043-Mafundi Mural--0043
Watts Cultural Center
02-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0043-Mafundi Mural--0043
Watts Happening Cultural Center and Mafundi Mural
16-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0274-Mafundi Mural--0274
Watts Coffee House
16-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0274-Mafundi Mural--0274
Watts Happening Coffee House
16-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0274-Mafundi Mural--0274
Watts Happening Coffee House
16-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0274-Mafundi Mural--0274
Watts Happening Coffee House
22-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0322-Mafundi Mural--0322
Watts Cultural Center multi purpose room/gym
22-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0322-Mafundi Mural--0322
Watts Cultural Center and Mafundi Mural wide context view.
22-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0322-Mafundi Mural--0322
Watts Cultural Center entry foyer
22-Watts Happening LAHCM-Nov 2020-Schafphoto0322-Mafundi Mural--0322
Watts Cultural Center rear

 

I'm Looking forward to the Watts Cultural Center and Mafundi Mural becoming a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 2021, and I'm glad I was able to be a part of the HCM nomination.

 

Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net

 

 


December 2020 Architecture Photography Online Workshop

I'm teaching my architecture workshop on December 13th, 2020 at the Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP):

Stephen-Schafer-LACP Architecture Photography Workshop

Mastering architecture photography is a complex yet rewarding process. Like people, buildings have their best side, and choosing your perspective, composition and camera placement for both interiors and exteriors will be a focus. In this workshop we will examine the intricate relationship between architectural design, natural light and the weather, and explain approaches to artificial and natural lighting... LINK HERE: https://lacphoto.org/events/architecture-on-location-with-stephen-schafer-2020/

LACP Architecture Photography Class 2020

 
 
Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net

Preserving Los Angeles

This is what I did in my summer vacation:

Cover of the Book: Preserving Los Angeles: How Historic Places Can Transform America's Cities
Cover of the Book: Preserving Los Angeles: How Historic Places Can Transform America's Cities. Written by Ken Bernstein with photography by Stephen Schafer.
 
Preserving Los angeles pre-order
Amazon Pre-Order Page LINK
 

For more, take a look at my website.

Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net
 

Creating Your Photo Business Workshop @ LACP

 

Stephen D Schafer Photography class

https://lacphoto.org/events/creating-your-photo-business-with-stephen-schafer-march-2020/

Are you starting to charge for your work? What does it take to start a photography business or take your hobby to the next step? Are you reaching the people who need to see your work?

Stephen Schafer wrote the book about becoming a professional photographer. Join him for a day as he shares 30+ years of experience in this candid seminar that focuses on what the class wants to know. We’ll cover branding and marketing; websites and social; pricing and invoicing; copyright and releases; insurance and contracts, and any questions you may have about being a professional photographer and creating your own photo business.

If you’re beginning to make money with your camera or you’re considering photography as a career full-time, part-time or as a side hustle, avoid years of pitfalls and unnecessary expense as you take this important step in your photographic evolution. Open to all experience levels.


2020 - The Year We Blow Past 100 Documentations

After surpassing 100 historic documentation projects early this year, we thought we'd share a list of the HABS, HAER, and HALS documentations and National Register of Historic Places Nomination records we have done in the past 10+ years.

(13)-20- INDEX 49ParkerCenter-2018-schafphoto-9130
Parker Center Police Headquarters, Los Angeles. Large Format, Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) photograph by Stephen Schafer

PAST PHOTO-DOCUMENTATION PROJECTS (partial list)

  • December 2019  St. Isadore Historic Plaza, NRHP, Los Alamitos.
  • December 2019  Mt. SAC College Founders House, HABS-like, Walnut.
  • October 2019  The Factory Discotheque, HABS, West Hollywood.
  • October 2019  Cornell University Library, HABS, Ithaca, New York.
  • August 2019  Lesser Brothers Block, HABS-like, San Francisco.
  • August 2019  Emile Norman Residence, NRHP, Big Sur.
  • July 2019 Kresge College, HABS, UC Santa Cruz.
  • July 2019  Brynmoor Apartments Neon Sign, HABS-like, Los Angeles.
  • June 2019  McKinley Park, HALS, Sacramento.
  • June 2019  LA Times Mirror Executive Building, HABS, Los Angeles.
  • June 2019  Ahwahnee Hotel Tennis Courts, HABS, Yosemite Valley.
  • May 2019  Grace Miller Residence, NRHP, Palm Springs.
  • May 2019  California Bicentennial House, HABS-Like, Diamond Bar.
  • April 2019  Epiphany Episcopal Church, NRHP, Los Angeles.
  • March 2019  Red Rest & Red Roost Cottages, HABS, La Jolla.
  • March 2019  Alameda Marina, HABS-like, Alameda.
  • January 2019  Francisco Park Reservoir, HAER, San Francisco.
  • November 2018  Soda Point Powerhouse Crane, HAER, Idaho.
  • November 2018  Oneida Factory Town, HABS, Idaho.
  • November 2018  Long Beach Armory, HABS, Long Beach.
  • September 2018  Asilomar J.C. Warneke Buildings, NRHP, Monterey.
  • September 2018  Canner’s Steam Plant, HABS-like, Long Beach.
  • September 2018  LB>Laguna Bell Transmission Line, HAER, Long Beach.
  • July 2018   Warren Hall, HABS-Like, UCLA. 
  • July 2018   South Reseda Jr. High School, HAER, Los Angeles. 
  • June 2018  Hilton Hawaiian Village Ocean Tower, HABS, Hawaii. 
  • June 2018  North Finegayan Water Tower, HAER, Guam. 
  • April 2018  Sunset Canyon Rec Center, HABS/HALS-Like, UCLA. 
  • April 2018  Santa Ana Elks Lodge, HABS, Santa Ana.
  • March 2018  Parker Center Police HQ, HABS/HALS, Los Angeles.
  • March 2018  2599 Todd Street HABS-Like, Alameda Naval Air Station.
  • December 2017  Grover Cleveland High School, NRHP, Los Angeles.  
  • December 2017  Isaac Milbank Residence, NRHP, Santa Monica. 
  • October 2017  McKeebe Mining Ditch, HAER, Folsom.
  • October 2017  White Rock Road, HAER, Clarksville.
  • October 2017  Auxiliary Water Pump Station, HAER, San Francisco.
  • October 2017  Pier 70, HABS-Like, San Francisco.
  • October 2017  Mt. Vernon Ave. Bridge, HAER, San Bernardino. 
  • August 2017  Holy Cross Pump House, HABS-Like, Colma. 
  • August 2017  Mission Bay High School, HABS-Like, San Diego. 
  • July 2017   Varner Road, HAER-Like, Desert Hot Springs.
  • July 2017  Venice High School Shops, HABS-Like, Venice. 
  • June 2017  Coca Cola Bottling, HABS-Like, San Francisco.
  • June 2017  Mt. SAC College Library, HABS-Like, Walnut.
  • May 2017   Beckman Industries, HABS-Like, Fullerton.
  • May 2017   El Camino College, HABS-Like, Torrance.
  • April 2017   SDG&E Gas Compressor, HAER-Like, Rainbow.
  • April 2017   Villa Park School, HABS-like, Villa Park.
  • April 2017   Capistrano Substation, HAER-Like, San Juan Capistrano.
  • March 2017   Park Church, HABS-Like, Long Beach.
  • March 2017   El Sereno Rec Center, HABS, Los Angeles.
  • March 2017   Roberts Residence by Richard Neutra, HABS, Covina.
  • February 2017   I Magnin Wilshire Store, HABS-like, Los Angeles. 
  • January 2017  First over Glendale Bridge, HAER, Los Angeles.
  • October 2016   Madera Canal, HAER, Madera.
  • August 2016  California Canneries,  HABS-Like, San Francisco.
  • August 2016  Avalon Motel, HABS-Like, San Mateo.
  • August 2016  R/V Polaris Ship, HAER, Redwood City Harbor.
  • June 2016  UCSF Surge Building, HABS-Like, San Francisco.
  • June 2016  Bethlehem Steel, HABS-Like, San Francisco. 
  • May 2016  Santa Monica Post Office, HABS.
  • May 2016  Lovelace Residence & Garden, HALS, Montecito.
  • May 2016  ACE Gallery, HABS, Beverly Hills.
  • February 2016   Lockheed Martin Satellites, HAER, Sunnyvale.
  • October 2015   Audubon School, HABS, San Diego.
  • October 2015   Vado Bridge, HAER-Like, Riverside County.
  • October 2015   Mt. San Antonio College Stadium, HABS-Like, Walnut.
  • September 2015  Mason St. Warehouses, HABS, San Francisco. 
  • June 2015   Los Gatos Creek Trestle, HAER-like, San Jose.
  • June 2015   Courson Pool, HABS-like, Palmdale.
  • June 2015   241 Tenth Street, HABS-like, San Francisco.
  • December 2014   Pan Am Oil Pump, HAER-Like, Port of LA.
  • October 2014   Long Beach Poly High School Auditorium, HABS.
  • August 2014   Christopher Ranch, HABS-Like, San Jose.
  • April 2014   1550 5th Street, HABS-Like, Santa Monica.
  • March 2014  Johnson Ranch Barns, HABS-Like, Claremont.
  • November 2013  Sea Shadow IX-529, HAER, Treasure Island.
  • September 2013  Coachella Canal, HAER, La Quinta.
  • November 2012   Dow Pump Engine Co., HABS-Like, Alameda.
  • October 2012   United Shipyard Crane, HAER-Like, Alameda.
  • June 2012   Blue Wing Adobe, HABS, Sonoma.
  • June 2012  Sonoma Historic State Park, HABS, Sonoma,
  • January 2012   Santa Monica City Hall Landscape, HALS-Like.
  • January 2012   Marr Residence, HABS, Riverside.
  • April 2012  Bixby Bridge, HAER, Big Sur.
  • December 2011   Pacific Telephone Building, HABS, San Francisco.
  • December 2011   South Berkeley Library, HABS-like, Berkeley.
  • December 2011   San Ysidro Custom House, HABS, San Diego. 
  • October 2011   Bishop Creek Powerhouses, HAER, Bishop.
  • August 2011   The Ahwahnee Hotel, HABS, Yosemite.
  • July 2011   Cienega School, HABS-like, Culver City.
  • June 2011  Harvey Mudd College, HABS-like, Claremont.
  • June 2011  Fabulous Forum, NRHP Tax Credit, Inglewood.
  • May 2011   Ortega Street Bridge, HAER, Santa Barbara.
  • April 2011   Hollywood High School, NRHP, Hollywood.
  • January 2011   San Francisco County Jail #3, HABS.
  • December 2010   Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House, HABS, Los Feliz.
  • December 2010   77 Natoma, HABS-Like, San Francisco.
  • November 2010   Neutra Haefley House, NRHP, Long Beach.
  • October 2010   7’x10’ Wind Tunnel, HAER, Mountain View.
  • September 2010  Heim Bridge, HAER, Port of Long Beach.
  • August 2010   Amador City Bridge, HAER, Amador City.
  • July 2010   Mulholland Drive Overcrossing, HAER, LA.
  • July 2010   Ontario 1 Powerhouse, HAER, Claremont.
  • June 2010   Catalina Pottery Works, HABS-Like, Catalina.
  • June 2010   Pius X Church, HABS-Like, Chula Vista.
  • April 2010   Royston Reservoir Roof, HALS-Like, Piedmont.
  • March 2010  8600 Sunset Blvd., HABS-Like, West Hollywood.
  • January 2010  TOP HAT Cafe, HABS, Ventura.
  • June 2010 Anaconda Wire Factory, HABS-Like, Orange.
  • May 2010   Libbey Bowl, HABS-Like, Ojai.
  • December 2009 SCE Transmission Line, HAER, Primm, Nevada.
  • September 2009 Bottle Village, HALS, Simi Valley.
  • August 2009   Dewitt Army Hospital, HABS-like, Auburn.
  • August 2009   Port of Long Beach Admin Building, HABS-like.
  • April 2009   Santa Paula Sewer Treatment Plant, HAER-Like.
  • March 2009   Kaufmann House, HABS, Palm Springs.
  • November 2008 Killingsworth Office, NRHP, Long Beach.
  • February 2008   South Park Shops, HABS-like, South Los Angeles.
  • March 2008   Garment Capitol Building, NRHP, Los Angeles.
  • August 2007   Press Telegram, HABS-Like, Long Beach.
  • June 2006   Glassell Park School, NRHP, Glassell Park.
  • August 2004   Mayfair Theater, HABS-like, Ventura.
  • May 2003   Thille Ranch, HABS-like, Ventura.
  • (partial list) 
 
For more information take a look at the
section of our website if you’d like more information about HABS/HAER/HALS
 
Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net

Workshop December 8, 2019 - Architecture on Location with Stephen Schafer

I'm teaching another architecture workshop in December 8th, 2019 at LACP:

6_02 Master layer schafphoto 6_02

https://lacphoto.org/events/architecture-on-location-with-stephen-schafer-2019/

Mastering architecture photography and location is a complex yet rewarding process. Like people, buildings have their best side, and choosing your perspective, composition and camera placement for both interiors and exteriors will be a focus. In this workshop we will examine the intricate relationship between architectural design, natural light and the weather, and explain approaches to artificial and natural lighting.

The class begins with a step-by-step dissection of Stephen Schafer’s assignment work, an examination of famous architectural photographers, and Q&A. Walking around Hollywood, we will visit diverse places, discuss how to problem-solve, and plan for the best photographs. The day ends with a real-time twilight “HERO” shoot with Lightroom post-production. The class includes discussion of equipment choices and techniques from wide and tilt-shift lenses to keystone correction via software, as well as aesthetic decisions such as styling, lighting, filters, HDR, and post-processing software. On the business side, topics include: deliverables, licensing, access, releases, pricing and marketing.

Open to digital and analog photographers. Please comfortable walking shoes, a tripod and a wide lens.

Dates: Sunday, December 8, 11 am – 7 pm
Enrollment Limit: 15 students
Skill/Experience Level: Students should have a working knowledge of their camera and the ability to shoot in manual mode. A tripod and a wide lens are required.
Tuition: $295

CEQA Documentation Mitigations for Historic (Cultural) Resources

This is a post about the boring but necessary topic of CEQA mitigation. I thought I would compile some of the mitigation language I see into a "BEST PRACTICES" example. The example below is a CEQA compliant Level 2 HABS mitigation for a significant historic district, campus, farmstead or any multi-unit grouping of resources. This example follows the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Architectural, Engineering and Landscape Documentation. If you are in need of a mitigation for an EIR or MND, follow this format (with adjustment of the number of views and local libraries as appropriate). 
 
HALS photograph Bottle_Village-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-107
HALS photograph of Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village, Simi Valley, California. HALS-CA-42-16
 
Mitigation Measure MM-CUL-__: 
The existing buildings, district and the existing condition shall be documented for the historic record. Prior to project commencement, demolition, alteration, grading, or changes to surrounding context, applicant will arrange for the preparation of historical resource documentation of the district to Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Level 2 standards according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation. This HABS documentation will include large-format black-and-white photographs, descriptive and historical narrative (plus relevant contexts), and limited measured drawings. 
 
The HABS report shall: 
1. Be prepared by historic preservation professionals meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualifications Standards following the HABS “Guidelines for Historical Reports" https://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/HABS/HABSHistoryGuidelines.pdf
2. Include photographs taken with large format (4 X 5" or 5 x 7") film by a photographer with demonstrated experience in creating HABS documentation following the “HABS/HAER/HALS Photography Guidelines” https://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/PhotoGuidelines.pdf. The photographs shall include a minimum of 36-40 or 50-60 (INSERT APPROPRIATE NUMBER) views including exterior views of the district, limited exterior elevations for each building, key interior features, key spatial relationships among buildings, character defining features of the district and circulation within the district, exterior hardscape features and views of the context that will be altered by the project.
3. Include drawings: an overall plan of the district with all historic elements labeled will be drawn from a measured survey of the district, and 3-5 limited drawings of the most significant structures shall be documented with measured drawings to HABS drawing standards and plotted on vellum to HABS archival standards following the “Recording Historic Structures and Sites with HABS Measured Drawings”  https://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/HABS/HABSDrawings.pdf
4. Include written historical descriptive data, index to photographs, and photo keymap and include copies of historic photographs, if available.
5. Be put into the public domain and distributed to the following repositories for use by the public, future researchers and educators.
a. Donation to the National Park Service HABS Collection at the Library of Congress - One copy of report, drawings, contact prints and one set of negatives following "Preparing HABS/HAER/HALS Documentation For Transmittal” https://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/Transmittal.pdf.
b. Donation to Museum of Local County - One bound archival copy including all of the report and 8x10 archival photographic prints and 11x17 plans and a DVD of the digital files.
c. Donation to Local Main Library - One bound archival copy including all of the report and 8x10 archival photographic prints and 11x17 plans and a DVD of the digital files.
 
For a single resource insert this number 2 and 3 text:
2... The photographs shall include a minimum of 10-12 or 22-25 (INSERT APPROPRIATE NUMBER) views including context views of the property, exterior views of the building, facade views, character defining features and details, and interior features and volumes.
3. ... an overall floorplan of the building with will be drawn from a measurements by a qualified architect or documentation team. Drawings of the most significant features/facades shall be documented with measured drawings to HABS drawing standards and plotted on vellum to HABS archival standards following the “Recording Historic Structures and Sites with HABS Measured Drawings”  https://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/HABS/HABSDrawings.pdf
 
For a landscapes or engineering resources:
For resources like bridges or foundries that are significant for engineering and technology, replace the HABS text with references to the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and for resources like parks, cemeteries or cultural landscapes replace the HABS references and include links to the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS).
 
 
NOTE 1: For Federal Undertaking mitigations (any project with more than $1 in federal funding or needing a federal permit that has a adverse impact on a historic resource) Section 106/NEPA compliant mitigations require a second archival copy for the State Office of Historic Preservation to be added to the above transmittals. Review of the documentation by the Western Regions Office of the National Park Service is also required for Federal undertakings so the documentation is not a donation but required by an MOA, PA, etc., and must follow those additional stipulations.
 
Note 2: If there is an additional interpretation mitigation: Data and photos from the HABS documentation shall be incorporated into the interpretive/commemorative strategies for the site under a separate mitigation measure, as appropriate.
 
 
For more Answers take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website if you’d like more information about HABS/HAER/HALS
 
Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net
 
 
 

Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Highlights: First Over Glendale Bridge 2016

Here's some highlights from my Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentation of the First Street Viaduct over Glendale Boulevard from October, 2016. These are scans of the large format 5x7 film that were sent to the National Park Service Heritage Documentation Program for inclusion in the HAER collection*.

This record is HAER-CA-2343 and the scope was 39 photographs.

Historic-American-Engineering-Record-photographer_HAER-CA-2343-14
HAER-CA-2443-1    Context view from 5th floor rooftop north side of bridge with Los Angeles downtown skyline in background. Camera height 5′, facing southeast.
 
Historic-American-Engineering-Record-HABS-HALS-HAER-CA-2343-21
HAER-CA-2443-21    Left side of two-part panorama of West Second Street westbound under bridge. Camera height 5′, facing north-northwest.
 
Historic-American-Engineering-Record-photographer_HAER-CA-2343-14
HAER-CA-2443-35    Substructure of main arch over Glendale Boulevard with 12′ scale marked in tenths on pillar. Camera height 5′, facing northwest.
 
Historic-American-Engineering-Record-photographer_HAER-CA-2343-14
HAER-CA-2443-10  Oblique of southwest corner of bridge. Camera height 5′, facing east.
 
Historic-American-Engineering-Record schaf_HAER-CA-2343-12
HAER-CA-2443-12   Oblique of west bridge abutment from south side. Camera height 5′, facing northwest.
Historic-American-Engineering-Record-photographer_HAER-CA-2343-14
HAER-CA-2443-14   Part two of an eight-part sectional panorama of south side of bridge. West abutment wall. Camera height 6′, facing north-northeast.
Historic-American-Engineering-Record HABS-HAER-CA-2343-39
HAER-CA-2443-39  Detail of decoration at base of lamppost in center of abutment at southeast corner of bridge. Camera height 7′, facing northeast.
Historic American Engineering Record Contact Mount Card
Sample of a Historic American Engineering Record digital mount card printed on an Epson P600 pigment printer formatted to 5x7 size..

*Sometimes it takes a while for these HABS/HAER documentations to be made public, but when they are, they are accessible at the Library of Congress website. Often the images in the HABS, HAER and HALS collections take years to be digitized even though photographers send in scans and prints with their large format film.

 

For more Answers take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website if you’d like more information about HABS/HAER/HALS
 
Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net
 
 
 

Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Highlights: 9430 Wilshire Blvd. May-2016

Here's some highlights from my documentation of 9430 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills from May, 2016 (the site was occupied by Ace Gallery at the time). Sometimes it takes a while for these HABS jobs to be made public, but when they are, they are accessible at the Library of Congress website. Often the images in the HABS, HAER and HALS collections take years to be digitized even though photographers send in scans and prints with their large format film. These are scans of the large format 4x5 film that were sent to the National Park Service Heritage Documentation Program for inclusion in the Historic American Buildings Survey Collection.

This record is HABS-CA-1298 and the scope was 15 photographs.

 
Historic American Buildings Survey Photographer -HABS-CA-1298-6
CA-1298-6 Oblique view of northeast corner of Ace Gallery. Camera height 4′, facing southwest.

Stephen D. Schafer, photographer, May 2016

Historic American Buildings Survey HABS 4x5  photo
CA-1298-7 Oblique view of northwest corner of Ace Gallery. Camera height 5′, facing southeast.

Stephen D. Schafer, photographer, May 2016

Historic-American-Buildings-Survey of Ace Gallery
CA-1298-8 Orthogonal street level detail of front entry with human and 12′ scale marked in tenths. Camera height 5′, facing south.

Stephen D. Schafer, photographer, May 2016

 
Historic American Buildings Survey HABS-CA-1298-14
CA-1298-15 Interior oblique overview of main gallery volume in center of building. Camera height 5′, facing north-northwest.

Stephen D. Schafer, photographer, May 2016

 
 
For more Answers to take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website if you’d like more information about HABS/HAER/HALS
 
Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net
 
 
 

Photographer's Eye: Capturing History Forever, Photographing for the Historic American Buildings Survey

HABS-HAER photography on the truck

Presentation at the LA Central Library, Wednesday, June 19, 2019
 

HABS, as the Historic American Buildings Survey is informally called, is arguably the best documentation program in the world for historic buildings. Established in 1933 as a make-work initiative for struggling architects, it quickly embraced photography as a documentation tool. It set out to record "a complete resume of the builder's art," and the program proved so valuable that it has endured to this day and spawned two other documentation programs: the Historic American Engineering Record and the Historic American Landscapes Survey. The photography standards quickly settled on black and white, large and all photographs needed to meet a 500-year life expectancy. Stephen Schafer has been practicing this archival photographic process to capture sites in California as diverse as an 1840s adobe and a Cold-War stealth ship. This presentation will show documentations of historic properties both saved and lost, and explain the HABS process as it has evolved since 1933.

GPA-Folsom Ditch_Road-2017_schafphoto-3669-schaf_photo-3669

Stephen Schafer (“Schäf”) blends his love of photography and his passion for historic preservation by specializing in the photographic documentation of historic structures for inclusion in the Library of Congress. He does work for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) collections, documenting threatened homes, buildings, engineering and landscapes. Mr. Schafer opened his commercial photography studio in Ventura in 1989 and has been working and teaching in Southern California ever since. His photographs have been used in books, magazines and nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. His photographic equipment is a hybrid of digital cameras and analog large format technical cameras shooting 4x5 and 5x7 inch film. In 2016 he wrote the humorous book: Don’t Shoot – 66 reasons Not to Become a professional Photographer.

2-4x5_I_Magnin-011-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-011

Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. Sponsored by Photo Friends. 

Seating is first come, first serve. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program. 


HABS HAER and HALS PHOTOGRAPHY EXPLAINED

Pleas note this is and abridged version of the HABS HAER HALS Frequently Asked Questions section on my website here: FAQ 

The Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record and Historic American Landscapes Survey are US federal government programs administered by the Heritage Documentation Program Department of the National Park Service (abbreviated HABS/HAER/HALS). Photographic documentation for these programs meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Architectural, Engineering and Landscape Documentation (SIS Doc Standards). In short, these programs document the historic built environment and cultural landscapes in America and work with the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division to archive the architectural plans, reports and photographs for the public in perpetuity. HABS, HAER and HALS are considered the gold standard of photographic documentation programs.

Historic American Buildings Survey HABS photo

IS FILM STILL REQUIRED IN 2019?
Yes, large format, black and white film is still the only medium that meets the photography guidelines for inclusion into the HABS, HAER and HALS (H3) collections.
Photographs from digital cameras (known as born-digital) do not yet meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Architectural, Engineering and Landscape Documentation. The issue isn't digital resolution or megapixels; there are many issues including long-term storage and data manipulation that effect the requirement for analog large format photography. Many historic preservation mitigation requirements, for instance NEPA, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA; EIRs, MNDs), reference the H3 guidelines specifically, and therefore they must also be recorded on archival, large format film to comply.

BLACK AND WHITE NOT COLOR?
All three programs, HABS/HAER/HALS (H3), require photographs be taken on black & white film. The technical requirement is silver-halide on a polyester base similar to Ilford HP-5 or Kodak Tri-X. This film, if properly washed, is considered archival and resists fading resulting in a predicted Life Expectancy of 500 years (LE500) or more under proper storage conditions. Color film uses dyes and does not meet the LE500 requirement. Some resources that have colorful character defining features and many HALS landscape documentations may require both black and white and duplicate views on color transparency film. Additionally color digital images of the resource are often included in the field-notes because they are not required to meet the LE500 standard.

(67)-81- INDEX 64ParkerCenter-2018-schafphoto-9300-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-9300

WHAT DOES LARGE FORMAT REFER TO?
Large format photography is captured by cameras that are capable of exposing large sheets of film that are a minimum of 4 x 5 inches. 5X7 inch or 8X10 inch are also common large format sizes. 5x7 is the preferred format for HABS/HAER/HALS documentation and the in-house NPS photographers at Heritage Documentation Programs in Washington DC primarily use 5x7 cameras. Very important resources like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Holland Tunnel and the Statue of Liberty were recorded on 5x7. Large Format aerial photos are customarily made with 4x5 cameras because they can be hand-held in aircraft. 8x10 cameras are often used for studio copy-views of historic photos, blueprints and maps but are generally too heavy and cumbersome for location photography in the field.

WHY IS LARGE FORMAT REQUIRED FOR HABS?
The short answer is: Quality and life expectancy. The long answer is a bit more technical… The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, [as amended, now codified in various sections of subtitle III of Title 54 U.S.C.] requires documentations meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Architectural and Engineering Documentation. [48 Fed. Reg. 44,716 (1983)]. The “Standards” require large format film photography because it is durable, archival and records maximum data. The National Park Service and Library of Congress (LoC) have systems and collections in place for archiving and disseminating large format images.

Historic American Engineering Record Photo

Because the HABS documentation guidelines and systems are the gold standard for photographic documentation, state and regional policies have now adopted the HABS standards. So from NEPA and CEQA to city ordinances and school districts the HABS guidelines, requiring large format photography, are now the de facto standard. If historic resources are impacted by new projects, demolition or alteration, there is often a requirement to document the historic property following the HABS\HAER\HALS guidelines (which means the Standards). In 2017, the Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science, in a memo [H1817(2270)] to all State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, clarified that "…HDP, will accept all documentation of National Register and National Register-eligible properties of national, state, regional or local significance…” So if a building, district, object, structure or site is Local, State or National Register eligible then large format photography would be the prescribed mitigation.

WHAT THREE THINGS CONSTITUTE A QUALITY DOCUMENTATION?
Documentary mitigations that meet the intent of the Standards have three main elements:

1. MAXIMUM DATA
2. ARCHIVAL MATERIALS
3. ACCESSIBILITY

1.) Maximum Data: The high resolution large format photography must include maximum, accurate data and shall be recorded with perspective correcting lenses.
2.) The film, prints, report, drawings and captions must all be created on archival materials, and the film shall be processed to archival standards to insure of 500+ year life expectancy (LE500).
3.) In order to truly be a public benefit, the photos and report must be accessible to the public. This is the reason records are sent to the Library of Congress and the reason the HABS/HAER/HALS online collection is one of the most popular. It receives nearly 50,000 visitors a month. In order for documentations to indeed mitigate impacts they must be in the public domain (uncopyrighted) and accessible to provide architects, engineers, scholars, preservationists, and interested members of the public with information on the historical, technological, and cultural significance of America's historic resources. The best way to insure accessibility (the only way meeting the Secretary's Standards) is donation of the photographs, reports and/or drawings to the H3 collections. If donation to the LoC is not possible, and local museums, archives or libraries are selected to receive a mitigation project, it is important that copies of the documentation be disseminated to locations where the information can be easily accessed and used by the public and not just end up on a shelf in at the back of city hall or in a military or institutional archive that is only accessible by secret handshake.

Bixby-5x7-negative-013_RT-HAER Photograph by S Schafer-


WHAT IS “HABS-Like", “HAER-Like" & “HALS-Like" PHOTOGRAPHY?
HABS-Like, HAER-Like and HALS-Like (H3-Like) are made-up terms, and as such, they require definition on a case by case basis. In our experience, these parameters are an attempt to quantify the structure, content and quality of official HABS/HAER/HALS documentations without federal oversight and participation. There is no formal definition for HALS-Like or HAER-Lite or Diet-HABS but in our experience it usually means that H3 guidelines for approach, content and deliverables are followed closely but the finished documents (prints and negatives) may not be submitted to the Library of Congress.

Often the photos, drawings and reports are distributed locally and/or regionally. Most of the documentary surveys in California triggered by CEQA to mitigate Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) or Mitigated Negative Declarations (MNDs) are HABS-like but it is important to note that while H3-Like documents may be required and endorsed by the lead-agency, they are not recognized as sufficient as mitigations for federal projects and they do not meet the Secretary’s Standards for Architectural and Engineering Documentation. Until documentation packages are submitted to the NPS Regional Office for review or a donation proposal is submitted to HDP and official numbers assigned, they are not HABS, HAER or HALS documentations*. In state or local H3-like documents, it is important to put the photographs in the public domain and make copies of the report available to the public in multiple, accessible locations.

  • Note: To avoid confusion, documentations not transmitted to HDP should never be titled using the acronyms HABS/HAER or HALS.

For more Answers to take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website if you’d like more information about HABS/HAER/HALS photography.

Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net

Goldilocks and the 3 Shots...

Goldilocks-Clickittycat

Once upon a time, there was an architectural photographer named Goldilocks.

She went to a job in the forest to take three shots for a local architect. Pretty soon, after Siri took her down a few dead ends, she came upon the house in the trees. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in, because architectural photographers don’t have time to wait around while it’s light outside.

Once in the kitchen, she set up her tripod, camera and PC lens and then spent the next few minutes rising and shifting and focusing and zooming and peaking at 10X in live-view until she was satisfied with the composition.
She took a shot.


“This exposure is too hot!” she exclaimed.


So, she closed her aperture and added a polarizer to remove the glare from the countertop and took a second shot.


“Better, but now this photo is too cold,” she said.


So, she checked her color meter, and adjusted her white balance to 5200K and took a third frame.
“Ahhh, this photo is just right,” she said happily and spent the next hour going through the pantry and cupboards to find props to block the outlets in the backsplash, adjusting decor, adding some sliced kiwis on a cutting board, and setting the breakfast nook with three brightly colored bowls of porridge.
After she’d finished her bracketed exposures, gray card snaps and an LCC profile she took out her strobe and blasted the ceiling for a couple of underexposed window views to layer into Photoshop later. She lamented the annoying reflections on the stainless steel refrigerator but decided, “I'm losing light, I’ll fix them in post.” She put the props back where she found them  (generally), then, she moved into the living room where she saw three chairs.


Goldilocks composed a shot with the loveseat.


“This loveseat is too big!” she exclaimed.


So she moved the loveseat out of frame and pushed an overstuffed chair in from off-camera.


“This chair is too fat!” she whined.


So she backed up as far as she could, set the tripod into the corner and adjusted her focus and composition with her back pinned to the wall because she forgot to bring her WiFi tethering dongle thingy. The chair was still too prominent so she used some Ninja-Yoga moves to extract herself from the corner without bumping the tripod and she moved a mid-century modern lounge chair into the frame.


“Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed.

Then she roamed the house for props, stacking books, dusting the coffee table, Karate-chopping throw pillows, combing the fringe on the Oriental rug, and building a quick-fire in the fireplace out of newspaper behind attractively stacked logs to layer in Photoshop later. But by the time she had the room propped, the clouds had parted and sent long fingers of sunlight across the room. “This contrast is impossible!” she moaned, “I’m going to need to break this exposure into pieces and do a FLAMBIENT bracket.”


Goldilocks was very tired after moving all the furniture in the living room (generally) back, but she still had to photograph one of the bedrooms. So she went upstairs to look at the first bedroom, but it was too hard — the closet blocked the view from the door, the ceiling was mauve, the walls were a combination of high-gloss paint and big mirrors and vertical blinds threw nuclear zebra-stripes of light across the bed.


Then she looked at the second bedroom, but it was too soft — the pink pastel walls and tungsten can-lights were at war with a window full of dense spruce trees, bathing the room in a shadowless blue-green backlight. It was a color crossover nightmare that would never look right no matter how many calibration gray card readings she took.


Then she went down to the third bedroom which Goldilocks hoped would be just right … almost. It was naturally lit from two sides and had a white ceiling to bounce off, but (as usual) the owner had not cleaned it and so Goldilocks had to make the bed and try to stretch the wrinkles out of the bedspread by gaff-taping it to the bedposts. She pulled all the brightly colored books out of the bookshelf and replaced them backwards with the pages facing out. She removed the tacky decor, the lava lamp and the personal photos from the nightstand and put them on the floor behind the bed (because she had learned that opening a nightstand drawer to hide something NEVER turned out well). She then roamed the house and found a classy desk lamp in the den to replace the odd lava lamp. After finding a vacuum cleaner on one of her prop runs, she exited the room backwards while vacuuming the nap in the carpet … twice, because she forgot to turn the desk lamp on the first time.


As she made her final exposures and underexposed the window views, the homeowners came home.


“Someone’s wrapped all the charging cables into neat little circles,” mused the Papa as he plugged in his phone.


“Someone’s straightened all the magnets on the fridge,” said the Mama as she refilled her insulated flask from the Britta pitcher.


“Someone’s been slicing kiwis … and they’re delicious,” said the 30-year-old son still living at home. Then they all walked into the living room.


“Someone’s been lining up all the remotes next to the TV by size,” mumbled the Papa.


“Someone’s been stacking the coffee table books by color,” said the Mama.


“Someone’s been building a fire and that’s not very environmentally sustainable,” whined the son.


They decided to look around some more upstairs where Papa bear grumbled, “Someone’s moved the lamp in the den.”


“Someone’s left the Hoover in the hall,” said the Mama.


“There’s a chick photographing in my bedroom and she’s vacuumed!” exclaimed the son … then he thought to himself, “I hope she didn’t look in my nightstand.”


Just then, Goldilocks heard the family and walked out to the hallway to introduce herself.


“You’ve got the wrong house,” laughed the Papa, “You want the Bearman’s house down the road.”
She screamed, “Oh, wow, I’m so embarrassed!” Then thinking on her feet she asked, “Can I interest you in a non-commercial rights license to some photos of your house?”


THE END


HABS/HAER/HALS Documentations from 2017 and 2018

***2017 and 2018 have been busy and diverse years of Historic American Buildings Surveys (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) projects all over California, and even in Hawaii and Guam. I thought I'd share a selection of my favorite large format negatives from the last couple years. Of course these are only the ones I can share now, some very cool projects are under wraps until the projects are over. I'll share them here when they are ready for the public domain.

POLARIS 4X5 NEG-8E_schafphoto_-089-HAER Photograph by S Schafer-089
USGS Polaris in Redwood City Harbor. 4x5 Large Format Photograph, HAER-CA-2326
IMagnin_4x5-NEG-8E_schafphoto-015-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-015
I Magnin & Company, Wilshire Blvd. Department Store. 4x5 Large Format HABS-Like Photograph 
Rainbow_4x5-NEG-8E_schafphoto-274-HAER Photograph by S Schafer-274
Rainbow Gas Compressor Building, Rainbow, California. 4x5 Large Format HAER-Like Photograph
El_Camino_4x5_Neg_8e_schafphoto-020-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-020
Main Entry to Administration Building at El Camino College, Torrance, CA. 4x5 Large Format HABS-Like Photograph.
16_MtSAC 2017 TechCenter 28 -109-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-109
Mount San Antonio College Aviation Technology Building. 4x5 Large Format HABS-Like Photograph.
39-MOUNT VERNON AVENUE BRIDGE - 117-HAER Photograph by S Schafer-117
Mt. Vernon Avenue Bridge, San Bernardino, California. 4x5 Large Format HAER-Like Photograph
14_GroverCleve ARG 2018 schafphoto-049-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-049
Typical Hallway Between Classrooms at Grover Cleveland High School, Reseda. 4x5 Large Format HABS Photograph.
HABS-CA-1-HAER Photograph by S Schafer-
Addendum to the first HAER documentation in California. San Francisco Fire department, Pumping Station Number 2.  HAER-CA-1
Cerritos Channel Towers-HAER Photograph by S Schafer-089
Cerritos Channel Transmission Towers, Long Beach. 4x5 Large Format Photograph, HAER-CA-2344 
Venice HS Shop 2 and 3 086-HAER Photograph by S Schafer-086
Milling Machines in Venice High School Metal Shop. 4x5 Large Format HABS-Like Photograph.
Mission 1500-07-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-07
1500 Mission Street, San Francisco. 4x5 Large Format HABS-Like Photograph
Mission Bay High School074-HABS Photograph by S Schafer-074
Mission Bay High School Music Room, San Diego. 4x5 Large Format HABS-Like Photograph.

 

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Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website if you’d like more information about HABS/HAER/HALS photography.

Stephen Schafer, Photographer
Ventura, California
805-652-1000
schaf@west.net
 
 
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