Thursday, January 27, 2011

US Capitol in Snow

This weeks snow reminded me of an image of the US Capitol I'd taken a couple of years ago.

Click on image to enlarge.

Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC website to see more of Todd's work.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Playing With Fire

While photographing street scenes in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, one Sunday morning, I saw this Jazz band stand up bass player in an open French door of a restaurant on King Street.

Click on on image to enlarge.

I quickly took the shot from across the street so I wouldn't miss it due to someone walking in front of me or a vehicle suddenly blocking my view.  When shooting street photography, it's now or never as the best images can quickly change or even disappear.

I didn't notice the flame tattoo on his wrist until I open the image in post production, hence the name "Playing With Fire".  This image was accepted into the Alexandria Art League Gallery January 2010 monthly juried show in Alexandria, Virginia.

Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC to see more of Todd's work.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Air Force Memorial Flyover

Going through my archives, I found the images from an assignment for the Boeing Company.  On 10 April 2008, Boeing sponsored a flyover of the US Air Force Memorial of four historic military aircraft in honor of US Airmen who died during WWII and subsequent conflicts.

Click on image to enlarge.

From left to right: North American P-51D Mustang, Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, Curtis Wright P-40 Kittyhawk.

Unfortunately the forth aircraft, the Vickers Armstrong Supermarine Spitfire was unable to participate.  I am sure it still made for an impressive static display at Andrews Air Force base where the flights originated from.

Being former Marine Corps Avionics with experience working on the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-4 Phantom, Presidential helicopters and the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, this was a dream assignment for me.  I was able to combine my architectural photography with flying aircraft.  I still get a thrill seeing and photographing high performance aircraft whether modern or historic.

Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC website to see more of Todd's work.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Japanese Castle with Stair Trails

This image of star trails taken in 1998 over Iwakuni Castle in Iwakuni, Japan, took a bit of pre-planning.  I had this image in my mind for over a year before it was taken because I would need a clear night; no haze or cloud cover.  Both happening on the same evening is rare in industrial coastal Japan.

Click on image to enlarge

On the afternoon I saw my ideal weather conditions, I travelled to Kintai-Kyo around 4:00 pm to make sure I caught the cable car going up the mountain to the castle before it shut down at 5:00 pm.  I set up my 4x5 camera on my tripod, framed the picture, checked and double checked focus.  And waited a few hours until dark.  Patience is required for architectural photography. 

The castle is lit with spot lights until 11:00 pm, and then they're shut off.  This allowed me to take one exposure of the lit castle, then when the spot lights were turned off, take a second exposure the stair trails on a single sheet of film.  The star trails exposure was for 45 minutes.

When I finished with the photography, and since the cable car had long stopped running, I had to walk down the dark mile long access road from the castle to the bottom with my camera equipment in a photo backpack.

Unique images take planning and going that extra bit to make happen.

Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC website to see more of Todd's work.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


While visiting Thomas Jefferson's home Monticello near Charlottesville, VA last summer, I couldn't resist taking an image of Jefferson's house.  I didn't want to take the same views everyone else seems to take.  I knew from my guide (who happened to be my niece Katy!) that Jefferson was famous for his gardens and interest in agriculture.  I wanted this to reflect in my image of Monticello.

Click on image to enlarge.

When travelling to destinations that have photographic potential, I always bring my basic architectural equipment setup, camera, filters, tripod, shutter release, and light meter.  That way, I don't let a photographic opportunity slip away.

Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC website to see more of Todd's work.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Willard Intercontinental Hotel, Washington, DC

The Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC recently completed extensive renovations.  I photographed for the architect Jonathan Nehmer + Associates in Rockville, MD and the interior designer HVScompass Boston, MA, office.

The quality of the design, materials used and workmanship were impeccable.

Here are a few images from the two day assignment.  Please click on image to enlarge.

Lincoln Suite Parlor

Capitol Suite Parlor

Capitol Suite Parlor Vignette

Oval Suite Parlor

Presidential Suite Bedroom

Presidential Suite Bathroom

Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC website for more of his work..

Friday, January 14, 2011

Iwo Jima Memorial in Snow

In early February of 2010, just as a snow storm was beginning, I drove to the US Marine Corps War Memorial, more commonly known at the "Iwo Jima Memorial" to photograph it in the snow.

Click on image to enlarge.

This image took about an hour to make because of having to patiently wait for the subtle breeze to billow the American flag out from the flag pole.  Patience is a requirement for an architectural photographer as waiting for the right light or wind condition is a must to capture an image at its very best.

Please visit to see more of Todd's work.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ground Zero, Hiroshima, Japan

This image of the Hiroshima Prefecture Industrial Promotion Hall, aka Atomic Dome, was created while studying photography in Japan in the mid 1990s.  This was ground zero in Hiroshima, Japan on 6 August 1945 for the world's first atomic bomb dropped during warfare by the B-29 Enola Gay.  It was built in 1915 and designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel.

I used my Toyo 4x5 view camera with Fuji tungsten balanced sheet transparency film.  This image was created using two separate exposures on the single sheet of film.  The first was at 1/15th of a second to expose the sky.  Since the building was backlit, it remained in shadow and did not register on film.  The second exposure was taken several hours later when darkness fell, and the building was dimly illuminated.  The second exposure was for 6 1/2 minutes.  Now the sky was black and wouldn't register on the already exposed sky.

Click on image to enlarge it.

I knew what my exposures would be since I had previously scouted the location and took a series of test exposures for the sky and building.  It was critical that the camera remain absolutely still during and between exposure's so the two exposures would remain in perfect register.

My camera set up.

I just love creating a technically challenging photograph as I feel it makes for a more memorable and distinctive image.

Todd A. Smith is a No. VA, VA, DC, MD, DE, NJ, NY architectural photographer with offices in Alexandria, VA and Spring Lake, NJ.  Please visit to see examples of his architectural photography.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Published Article Image

Click on image to enlarge.

This is the original Yale Steam Laundry Lofts image used in the AIA/DC News article.  Visit Todd's website at to see more of his work.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Published Article

The Washington DC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects monthly newsletter, AIA/DC News, has a column called Photographer's Corner.  In this column, the featured architectural photographer discusses how a favorite image was created.  I am featured in the December 2010 issue.  Please click on the image to enlarge it to read.

Visit Todd's website at to see more of his work.