Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidential Images for Presidents' Day

In honor of Presidents' Day, I thought I would share some presidential images I've taken over the years.  Please click on the images to enlarge.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.  Sculptor: Daniel Chester French

Abraham Lincoln Life Mask.  Sculptor: Leonard Volk, c. 1860.  Woodrow Wilson House museum, Washington, DC. 

Woodrow Wilson Bust.  Sculptor: Jo Davidson.  Woodrow Wilson House museum,     Washington, DC. 

(official White House photo)

Me at the White House with President Clinton when I finished my tour with Marine Presidential Helicopter Squadron HMX-1.

Todd A. Smith is a Washington, DC architectural photographer with offices in Alexandria, VA and Spring Lake, NJ.  Please visit to see more of Todd's work.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yale Steam Laundry Condominiums

Sometimes, a large view is the best way to convey the scope and design of a project.  This image of the Yale Steam Laundry Condominiums in Washington, DC is a perfect example.

Click on image to enlarge.

This front elevation of the BBG-BBGM (new east tower) and John Ronan (historic Yale Steam Laundry building) Yale Steam Laundry Condominiums was a challenge to make.  One wide shot would not cover the entire building.  An extreme wide angle lens would have distorted the building.  This view took several images combined as a panorama in post production to accurately render the building.

Todd A. Smith is Washington, DC architectural photographer with offices in Alexandria, VA and Spring Lake, NJ.  Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC website or call 703-751-1688 to see more of Todd's work.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rolls Royce's Spirit of Ecstasy at 100

The iconic Rolls Royce "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament celebrates its 100th birthday this month.  Here are three images of President Woodrow Wilson's 1923 Rolls Royce as part of a recent shoot we did for the Woodrow Wilson House museum in Washington, DC.

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge. 

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In the first image, a close up, I wanted to convey the feeling of motion so I used a slow shutter speed to blur the American flag in the subtle breeze.

The second image is a front view of President Wilson's 1923 Rolls Royce.  This image gives the Spirit of Ecstasy a sense of place and scale.

The third image took a bit of planning and coordination.  I needed the light to skim the north facing front facade of the President's home. This involved waiting four months until June when the sun would hit the north facade.  Moving the car was the next challenge.  When a member of the Washington, DC chapter of the Rolls Royce car club started up the car it backfired so loudly that the embassy neighbors up and down the street were either ducking or peeking out their windows to see what was going on.  After several false starts the engine finally caught.  Only then were we able to move the car into position and make the shot.

Meanwhile in Great Britain, one hundred Rolls Royces were recently driven through London on the 6th of February to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the enduring, iconic Spirit of Ecstasy.

Todd A. Smith is a Washington, DC architectural photographer, with offices in Alexandria, VA and Spring Lake, NJ.

Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC or call 703-751-1688 to see more of Todd's work.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Louis Sullivan's Bank in Columbus, WI.

Below are five images from downtown Columbus, WI.  Four are views of the Farmers and Merchants Union Bank, Louis Sullivan's last "Jewel Box" bank, built in 1919. One is a view of the Columbus City Hall designed by T.D Allen of Minneapolis, MN in 1892.  Please click on images to enlarge.

Above, Sullivan's design is on the right, and on the left, the 2006 addition designed by John G. Waite & Associates of Albany, NY.  The new addition, on the left, was designed to replicate the feel of the original downtown architecture.

Columbus, WI, City Hall

Farmers and Merchants Union Bank as seen from roof of Columbus City Hall.  This view shows the 1980 addition to the bank designed by the Bunce Corporation of Madison, WI, which was torn down when the new addition was built in 2006.

Front elevation of the original 1919 Sullivan design, right, and the 1980 addition, left.

Northwest facade.  Ever notice the roaring lion's head shadow from the square block pillars' ornament?

Sullivan used lions and lion's heads in the design throughout the bank.  This shadow only appears from the sun hitting the ornament at certain time of the year and resembles a lions head, even though there isn't one in the ornament.

I look for the unique angles of a subject.  It adds interest to the image.  This bank has been photographed hundreds if not thousands of times by historians, architects, and tourists for its association with Louis Sullivan.  Sullivan's most famous student was Frank Lloyd Wright.  Columbus, WI also boasts a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house built in 1956.

Todd A. Smith is a Virginia architectural photographer specializing in residential and commercial projects as well as scale models.  Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC to see more of Todd's work.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jonen Ji Temple, Iwakuni, Japan

Sometimes, a vignette will bring the viewer into a shot and tell the story better than a wider shot will.  I will use vignettes in my architectural photography to help bring an intimacy to a space.

This close up image of a blue-green patinated bronze statue of a Buddhist monk and yellow flowers brings out the peace of the temple.  I felt a wider shot would have had too much information, and the peace would have been lost.

Click on image to enlarge.

This image presented a depth of field focus challenge.  I wanted the image sharp from the front toe to the flowers.  But, my lens couldn't accomplish this with stopping down the aperture alone.  I used quite a bit of front standard swing (or Schleimpflug) on my view camera to give me the depth of field I needed while keeping my aperture at an f-stop setting for maximum sharpness.

This image won honorable mention in the June 2010 Alexandria Art League Gallery show located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

St. Matthews Cathedral Washington, DC

I work with my photographer wife Tracey Attlee as second shooter at her weddings and when she's shooting business portraits.  During a wedding ceremony, I'm usually in the back of the church getting overall shots with a wide lens and close ups of the altar with a telephoto lens.

Click on image to enlarge.

I'm happy to use my architectural photography skills while working with Tracey as it adds a dimension to her work that other wedding photographers do not have.

Tracey's client was thrilled with this image and all of the wedding images of that day.

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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thinking of Summer

With the news stations predicting ice this evening, I am looking forward to summer!  This image of sunrise at the shore is from last summer taken in Spring Lake, NJ while on assignment at the Hewitt-Wellington Hotel.

Click on image to enlarge.

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