Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is Finally Here

With today being the first day of Spring, I thought I would share a couple of images of Spring.  Please click on images to enlarge.

US Capitol.

Artist painting cherry blossoms in Bethesda, MD.

Todd A. Smith is a Washington, DC architectural photographer with offices in Alexandria, VA and Spring Lake, NJ. Please visit to see examples of his architectural photography.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ebisu Shrine, Iwakuni, Japan

My photograph "Good Luck Masks, Iwakuni, Japan" of the Shinto Ebisu Jinja (Shinto God of Wealth or Business Shrine) was just selected for exhibition in the March 2011 monthly show "Carnevale" at the  Art League Gallery in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Please click on image to enlarge.

Only 108 out of 400 pieces were selected for this show.  The juror was sculptor David Page, adjunct professor of sculpture at Towson State University and the Corcoran College of Art+Design.  Professor Page said he hoped to see a variety of lively, energetic work in the show and his expectations were met.  He said he was most interested in the "communication of energy" and when jurying an exhibit he first looks for the artist's personal vision in the work.  He added that he is attracted to works with freshness - whether it is in the style, medium, or subject matter and wants to be moved by the work - to experience some sort of emotional/psychological shift.  In this case he states that he wanted to experience "delight."

This image was taken on 4x5 Fuji Velvia color transparency film.  The brightly colored masks and surrounding dark wood were at opposite ends of the tonal scale, very bright and very dark.  This made it a challenge to expose because of the slow speed of the Velvia film which I rated at e.i. 32.  It was fortunate to be there on a sunny day.  The grounds were covered in a light sandy soil that reflected the sunlight up into the masks.  This not only brought out the vibrant color of the masks but it illuminated the wood structure and its weathered grain.  This reduced the contrast in the scene, allowing the film to record all the detail.

The contrast between the brightly colored masks and dark weathered wooden structure is what initially caught my eye.  I worked with the composition until I got it just the way I wanted and then went on to manipulate the camera swing and tilt movements unitl I got all the elements in the same plane of focus.

Todd A. Smith is a Washington, DC architectural photographer with offices in Alexandria, VA and Spring Lake, NJ. Please visit to see examples of his architectural photography.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Aerial Photography from an Air Force Tanker

The news of Boeing's new tanker contract reminds me of flying in an Air Force tanker during my US Marine Corps avionics days.  I worked on F-4 Phantom fighter jets.   This is my shot of two F-4S Phantoms flying over the Caribbean on our way back from a deployment in Puerto Rico.

Please click on image to enlarge.

I made this shot from the boom operators station in a McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) KC-10 tanker.  The Phantoms would refuel in flight every so many hours, saving them from having to land and refuel.  While flying in formation behind us, the rear Phantom suddenly did a barrel roll.  I thought it would make a great shot so I asked the boom operator, who was in constant radio contact with the Phantoms, to ask the pilot to roll again.  Not only did he roll but he stayed inverted for a few seconds, giving me time to get the shot.  It resulted in this unique image and remains a favorite in my collection of aviation photographs.

Todd a. Smith is an award-winning Washington, DC architectural photographer with offices in Alexandria, VA and Spring Lake, NJ.

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wisconsin State Capitol

With all the attention the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison is getting recently, I thought I'd share some of my photographs of it.  Please click on images to enlarge.

Capitol reflected in the Skidmore, Owens & Merrill (SOM) designed First Wisconsin Plaza at dusk.

Reflection in an office building on W. Mifflin Street in late afternoon. Took a bit of subtle maneuvering to get the reflection just the way I wanted.

Interior detail with young lady in red descending stairway.

Rotunda view showing East Gallery wing and Robert M. Lafollette bust.

The Wisconsin State Capitol was designed by George B. Post and Sons in 1906.  The Capitol was begun in late 1906 and finally completed in 1917.  This is by far my favorite building in the world.  The design, materials and workmanship are amazing.

On a note of interest, Madison used to be famous for its Italian restaurants downtown and in the Greenbush neighborhood.  The marvelous stone and marble craftsmen who built the Capitol were mostly from Italy.  They brought their families when they settled in Madison.  Sadly, only a few of these restaurants remain.  One of the best, Paisan's still does.

Todd A. Smith is an architectural photographer in Washington, DC, VA and MD with offices in Alexandria, VA.  For projects in NJ, NY and PA he has a second office in Spring Lake, NJ.