Blue Hour photography of our coIN Loft

It had been a year and a half in planning and 3 months in execution, but our shared coIN Loft office renovation is finished. Credit goes to the Start-it-up Delaware founders Wes Garnet, Steve Roettger and Mona Parikh for the foresight and execution of the project. Katie O'Hara was the Interior Designer and Mona was the project manager.

Now the space is available for additional tenants. Helping attract them is where I come in. High quality architectural photographs on websites, tweets and blogs will let viewers know that this is an entrepreneur's ideal office space. Its look rivals that of any Soho, LA or Frisco coop workspace.

We decided that the blue window twilight look would be the most dramatic way to illustrate our space. Blue windows, white walls, black furniture and red accents were the major colors that would harmonize and contrast. The project owner would want the space to look open, inviting and vibrant.  Every detail, texture and color used to achieve that end would be in the interest of the Interior Designer.

We did 4 photographs on the upper level with one camera and 2 on the lower level with a second. Since the Blue Hour that we are interested in lasts only about 15 to 20 minutes, timing and planning is essential. For this blog, I will discuss how we managed to make the all views in time.  In another I can demonstrate the layering techniques that make the finished view. 

We all know that it gets dark when the sun sets. There is a great little site called that even predicts exactly when that occurs. Easy and simple right?  Now factor in cloud cover, exterior lighting levels, interior light intensity and color, direction of the window relative to the sunset and the time exact time is quite nebulous.  It is not so obvious as to exactly when the camera will record the sky as blue and the wall as white in a single exposure.

Of the 6 views, 2 were made before the optimum time, 3 were made during and 1 was made after. Here are the 6 views with the time stamp:

7:41 PM
This was made one hour before the peak Blue hour for the front of the building while the sun was setting on the back.  The excess blue cast from daylight on the the floor was removed. Accent light painting on the background increased contrast and brought attention to the large plaque. Window detail was added from darker exposures.

8:07 PM
The camera was turned around and this view was made 1/2 hour before peak Blue hour.  The blue cast on the floor was corrected and windows from shorter exposures were added like in the previous image.  This time additional exposures were made specifically to light the brick wall, which were painted in.

8:38 PM
The camera was moved to the conference room. The brick wall and the backs of the chairs were lit while we waited for the optimum blue window.

8:43 PM
Within 5 minutes of the exposure made in the conference room, this view was composed in time to capture the blue window.  Having this one in the bag, the camera could sit and wait until the next image was finished. We would return later to light the furniture and the brick wall.

8:52 PM
The second camera had been set up for a while at this position.  The front window was captured about 10 minutes earlier and the uppermost window was captured with this exposure. We were careful not to position a camera or light in the window of this camera's view. When this image was finished, we could return to the upper level and light the furniture even though it was now dark.

9:21 PM
Now that it was well after dark, this image could be completed because no windows were visible.

In this case, it took good planning, 2 cameras, 7 halogen lights on light stands, 2 assistants and 4 hours from beginning to end to make the raw photographs. It would take another 6 hours to process and finish these images.