Business Is Beautiful

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Business Is Beautiful

500 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware.
500 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware.

I’m in the business of helping other businesses look their best through visually commanding photography of commercial buildings.

One of my favorite clients is CBRE , the global full-service real estate company. We work together throughout the year on photography projects for their numerous sales efforts — from Class A office buildings to warehouses, to shopping centers, to apartment complexes.

For one of our recent projects together, the Wayne, Pennsylvania office of CBRE commissioned photographs to market 500 Delaware Avenue in Wilmington, Delaware. As with many of these commercial projects, time is short and the client needs strong images of an existing, older building as quickly as possible to close the deal.

A great place to wait before meeting your attorney.
A great place to wait before meeting your attorney.
Upper floor law firm conference room.
Upper floor law firm conference room.

500 Delaware Avenue houses many corporate law firms — unsurprising considering that Wilmington is home to the majority of large U.S. corporations. It can be a challenge to document the most photogenic spaces in such a large office building, with minimal disruption to the building’s tenants. Frequently, I’m accompanied by a property manager who is familiar with the building and with the tenants, and who helps me locate the best spaces and views.

Not every part of a building is glamorous, but the US Post Office pays their rent every month.
Not every part of a building is glamorous, but the US Post Office pays their rent every month.

My specialty is balancing beautiful photography with documentation. I must highlight the best spaces as well as capture the more typical spaces — visually describe the building while piquing the interest of potential investors.

The street address is hard to miss.
The street address is hard to miss.

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Philadelphia's Family Court

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Philadelphia's Family Court

Exterior of Philadelphia’s Family Court with Love Park fountain in foreground.

Exterior of Philadelphia’s Family Court with Love Park fountain in foreground.

There is never a perfect time to photograph a building. Go in too soon and the building isn’t finished; wait too long and access is difficult. This was certainly my challenge photographing Philadelphia’s new Family Court Building. Once the judges and court employees moved into their new home, tight security would have limited our access throughout the 14-story building. We managed to get in while the building was still partially unfinished and coordinate crews to clean the spaces we needed to photograph.

Corridor outside court rooms features terrazzo floors and wood trim.

Corridor outside court rooms features terrazzo floors and wood trim.

I was hired to photograph the $200 million Family Court Building by Tutor Pernini Construction, who built this modern facility designed by Ewing Cole. I was thrilled to work with Tutor Pernini once again, after collaborating on a previous project, the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

One of numerous court rooms.

One of numerous court rooms.

Located in the city center and across the street from the famous LOVE Park, the Family Court Building is a huge upgrade from their previous facilities, which were located within an historic 1920s neo-classical stone building. The court had simply outgrown the old building, and the need for more courtrooms and more office space led to the construction of this new facility.

While photographing the interiors required precise timing to avoid disturbing the soon-to-be tenants, I had the freedom to explore the best angles for the exteriors. The fountain at nearby LOVE Park provides the perfect context for the site, showing the beauty of the park and the amazing location of the new building.

1st floor lobby.

1st floor lobby.

Because of the large scale of this project, I had two assistants helping move equipment and styling the spaces so we could complete our extensive shot list. My goal was to capture the clean and bright interiors while showcasing their warmth and thoughtful details.

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Victorian Gem

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Victorian Gem

View from balcony of Lea Library, rare book room at Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania.
View from balcony of Lea Library, rare book room at Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania.

It’s not everyday that I get the opportunity to photograph such a unique space as a perfectly-preserved Victorian Gothic reading room embedded in the top floor of a modern library.

I was delighted to be commissioned by Cathy Gontarek, art director the Pennsylvania Gazette, to illustrate an article on the gorgeous Henry Charles Lea Library at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Link to PDF of Gazette article on Henry Charles Lea.

Here is another article that features my photos about renovation of Van Pelt Library, in which Lea Library is housed.

Portrait of Lea that hangs in the rare book room.
Portrait of Lea that hangs in the rare book room.

In 1925 Henry Charles Lea’s family donated his extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts to the University of Pennsylvania — along with the room in which they’d been housed since 1881.

The recently-completed Lea Library is now home to the Special Collections Center and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, and includes conference rooms, a digital media lab, seminar rooms and exhibition space for rare manuscripts, in addition to the refurbished reading room.

The double-height reading room is an impressive example of Victorian architecture and interior design — truly a treasure worth preserving for future generations of students and scholars.

Victorian bust from original Lea Library.
Victorian bust from original Lea Library.
The shelves are filled with rare volumes.
The shelves are filled with rare volumes.
Page from a book about witchcraft from the 1400s.
Page from a book about witchcraft from the 1400s.

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Adding Care to Healthcare

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Adding Care to Healthcare

Exterior of the newly opened IPEX building, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia.

Exterior of the newly opened IPEX building, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia.

Seminar auditorium with state of the art AV equipment.

Seminar auditorium with state of the art AV equipment.

I had the pleasure of photographing this unique educational project for architect Bob Little of L2Partridge, along with Turner Construction. The building boasts cutting-edge learning spaces amid green design elements such as a green roof and interiors full of natural light.

In today’s booming healthcare industry, it’s not enough for doctors and other providers to simply be trained in the science of their practice — they must also master the art of person-to-person interactions and they must be familiar with the responsibilities of the other healthcare professionals with whom they will work in the real world.

Collaboration is key. In an educational environment, bringing together multiple disciplines strengthens students’ understanding of their own professions as they learn from each other.

Main entrance to the IPEX building.

Main entrance to the IPEX building.

Clean, modern, bright and airy, the newly-completed IPEX (Integrated Professional Education Complex) building at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia is dedicated to training students with a comprehensive, interprofessional approach to healthcare.

The inspiring and energizing spaces are the ideal home for this new approach to teaching our future generations of doctors and healthcare professionals.

Main stairwell and common space with circular skylights above.

Main stairwell and common space with circular skylights above.

Detail of skylights in the ceiling.

Detail of skylights in the ceiling.

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So It Goes

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So It Goes

Kurt Vonnegut at 1980 Cornell Daily Sun dinner, 5/15/1980.
Kurt Vonnegut at 1980 Cornell Daily Sun dinner, 5/15/1980.

Today, November 11, is the birth date of Kurt Vonnegut. Born in 1922, he died in 2007.

Like Vonnegut, I attended Cornell University and was a member of the Cornell Daily Sun newspaper staff. I have fond memories of photographing for the Sun. One day per week I would be on assignment – shooting during the day, developing film and making prints in the darkroom at night, usually until midnight. The next morning I would wake up and see my photographs in the newspaper that was delivered to my doorstep.

Vonnegut attended Cornell in the 1940s, and he served as managing editor of the newspaper. The year I graduated from Cornell, Vonnegut spoke to the newspaper staff at our annual end-of-year banquet. I had the opportunity to photograph him during the banquet and I took this candid black-and-white close-up of him.

I have always liked Vonnegut ‘s fiction. He’s a great storyteller and his books make me laugh out loud and cry at the failings of his all too human characters. Many of his stories, though simple on the surface, actually deal with life’s biggest questions. That wisdom was on display the night I photographed him at the banquet, May 3, 1980. His speech that night ended with the following words, a reflection of his time at the Sun:

I was happiest when I was all alone — and it was very late at night, and I was walking up the hill after having helped to put The Sun to bed.

All the other university people, teachers and students alike, were asleep. They had been playing games all day long with what was known about real life. They had been repeating famous arguments and experiments, and asking one another the sorts of hard questions real life would be asking by and by.

We on The Sun were already in the midst of real life. By God, if we weren’t! We had just designed and written and caused to be manufactured yet another morning newspaper for a highly intelligent American community of respectable size — yes, and not during the Harding administration, either, but during 1940, ’41 and ’42, with the Great Depression ending, and with World War Two well begun.

I am an atheist, as some of you have gleaned from my writings. But I have to tell you that, as I trudged up the hill so late at night and all alone, I knew that God Almighty approved of me.

— Kurt Vonnegut ’44

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Urban Sanctuary

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Urban Sanctuary

This town house’s façade uses striking geometric shapes.
This town house’s façade uses striking geometric shapes.

The geometric modern façade of this new town house by Daryl Rothmund stands in contrast to its traditional red brick Philadelphia row house neighbors. Working with Daryl is always a pleasure. His projects are a breath of fresh air in the world of residential development, and a delight to photograph.

Imagined by Atrium Designs as an oasis in the vibrant Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia, this large row house features a modern open floor plan, large windows and private outdoor living spaces rarely seen in this dense urban environment.

The dramatic geometries of the home’s facade are continued inside, with a spacious and airy modern design.
The dramatic geometries of the home’s facade are continued inside, with a spacious and airy modern design.
This town house features an open space plan.
This town house features an open space plan.

Steps away from the bustling energy of Philadelphia, this home’s private outdoor space is nothing short of a sanctuary. The home’s large windows and glass doorways fuse the luxurious modern interior with its lush outdoor living spaces in a seamless transition perfect for entertaining.

Who wouldn’t love a secluded oasis like this to enjoy on a hot summer night in the city?
Who wouldn’t love a secluded oasis like this to enjoy on a hot summer night in the city?

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Summer at the Shore

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Summer at the Shore

Windward Harbour is located at the northern tip of Avalon, New Jersey.
Windward Harbour is located at the northern tip of Avalon, New Jersey.

July and August are the hottest months in Philadelphia, and escaping the heat of the city — with all its concrete and glass — is on everyone’s mind. A favorite getaway is the New Jersey shore, where you can just leave it all behind.

Courtyard at Windward Harbour.
Courtyard at Windward Harbour.

A few years ago, I visited the Shore (twist my arm!) to photograph the charming Windward Harbour Condominiums in Avalon, NJ.

E. Allen Reeves, Inc. was commissioned to rebuild Windward Harbor after it was lost to a fire. The Zacker Group Architects designed the 45 unit community which overlooks Cedar Island and the Atlantic Ocean.

Docks are located right outside your door.
Docks are located right outside your door.

Windward Harbour is truly a piece of paradise on the Jersey Shore. If you ever get tired of laying out at the beach, you can enjoy the community pool or go boating.

If you’re not in the mood for the beach, the pool or boating, you can relax on your shaded balcony. These views will never get old.
If you’re not in the mood for the beach, the pool or boating, you can relax on your shaded balcony. These views will never get old.

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Light at Midnight

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Light at Midnight

At midnight view of Stockholm from the south.

At midnight view of Stockholm from the south.

On my visit to Stockholm we climbed a high hill to see the horizon at midnight on one of the shortest night of the year. It's amazing how bright it is in the middle of the night. Midsommer is a big holiday in Sweden.

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Night Flight

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Night Flight

Center City Philadelphia from the east.

Center City Philadelphia from the east.

It’s a cold, dark night on the biggest shopping day of the year, and I’m hovering hundreds of feet above the city of Philadelphia. The world beneath my feet is glowing, the darkness pierced by pockets of light.

What am I doing here?

Deptford, New Jersey, Walmart from 1000 feet.

Deptford, New Jersey, Walmart from 1000 feet.

For three hours that night, we flew loops around Philadelphia in a small helicopter, capturing aerial photographs of cars at five different Walmarts to discover how large a parking lot should be.

Walmart had commissioned an engineering firm to study the capacity of their parking lots on their busiest sales day. My aerial photos would help them answer the classic Goldilocks dilemma — are existing parking lots too big, too small, or just right?

The answer is important: too large of a parking lot and money is being wasted, too small a parking lot and potential sales are lost due to customers not being able to park.

Cockpit of Schweizer 300 helicopter as we approached our final landing.

Cockpit of Schweizer 300 helicopter as we approached our final landing.

The next time you’re out shopping, remember that we’re out there too, working to make your life just a little easier through the magic of aerial photography.

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Where Does All My Stuff Come From?

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Where Does All My Stuff Come From?

Simplicity and orderliness are key inside a warehouse.

Simplicity and orderliness are key inside a warehouse.

Warehouses are a hidden but important part our modern economy.

Most products that end up in our lives pass through a warehouse or two. Boxes of cereal, gas grills, TV sets, baseball caps, blue jeans – you name it, the product has probably been brought to and distributed through a warehouse.

Racking can extend to over 30 feet.

Racking can extend to over 30 feet.

I've had a hard time coming up with an exact figure, but I think there is at least 1 billion square feet of warehouse space in the United States. In 2010, the 20 largest warehouse firms had 514 million square feet of space.

The size of many warehouses boggles the mind. One warehouse that I photographed was 1 million square feet--so big that 17 football fields would fit inside it. A walk around the outside is a one mile trip.

This warehouse contains 600,000 square feet of floor space.

This warehouse contains 600,000 square feet of floor space.

I was asked to photograph this warehouse for the owner, Dermody, so they could promote it to new tenants. It is currently being used as a distribution space for h.h. gregg and also houses a UPS distribution center.

We don’t often think about where our stuff comes from, but the warehouse is a crucial part of the life of an item – from manufacturing to arriving at your front door.

Many warehouses are automated, and can be operated by only a few employees.

Many warehouses are automated, and can be operated by only a few employees.

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I Hate Daylight Savings Time

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I Hate Daylight Savings Time

The 15 clocks I changed for Daylight Savings Time.

The 15 clocks I changed for Daylight Savings Time.

Changing 17 clocks is a drag. Twice a year when daylight savings time starts or ends, I've got to adjust numerous clocks.

And I need to re-adjust my internal clock. I don't understand why we still have this system. If I were king, I would keep the clocks the same all year long.

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Open to the Sky

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Open to the Sky

Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, Philadelphia, PA

Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, Philadelphia, PA

“I’m known as a light artist. But rather than be known as someone who depicted light, or painted light in some way, I wanted to have the work be light.”  —James Turrell

James Turrell manipulates light for a living.

Turrell is an artist famous for his installations that deal with light and perception. For the past five decades he has been creating structures and artworks that make viewers think about the way they experience space and reality itself.

I first encountered his work, Meeting, at the art space PS1 in Brooklyn. I remember on a cold winter day going into a room on the top floor and being surprised that the ceiling was missing and thus, the room was open to the sky. I remember sitting on a bench and watching the sky darken as day turned to night.

Turrell is also a Quaker, and when the Quaker meeting in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood decided to build a new meetinghouse from the ground up, they tapped Turrell to design a Skyspace for the structure. I had the pleasure of photographing the building shortly before it opened to the public. E. Allen Reeves, a long time client built the new meetinghouse.

The opening to the sky in 3 positions: closed, half open, fully open.

The opening to the sky in 3 positions: closed, half open, fully open.

The Skyspace is an aperture in the roof of the meetinghouse that slides back to reveal the sky above. A series of lights around the ceiling further manipulate the light to create different moods and feelings.

I have attended Quaker meetings at a meetinghouse near my home, in Havertown, Pennsylvania. Much of the meeting is set aside for quiet meditation. After spending just a few minutes inside Chestnut Hill’s new space, I could understand how Turrell’s vision of a space open to the sky and the elements becomes an inextricable part of the experience itself.

While Turrell makes art from light, Philips Lighting takes a scientific approach to light. For alternate take on light, read my post,  Is This a Set for a Devo Video?

Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting,

Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting,

The metal roof of the meetinghouse uses motors to slide open.

The metal roof of the meetinghouse uses motors to slide open.

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Shimmer Wall

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Shimmer Wall

A new addition to Philadelphia's streetscape is the Shimmer Wall at the Franklin Institute. Last week I shot and put together this video. Thanks to my son, Paul Benson for his editing chops.

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Modern Meets Historic

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Modern Meets Historic

Central atrium of Curtis Center.

Central atrium of Curtis Center.

The Curtis Center was built in 1910, by publishing magnate Cyrus Curtis. His publishing empire included The Saturday Evening Post and Ladies’ Home Journal.

The almost one-million-square-foot building was a self-contained magazine factory. The entire process of creating a magazine – from writing and illustration to printing – took place in this building that covers an entire city block. The Curtis Center even had its own electrical generators, since public electricity was too unreliable.

By the 1980s the building had deteriorated. A real estate developer decided to revitalize it, converting the central exterior space into a covered atrium with a decorative marble floor and fountain.

Boardroom of Brown & Brown of Pennsylvania, LP.

Boardroom of Brown & Brown of Pennsylvania, LP.

Today, the building combines a classic look with modern functionality. It is home to ergonomic office chairs in wood-paneled conference rooms, and MacBooks underneath hanging chandeliers. I was particularly struck by the historic wood pediment framing the doorway to one of the current tenants, the digital brand management company Brand.com.

Historic wood pediment frames the doorway to the digital firm Brand.com.

Historic wood pediment frames the doorway to the digital firm Brand.com.

When the Curtis Center was renovated in 1987, I documented the renovation for the developer. Last month the building was put on the market, and I was commissioned to document it for CB Richard Ellis, the commercial real estate broker.

The Curtis Center is twelve stories high and across the street from historic Independence Hall (its steeple is on the right side of this photo).

The Curtis Center is twelve stories high and across the street from historic Independence Hall (its steeple is on the right side of this photo).

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A Temple for Modern Science

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A Temple for Modern Science

Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at University of Pennsylvania.

Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at University of Pennsylvania.

The building is littered with brightly-colored terraces for meetings and studying.

The building is littered with brightly-colored terraces for meetings and studying.

The Singh Center is not your grandmother’s research lab. The $80-million nanotechnology center, located on the University of Pennsylvania campus, will appeal to science geeks and architecture fans alike. During the design stage, architects consulted with engineers to measure the precise specifications for the labs inside. During construction, the Dean of Engineering was often seen standing outside with a stopwatch, measuring the length of time that pedestrians spent admiring the exterior.

Nanotechnology is the process of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Researchers have used nanotechnology to improve everything from medicine to tennis balls, and the potential applications are endless.

An electron microscope housed in the building’s basement.

An electron microscope housed in the building’s basement.

The Singh Center houses laboratories for studying and engineering these very small structures. It is one of a few buildings in the country that boasts multiple electron microscopes, each performing a different and complementary function – an all-in-one nanotechnology wonderland.

The nucleus of the building is a small room that houses an extremely sensitive electron microscope, where engineers can study the movements of individual atoms under water. The entire structure was designed around the room’s precise coordinates. University Architect David Hollenberg told the Pennsylvania Gazette that the room is  “the core out of which everything else spirals… if this were a Gothic cathedral, this is where the saint’s bones would be.”

The Singh Center distinguishes itself from other engineering buildings with its stunning and ultramodern design. The public face of the building is a transparent glass structure that allows passersby to peer inside. A cantilevered section that juts out the side creates an illusion of weightlessness that makes pedestrians below catch their breath.

The open corridors encourage interaction.

The open corridors encourage interaction.

Inside the building, extensive public spaces provide a place for scientists and students to study, relax or exchange notes. The Philadelphia Inquirer referred to the open terraces as “nightclub-like lounges.”

Overall, the Singh Center has an exuberant atmosphere, bringing the light from outdoors inside and displaying a glowing interior at night.

It was a pleasure to finally get an up-close view of this architectural marvel, and to learn about the daily miracles that occur inside. The Singh Center will change our idea of what a laboratory can look like, fitting for a field of study that is changing the way we interact with the world we live in.

The SingCenter sits on the former site of a windowless engineering building and a parking lot.

The SingCenter sits on the former site of a windowless engineering building and a parking lot.

Resources:

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Shoe on the Other Foot

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Shoe on the Other Foot

Modern Living

Modern Living

My wife and I recently completed a total renovation of the bathroom in our 1927 Dutch Colonial house in the suburbs of Philadelphia. In a twist on my day job, my wife and I became amateur interior designers and general contractors. Working on this project gave me a new appreciation for what architects, interior designers, and contractors do on a daily basis.

Before the renovation, the bathroom still featured the original white subway tiles and 86-year old cast iron tub. The old-fashioned tub still functioned, but with the tiles and calking starting to fail, it was time redo the room.

The bathroom pre-renovation.

The bathroom pre-renovation.

Even though our bathroom is small, it has many distinct elements. Bev and I spent much of our time making decisions on the choice of finishes, fixtures and details.

Design is a balance of functionality, appearance, durability and cost.

Design is a balance of functionality, appearance, durability and cost.

The experience gave me a crash course in stone and tile. I love the look and feel of real stone, but modern porcelain ceramics are more practical in the damp environment of a bathroom. We ultimately settled on large porcelain ceramic tiles by Roca, an Italian tile company. The sales reps at Mark Galdo Tile in Lansdowne, PA, were also more than generous with their time and advice.

We decided to go with a simple, modern design with large tiles covering the walls and floor. We also replaced the original hinged door with a pocket door, which is a major space saver.

The pocket door gains valuable space in the 5 foot by 8 foot room.

The pocket door gains valuable space in the 5 foot by 8 foot room.

Our contractor, George Feeser, with his experience and attention to detail, was able to build and create the bathroom that Bev and I imagined. The floors had settled so he had to create a new, level one. We preserved or re-created the original Arts and Crafts door and window trim. Finally, we saved space by replacing our old, bulky cast iron radiator with a sleeker, modern one.

Original cast iron radiator.

Original cast iron radiator.

The modern radiator from Runtal saved valuable space.

The modern radiator from Runtal saved valuable space.

While I won’t be alive in 86 years, I hope that my new bathroom lasts for as long as the old one – until it’s time to renovate again.

The bathroom stripped bare.

The bathroom stripped bare.

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Scene From Above

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Scene From Above

Philadelphia from 750 feet.

Philadelphia from 750 feet.

The world looks different from 750 feet. It is one thing to peer down past the wing of an airplane, viewing an entire city in miniature. It is quite another to hover just above the tallest skyscrapers in a two-man helicopter, close enough to see the texture of a stone, far enough to take in whole structures and spaces as never before.

This gallery on my website showcases some of my aerial photography.

Greg flying over the city.

Greg flying over the city.

My commercial real estate clients love to have aerial photos of their buildings. For my part, I love flying in a helicopter with the door removed to get the clearest view and the most flexibility in shooting angle. To see and photograph buildings from the air is a visual treat. To me, flying in a helicopter is better than any amusement park ride.

Paine Park, a skateboard park near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, opened May 2013.

Paine Park, a skateboard park near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, opened May 2013.

The high cost of renting a helicopter puts a premium on efficiency. With the engine often burning a gallon of gas every few minutes, it is even more important than usual to know where the sun will be, and which spots will afford you the best views of a building from on high.

Planning for an aerial shoot involves studying the site on Google satellite view, finding a good weather day, and coordinating closely with the pilot. Pre-planning and good communication with your pilot make for successful photos and a safe flight.

Penn Park

Penn Park

For more helicopter shots, see my previous blog post on using a helicopter to document an urban university's new park and athletic fields.

3 Executive Campus, Cherry Hill, NJ

3 Executive Campus, Cherry Hill, NJ

I look forward to my next trip to the clouds. From up in the air, you begin to understand that architects and city planners are no different than we were as children, playing with Lincoln Logs, planning homes and offices for the people below.

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Swim Suit Optional

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Swim Suit Optional

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As part of my series of portraits of movers and shakers of the building world, I photographed Chad Ochnich and Jeff Mattiola of Bluetree Landscaping. Chad and Jeff work often with EP Henry’s paver products, a frequent client of mine.

When I proposed having them pose waist deep in the pool wearing their work clothes, they were willing to jump right in. As I wrote in my Designer Dog blog, when I shoot portraits I like to show my subjects doing what they love, and also depict them in a playful way.

Chad and Jeff are natural partners in their business. Chad spends much of his time out in the field directing day-to-day operations. Jeff is the behind-the-scenes office manager and salesperson.

They have recently added swimming pool construction to their landscaping business.

Overall view of the Bluetree pool featuring lots of EP Henry pavers.

Overall view of the Bluetree pool featuring lots of EP Henry pavers.

Greg exploring potential camera angles.

Greg exploring potential camera angles.

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Urban Metamorphosis

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Urban Metamorphosis

2040 Market Street, Philadelphia.

2040 Market Street, Philadelphia.

To document PMC Property Group’s newly completed apartment building in Center City Philadelphia, I shot from a nearby rooftop at twilight.

The lights at night add drama and color, and the streaks from the moving cars help animate the photo. The building gives off its own energy.

2040 Market Street as a 5 story building.

2040 Market Street as a 5 story building.

The original AAA building was 5 stories and comparably dull. This site used to be the home of the American Automobile Association. The Association’s declining fortunes meant they had to leave their Mid-Atlantic headquarters.

PMC saw this is an opportunity to transform and expand the building, located at the edges of the Philadelphia's central business district. In 2011, they purchased the 5-story vacant building and morphed it into a 13-story luxury apartment with 282 units.

New section of 2040 Market Street.

New section of 2040 Market Street.

The architectural firm, Varenhorst, masterfully enlarged the smaller building into a modern jewel box

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Designer Dog

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Designer Dog

Floss Barber and Dorothy.

Floss Barber and Dorothy.

As part of my series of portraits of movers and shakers of the building world, I photographed interior designer, Floss Barber at her offices. Her dog, Dorothy, became a key co-star in the photo.

When photographing people, I want the environment in the photograph to show the person, their activities and interests.

Floss runs an interior design studio, Floss Barber, Inc. and her office reflects her passions and focus. Large ceramic sculptures, by the artist, Robert M. Younger, stand tall by the conference room as if they had just materialized from a Greek archeological dig.

Pets become an integral part of our lives and Dorothy was always at the office. Sadly, since I took this photo in the fall of 2012, Dorothy passed away at age 12. In Dorothy’s obit, Floss says that at the office, the dog ended up advising her staff on the correct carpets for her high-end customers. She had a particular affinity for wool and silk blends.

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