| 2010 September
chicago architectural photographer, photography, architecture, photographer, interior design, furniture
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September 2010

I don’t usually post about gadgets that have nothing to do with photography, but I received our latest little bit of technology yesterday and have been having lots of fun with it.  And when I say “little bit of technology” I mean LITTLE.  The palm sized box measures just under 4x4x1 inches!  All you have to do is plug the power in and connect to your TV with an HDMI cable, and you’re ready to get started.  So Apple simple.  Right away we connected to our Netflix account and my son started watching Clifford’s Really Big Movie.  The 99 dollar device uses your WiFi or wired network and then you can rent movies and tv shows through the iTunes store at really reasonable prices.  You can also utilize internet services such as Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, internet radio and others.  Lastly, you can also connect to computers on your network and access their music, movie and photo collections to view and play on the device.

Another thing that’s pretty cool is the Remote App for iPhone and iPad which allows you full control over the AppleTV.  I’ve been looking into house wide centralized music systems for a while, considering Sonos and Control 4 but this cute little black box from Apple may conquer all.


This is a short film I made about my Grandfather several years ago while still in school.  My intent was to allow him to tell his own story and interweave that with my own fascinations about Chicago’s south east side where he lived.  The area, once a thriving industrial manufacturing center had fallen into decline along with America’s steel production.  The file is a terrible digitzation of the original film which was shot entirely on 16mm black and white.  I think I’m going to send the original print out for a proper transfer and re-do the sound.

This is the film, though, that really started my fascination with making moving pictures.  Sadly my Grandfather passed before I ever got to show him the completed piece.


We recently had the opportunity to photograph this apartment for Brininstool + Lynch and Goldberg General Contracting in one of the Mies towers here in Chicago. The design was straightforward, nononsense modernism that somehow retained a homey coziness.

We also just spent a couple days on another B+L project at the home of software geniuses 37 signals.  In addition to stills, we’re working on a film of the space and I’m excited to post those as soon as completed.


Photokina kicks off tomorrow and there have already been some exciting announcements from manufacturers.  Leaf Imaging (which is now owned by Phase One) has the first new back of the fair which captures an astounding 80 megapixels.  That yields roughly a 35″x25″ print at 300dpi.  I can only assume that Phase One will also be releasing something along those lines.  Personally I’d rather see greater dynamic range than more pixels, but there you have it.

I also received a flyer from Arca Swiss showing two new versions of the Rm3d camera that I’ve so recently fallen in love with.  The Rm2d is smaller and aimed more at travel protography while the Rm3di touts a rotatable focus mount (like the larger Rl3d) which alows you to have swing OR tilt.  Arca has also come up with a new geared tripod head named the D4.

Speaking of D4’s, Profoto has updated their awesome D4 power pack with their Air Sync system, allowing you to control the strobe’s output through the Air Remote software.  You can already do this with the previous design by using a USB cable between the computer and pack (we did this last week with our rentals) but the less cords the merrier!  Additionally, they have announced some new constant light sources with either tungsten or metal halide lamping.

Updates to Alpa’s site have revealed that Schneider’s long awaited Super Digitar 28mm is finally going to be released and I’m sure many architectural shooters are thrilled about that.

I can only imagine what other coolness will be revealed tomorrow when the fair officially opens.


A number of my clients have been after me for a while to start producing some videos of their projects.  I actually studied filmmaking alongside photography back at SAIC and it’s an interest I’ve neglected for far too long.  After shooting stills of this project last year, I got to thinking that it might also work really well for video.  I thought, if I was going to experiment with putting some moving pictures together then what better place to start than a client’s own office where I could spend enough time to make sure I got the footage I wanted, not have to worry about being too intrusive and already have familiarity with the design.

We spent two days shooting the piece, based loosely around a vague storyboard I had in my head, using my new Canon 5dMk II.  I played with a steadicam rig, turned my Magliner cart into a dolly and adapted my Nikon mount Zeiss lenses for some different optics.  The 85mm f 1.4 was superb and was used for all the tighter shots.  The Arca Cube tripod head is so smooth that it worked nicely for pans, though a real fluid head is going to be essential.  I edited about 36GB of footage down to 4 minutes and 11 seconds of finished product, incorporating a few stills from the previous shoot as well as some timelapse scenes shot with the D3.

Gensler’s Chicago Office from Chris Barrett on Vimeo.

Bigger Version Available HERE.