Pierce College AthleticsPosted on: May 11, 2011
Digital 101: Lessons Learned at Pierce College
Last week I was asked by Steinberg Architects to photograph a California Junior College Athletic Center at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley. The project was an upgrade and renovation of a fifty year old facility badly in need of a facelift. Arriving early in the morning and expecting few people, I was surprised to find nearly every space filled with a huge cross section of the Pierce College community doing the things necessary to keep them healthy and engaged. From exercise classes for seniors, to ballet and karate classes for college kids, to exercise classes for the severely handicapped, to championship college sports teams, nearly every constituency was represented. This was a community college where the adjective “community” actually meant something.
The State of California is broke and it will take a number of years and some very clear thinking in Sacramento before we will dig our way out of this financial hole. That being said, the State’s community college system is an incredible bargain for both the State and its students and one that continuously reaps benefits for a broad spectrum. I think politicians and citizens alike realize this and will continue to fund and support this vital asset. Preserving and extending the life of the physical environments of these colleges will be a State priority in the coming years in spite of our dire economy. This is money well spent.
Digital 101: Some technical notes on shooting in difficult spaces.
Gyms, pools, and locker rooms were not designed for photography. Shooting in these environments can be challenging. I remember trying to shoot a basketball game in film a number of years back using available light with almost disastrous consequences. Today’s sophisticated digital cameras now have sensor speeds that can go to 6400 ISO. Using remotely triggered strobe lighting and high ISO settings we can illuminate large spaces, and stop action. The digital noise created from the high ISOs can be meliorated by using Photo Shop third party software plug-ins. Using a universal white balance tool, a pleasing color balance can be had under almost any lighting condition.
Digital cameras and imaging software are changing the face of architectural photography in a dramatic fashion. We can now photograph spaces with real people doing real things and create images much closer to how our eyes perceive the environment.