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Architectural Rendering & Photography

Classics Scene

Architectural visualization and Architectural photography are very similar. Creating an interior rendering is basically shooting an architectural photograph of an interior. The only real difference is that in the case of the rendering, the artist is building (digitally) the space and the objects in it. Both artist and photographer light the scene and stage it to create a visually appealing image.  Both need to understand light and form in order to bring out the subtle and essential details in the design.

These days photographers are more digital artists than photographers. Taking as many as thirty shots of the same view, in order to composite them together in post production. The photographer is spending more time “creating” the image than “capturing” it. There is no right or wrong to this approach, however there is something to be said for being able to get the shot right “in camera”. This means that little post production work is needed other than basic image adjustments similar to what one would do in a dark room.

Rendering too can sometimes rely heavily on post production work to create the image. In some cases this approach can be quicker, however it often locks the artist into one view. In many cases trying to change the view during the revision process can mean essentially starting over. Getting the rendering right in the render engine is not unlike getting the photograph right in camera.  A new angle means placing a new camera and generating a new render, but knowing it will turn out identical in feel and look to the original means that there will be less work in post production.

Classics Feature revised

Churchville Nature Center

winter reflections
deer skull

No Matter where you are in Bucks County, you’re only a few minutes from a great outdoor space. I had planned to get up and shoot the sunrise, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Completely white sky, no clouds, no sun,  just a lot of wind, so, I went back to bed. An hour later the weather had changed (slightly) and though I had missed sunrise, I still wanted to get out and shoot.

My original location was no longer going to work. Instead, I drove 5 minutes over to Churchville Nature Center. The preserved space is on Springfield Lake in Southern Bucks County. There are a few trails, but nothing difficult. There is a boardwalk that can accommodate a wheelchair and most of the trails are flat with very little obstacles. Great for kids, but no dogs allowed.

The nature center itself is pretty cool with a lot of info on the local wildlife and plantlife. Behind the center is a bird blind. I don’t know much about birding, but there always seems to be a few people hanging out with binoculars and little bird identification books.

I walked around the top half of the lake to get the shots shown here. All were taken on the opposite side of the lake from the nature center. The boundaries of the preserve are not that well marked and if you keep going, you run into “no trespassing” signs. I think I wandered along a game trail that may not have been part of the trail system. Looking at satellite images of the area there is a lot to explore, but it’s not clear what is public land and what is private.

I found a deer skeleton near where I was shooting and incorporated the skull in one of the shots. I’ve seen a few of these in this area over the years.  Elm Ave runs along the northern border of the center’s trails. Deer get hit by cars and stumble a few yards into the woods before falling near the edge of the lake. When the light is still good, but there is not much color, black and white images can bring out the details and textures.

Island

Indian Run Reservoir

Indian Run Reservoir. Schuylkill County, PA. 2015.

I used to moutain bike to the dam at Indian Run as a kid. The distance between the trail entrance near the road and the dam itself is much longer than I remember. Being on foot didn’t help either. I never made it all the way to the dam that day, but did manage to take a few shots on the walk.

Gordon Nagle Rail
Indian Run Crane

The photos were all taken along the Gordon Nagle Trail in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. I haven’t seen trains on the tracks often but they do run occasionally. The area has seen quite a bit of development over the last few years. The shot below of the hillside being clear cut and excavated is somewhat concerning as the area was great for hiking.

Though it was late December, temperatures have been higher than normal and there is quite a bit of green still visible.

Selling Prints on Fine Art America

Art Prints

Over the years, I’ve belonged to many different websites related to photography. Most of the websites were portfolio based sites designed to showcase your work. Sites like Photoblink500pxFlickrTumblr, etc. You get the idea. During this time I’ve also had my own portfolio website (no not this one) ……this one: dgoakill.com   It is a Zenfolio site I created back in 2008. I still have it and it’s undergone many transitions over the years, mainly because it’s so cheap compared to a lot of the other options on the internet. One of the big advantages of the site is that it has print on demand options and a very good payment system. Visually, that’s another story for another post.

Back in 2008, there were not a lot of options like SquareSpace and the dozens of others that have popped up in recent years. But, a lot of them don’t have the same robust back-end when it comes to selling images or making prints. What Zenfolio lacks in looks, it makes up for in brains…for the most part. However, though my site has been there and on the web for almost 8 years, I don’t rank very high in search engines (mostly my fault SEO wise) mainly do to the fact that my work is all images and not text. Even my blog is all images. Posts like this will do more for rankings than only posting images which is common sense these days. I’ve just always had a problem writing gibberish in order to get ranked. Getting noticed and making sales is tough in photography in general, even harder when most of your work is of regular people who didn’t even know you were taking their picture.

Most of my sales are through word of mouth and random luck (or so I think) as I do nothing to really promote myself. Sites like Zenfolio and others don’t do much to help in that regard either, as they are a service, not really a community or a hub. That’s where sites like Fine Art AmericaSociety6, & Red Bubble come in. While I’ve belonged to all of these sites, the most success I’ve had has been through Fine Art America. I’ve had more sales than the other two combined. Again, doing little work to promote. Mostly, just uploading my work and dropping a note here or there on Twitter & Facebook.

While all of these sites have vibrant communities with targeted audiences, Fine Art America has, or at least seems to me, to have a more diverse group of users. The site also has a very noticeable presence on the web, and if you belong to it, you can get the benefit of that presence. Of course there is a lot of competition on the site itself, and just being on there doesn’t mean much in general, it does at least put you in a better position to be found.

I still sell through my old (main ?) website, but I’ve had more exposure through Fine Art America. The prices I charge are much cheaper than through my old site, but the quantity of sales has evened out the price difference. So if you’re looking for a place to try and test the market for print sales, check them out. It’s free to join with some limitations, but premium accounts are only $30 a year. I waited until I made a sale to upgrade, so it paid for itself. Literally.

Here’s a link to the membership plans page: http://fineartamerica.com/membershipplans.html

My gallery is here or through the “Buy Prints” button in the menu.

Good luck!