15.2 PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKSHOPS

Although I have practiced architectural photography for more years than I would like to admit, I place a lot of value attending workshops because I am not formally trained as a photographer.

The shift to digital photography was fundamental and, once I decided to put aside my film cameras, it required a major investment of financial and human resources. During the film days I had worked my way up to Hasselblad and so it just seemed natural to continue to invest in the digital Hasselblad system. The new digital Hasselblad cameras are amazing but are very different than their film predecessors.

So in order to learn digital photography I began by attending Hasselblad workshops with Peter Lorber in Sedona, Bar Harbor and at his shop in Boca Raton. Peter and his team are great fun and really provide personal tuition.

Once I had mastered the use of the camera it was time to work with the masters of architectural photography. I attended two workshops with Jeffrey Totaro at West Palm Beach and one with Tim Griffith at Palm Springs, California. Both workshops were inspiring but quite different. Jeffrey has a relaxed style and hands on while Tim’s workshop was oversubscribed so you watched and listened from a distance. It was interesting that both Tim and Jeffrey use medium format digital backs mounted on a technical camera, shooting tethered. This was new for me and when I saw the benefits and stunning images I decided to continue investigating this approach.

After some research I came across another Hasselblad shooter, Sean Conboy that uses the Hasselblad back on a Linhoff Technical camera that gave me some confidence that I was on the right track. I continued my online research and decided that the Sinar arTec was a technical camera designed specifically for medium format architectural photography. The problem for me was that living in Trinidad and Tobago makes it very difficult to have a demonstration and to see how equipment actually functions.

When I was invited to deliver a speech on Architecture Matters at the AIA conference in Bozeman Montana I decided to find out if there were any interesting workshops in the area. As luck would have it Capture Integration had arranged a Jeffrey Jacobs Workshop in Kallispell, Montana the following week. Jacobs is a character and very passionate about his work and architecture. He makes art and lights his architecture to produce stunning, unrepeatable images. Capture Integration [CI] are a major US reseller and they kindly agreed to get a Sinar Artec with a Rodenstock 23 mm lens to test and demonstrate for me at the workshop. Zac Henderson from CI spent time with me going through the arTec and testing the lens in comparison with the Hasselblad lenses.

As a result I decided to extend the flexibility of my camera equipment by using my Hasselblad digital back on a Sinar arTec Technical camera. This way for those images that require perspective control and camera movements I just unclip my digital back and fit it onto the Sinar arTec and “voila”. The flexibility of this equipment is difficult to equal.

Over the last few months I have been testing lenses, working tethered and generally getting the hang of the arTec. I am shooting with Sinaron Rodenstock lenses [23, 32, 40 mm] tethered to my Mac 13” laptop.

When I look back over the last three years I am thankful for being able to attend several workshop and learn a great deal about architectural photography and digital photographic equipment.