Architectural Photography

Visiting and Photographing Dallas, TX

Six years ago I moved from Dallas, TX to Las Vegas, NV. A couple weeks ago I went back to Dallas to visit for the weekend. I noticed a lot of changes in the urban landscape while I was there, and this month I’d like to share some of the photographs I made in Dallas.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science Before Dawn, Dallas, TX

In addition to being a fine art landscape photographer, I specialize in architectural photography. I love bringing artistry to a field of photography that can also be very technical. As both a landscape and architectural photographer, one of my favorite things to do is photograph cityscapes, which are a combination of making a landscape photograph and capturing the built environment. In the photograph above I’ve showcased the Perot Museum of Nature and Science among its neighboring buildings in Dallas.

The Perot Museum opened in 2012 just when I was moving away, and I had not seen it until this visit. Here’s a closer view of the museum during the day.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, TX

Museum Tower, Dallas, TX

The photographs I’m sharing here are mostly architectural, but in many of my exterior architectural photographs I like to bring in the natural landscape to show the environment and help bring life to the images. That’s not as easy to do in a downtown environment, but Dallas has also been building new green spaces to make the city more enjoyable for new downtown residents. The Klyde Warren Park is one example. Adjacent to the park and the Dallas Museum of Art is the Museum Tower, which is a new building that features downtown residential units.

 

And while I’m at it, here’s a look at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX

McKinney Avenue Lofts, Dallas, TX

During the day, I wandered around and found a couple buildings to photograph in some nice light. Here is one of them, which is also another downtown residential building. This one is located in the booming Uptown section of Dallas.

 

I also enjoyed photographing this detail of a parking structure.

Parking Structure, Dallas, TX

Over the weekend I went up to Frisco for a photography walk. Here are a few of the photographs I made there.

Frisco, TX

Babe's Chicken, Frisco, TX

Gaby's Blacksmith Shop, Frisco, TX

Frisco, TX

That was my trip to Dallas. Next month, I’ll be back to my regular desert Southwest landscapes. It’s nice to sometimes get far enough away to have the opportunity to photograph something completely different from what I’m used to seeing. I hope you enjoyed that brief view of Dallas, TX!

(To learn more about my architectural photography, please visit https://tesslerphotography.com).

Wind Power in Palm Springs

I once wrote about the power of the wind in shaping the landscape, and during a recent architectural photography project in Palm Springs, I gained firsthand experience with wind power.

Wind turbines in Palm Springs, CA

High winds are a common condition at the north end of Palm Springs. Consequently, a large wind farm resides in the area. The wind turbines are large, numerous, and constantly in motion.

Wind turbines in Palm Springs, CA

Another feature of this area of Palm Springs--a city known for its distinctive architecture--is a unique house inspired by Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome.

The site of the house puts it right in the middle of the wind farm, and you can view the turbines from most of the many windows in the house. The house did not always have all these windows, however. California architect Pavlina Williams, AIA bought the house a few years ago and redesigned it, making it into the beautiful home I’m sharing with you here.

Geodesic Dome House, Palm Springs CA. Architect: Pavlina Williams, AIA

During my last night at the house, the winds were particularly strong. I believe they were 40-50 miles per hour steadily, with gusts even higher. As I worked outside, at times fighting the wind to stay upright, I understood why they chose this location for the wind farm. It was actually difficult to remain standing in the gusts, and I worried that my photography would be affected. Fortunately, my tripod withstood the high wind and allowed me to produce very sharp photographs.

I continue to be amazed by the power of the wind. Not only does it help shape the desert landscape of the Southwest, but it also provides a steady source of power in some places. I enjoyed the opportunity for a short time to reside among these huge wind turbines as they harnessed the power of the wind.

If you’d like to see additional photographs of the house, including some interior images, take a look at this blog post on my architectural photography website. And if I’ve inspired you to visit Palm Springs to see the house for yourself, you can book it through Airbnb at this listing. (Please note: Some of the photographs in the Airbnb listing are by me, but many are not.)

Geodesic Dome House, Palm Springs, CA. Architect: Pavlina Williams, AIA

To Specialize or to Generalize?

Photographers starting a new business face an important decision either immediately or shortly after going into business: whether to specialize in one area of photography or generalize and offer multiple types of photography services.

A Lazy Evening at Red Rock, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

It’s a difficult decision. I think it is better to specialize because specialization allows you to define yourself and your brand. You can establish yourself more easily as an expert in your chosen area and become known as the person to go to for that kind of photography. You can build a strong portfolio of images and use that portfolio most effectively to target your marketing to a specific customer base.

On the other hand, photographers just starting out may not yet know what they want to do, and they may have varied interests. Further, it is difficult for a new business to turn down any kind of job, because revenue is scarce and expenses are plentiful at the beginning.

As the owner of a newer photography business, I have faced this decision. I have been in business for almost two years, and for me it’s a little easier because mine is a side business. I have a separate income that supports me and subsidizes my business expenses, so I don’t feel a need to generalize and start taking all kinds of photography jobs. I still must face this decision, however.

Right now my primary business is selling fine art prints of my landscape photographs. I sell my work online at my website, at art festivals throughout the year, and in other retail venues. Before starting my business, I worked very hard to find my artistic vision and develop my style, and I continue to grow and develop as an artist. So I have specialized in fine art landscape photography.

Even at this early stage it is clear to me that I have a profitable business model as a fine art landscape photographer. Profitable, however, does not necessarily mean much. In fact--at least at this point--it is also clear that if I want my photography business to provide a living income which would free me from having to maintain a separate primary source of income, I am going to need additional revenue from my business. It’s difficult to make a living as a photographer of any kind, but landscape photography is one of the more difficult ways.

I will soon be expanding my business into a new area of photography: architectural photography. This area of photography nicely complements my landscape photography because, even though it is a commercial area of photography and has highly technical requirements, there is still a lot of artistry involved in it. My landscape photography influences my architectural photography. As I have developed my architectural photography knowledge, skills, and experience, I have also found that my architectural photography has influenced my landscape photography.

Davita Dialysis, Las Vegas, NV. Daniel S. Amster (Dakem & Associates, LLC), architect.

Although I am expanding my capabilities, I’m not completely generalizing. I really feel it is important to specialize in one or two (preferably related) areas of photography. Landscape and architectural photography are my chosen fields.

I love both fine art landscape photography and architectural photography, and I look forward to the day when I can support myself fully through photography. Stay tuned for an announcement about my new architectural photography business!