When Kelly and I chose to move to Helena a little over four years ago, one of the main reasons we chose this town was the schools. We love the rest of the town (old town, Buck Creek, the waterfall, parks, community), but the reputation and quality of the schools was one of the most important factors. So we were very excited when the plans for a new High School were announced. Helena students had been sharing a high school with nearby Pelham. Now we would have a place of our own.
Even before completion you could really tell the new feeling of pride in the community. From the selection of the mascot and logo design, to frequent construction updates from famous town blogger No Sleep in Helena, the excitement grew for its completion.
As an architectural photographer I was really excited by the striking design of the building. It’s impressive inside and out. Sitting upon one of the highest hills in Helena it’s reminiscent of the Roman Pantheon, which seems to have inspired part of the design. The front of the school faces almost due west. This, combined with a lack of surrounding clutter, makes for an architectural photographers dream. I knew that their would be opportunities for amazing light and some amazing images.
Over the Christmas break I finally got an opportunity, with some great light, to go out and do some shooting. As the images show, my expectations we clearly met! The only challenge was the presence of the flag pole and parking signs in front. Even with the use of a Tilt-Shift lens (specialty lens for architectural photography), there was no way to capture the full front without them. I know that the architect who designed the school wouldn’t want them obscuring their work. So I had three options, one I could photograph the front from the side, or two use a super wide angle lens, or three, remove them in Photoshop.
Option one wasn’t ideal because it really wouldn’t show off the full aesthetic of the front of the school. You could get a basic idea but not the full effect.
Option two wasn’t ideal because wide angle lenses, especially up close, add a lot of distortion. Lines aren’t straight, and the perspective looks odd. We don’t want potential clients to think that the architect can’t draw a straight line.
Option three was the only good option. It would allow me to show off the full front while maintaining perfect vertical and horizontal lines. It took sometime in Photoshop to make this come together but I feel that the results speak for themselves!
Take a look at a couple of my favorites below. I’m including a link to the architect’s website, they have some interior images as well.
click on image to view larger (opens in new window)