Helena High School Architectural Photography by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

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)

Helena Alabama High School at Sunset
Helena AL High School Feild Goal Post sunset
Helena AL High School Feild Goal Post sunset
Shilouette Football Field Goal Post
Shilouette Football Field Goal Post
Helena AL High School  front evening
Helena AL High School front evening
Helena High School Blue Hour Before
Helena High School Blue Hour Before

View more of my Architectural Photography Portfolio here.

I'm available for commercial, architectural, real estate and Google Maps Business View Photography throughout the Southeastern United States (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina). Have a project in need of photographs? Contact me today!

Arial Real Estate Photography - Birmingham, Alabama by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

One of the neat things about being a commercial photographer is the fact that from one shoot to the next you could be photographing really different things. I’ve photographed neon signs at night, industrial pipe fittings, craft jewelry made artisans from all over the world, to buildings, and corporate head shots. This was one of the more unusual shoots, and one of the most fun.

An auction company needed some arial photography of a plot of land near Alabaster (south of Birmingham, AL). While not something I do everyday, it is sort of in my bloodline. My grandfather, a commercial photographer in Louisiana, made his living by standing on helicopter landing skids to photograph oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Fortunately for me I would be able to use a plane and not a helicopter! 

Since I don’t know how to fly, I contacted my good friend James Coats (owner of Coats Classic Cars), who does. He graciously agreed to take me up. Meeting at Shelby Co airport, he picked out a high winged, Cessna 2 seater. The high wing would give me a more unobstructed view. We circled around the plot of land in question starting out low, going up to about 3,000ft, and then back down to 500ft. I was able to capture the subject from multiple angles by sticking the camera out an open window!

We got done with the shoot pretty quickly and we were very close to my house (Helena borders Alabaster), so James decided to do a fly by. I texted Kelly, who hadn’t gone back to work yet, that we were on our way. It took us a few passes to find my house since we are nearly in a forest, but soon enough we did. Kelly was even able to get a shot of us with her iPhone!

So take a look at the final result and if you ever need some arial photography give me a call!

click on thumbnail below to view full size image

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Now Offering Real Estate Photography - Birmingham AL Real Estate Photographers by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

With the Google Maps Business View and commercial photography that I’m already doing, real estate photography is a no brainer as a service for me to offer. Most of the work I’ve been doing in the past couple of years has been architectural in nature. I use specialized photo equipment made for this kind of photography (gridded focus screen, super wide angle lenses, tilt shift lenses, panoramic tripod mount, and the ability to control my camera wirelessly by my iPad). Very often I was asked if I did real estate photography. There seemed to be a need for quality professional listing photography. Either agents were taking photos themselves, or hiring other photographers that specialize in volume, and not so much the best quality. I felt that I could fulfill the need of agents who wanted to wow potential homeowners with the best photography. The photos are often the first thing a prospective home buyer will ever see. Their impression of the property is driven, in very large part, to those images. Poor photographs can turn away buyers before they ever step foot inside the front door.

That’s why my service can be so beneficial. My goal is to offer the best value in real estate photography for the Birmingham, Alabama area. I’m not going to be the fastest, or the cheapest, but I will be the best. The best quality for the amount invested. I do understand the need of the individual agent to keep costs low. Savy and successful agents also know how important good photography is.

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Buck Creek Stained Glass - Helena, AL - Commercial Photographers by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

Buck Creek Stained Glass in Old Town Helena, Alabama is one of the more unique businesses you will ever find. Owner, David Schlueter, is a former Marine and master stained glass artist. He can restore stained glass that has become damaged or create custom works of art. While others may be reluctant to share the secrets of their trade, David offers classes on how to make the your own creation. Whether you are a beginner or more experienced, it’s worth checking out what he has to offer. It was a great pleasure creating the Google Maps Business View virtual tour of Buck Creek Stained Glass. Old Town Helena is quickly becoming a destination for unique shops and activities. Right next to the Buck Creek water fall, this area offers a variety shops, restaurants, and art. David’s business happens to be in the oldest building still standing in Helena. This gives it a unique charm like nowhere else.

So if you are in need of some stained glass repair, want to make your home one of a kind, or want to learn how to make stained glass, you must check out David at Buck Creek Stained Glass. You can view photos and the virtual tour below, and check out his website for all the details!

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Helena Mercantile - Birmingham Alabama Virtual Tours by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

One of the best little shops in Birmingham is in Helena. Amy Webb, owner of Helena Mercantile recently moved the store to the other side of Helena road, next to the Ice and Coal Gallery (who also has a Google virtual tour). This boutique store offers a range of ladies clothing,shoes, jewelry, and accessories. They are really known for the boots, crochet blouses, and local, hand made custom jewelry. The absolute best thing about Helena Mercantile though, is the great personal service from Amy and her team! I was very excited to to create Google Maps Business View virtual tour of Helena Mercantile. Amy has done a fantastic job of transforming an old wedding chapel in to a boutique. Whenever a store is well coordinated, neat, and visually appealing as her's is, my job is made so much easier! Thanks to merchants like Amy Old Town Helena is becoming a vibrant place in the community. If you are ever in the area stop in and say hello!

You can see the virtual tour and commercial images I created of Helena Mercantile on their Google + Local page.

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Take a look around inside and out. View Larger Map