Illuminations

Morton Arboretum Illuminations Lighting Display

Located about six miles from me, the Morton Arboretum is an oasis in the Chicago suburbs, and one of my favorite clients. I’ve photographed the landscape there in all seasons, for their marketing and PR departments. This past November and December, I photographed their new holiday lighting spectacular, Illuminations.

Morton Arboretum Illuminations Lighting Display

Morton Arboretum Illuminations Lighting Display in Snow

Morton Arboretum Illuminations Lighting Display in Snow

The light show, which  just ended, is like Christmas lights on steroids. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but it was a challenge to shoot outdoors, in dim lighting, and on some bitterly cold nights in the snow.

Morton Arboretum Illuminations Lighting Display in Snow

To best showcase the lights, I really needed to shoot on a night when it was snowing, and it just happened that the best night was right after I’d driven (in a mini blizzard for three hours, in bumper to bumper traffic) to Chicago and back– after a job in the city. Once I arrived at the Arboretum, I had to do a quick change in the car out of my formal clothes and into something warm, then head out on foot into the cold.

Morton Arboretum Illuminations Lighting Display in Snow

Morton Arboretum Illuminations Lighting Display in Snow

I think I was out there four times all together. In addition to my still pictures, some video footage I shot before it opened was used on local and national TV stations (Good Morning America and the Today show, I’m told), and the pictures ran on the Arboretum’s website and marketing materials. An amazing 88,000 people came to see the lights over its six week run, and the show was a huge success. Hopefully I’ll be doing it all over again next Winter.

Morton Arboretum Illuminations Lighting Display in Snow

 

The Adventures of Mike’s Camera is the blog of freelance photographer, Mike Hudson. He is available for commercial photography assignments– marketing, corporate, editorial, annual reports, lifestyle, web page photography, and events. His clients have included many regional and national magazines and newspapers, several healthcare providers, colleges, hotels, architectural firms, small businesses and more. Visit MichaelHudsonPhotography.com to check out his portfolio or contact him via email.

 

Recent Work… Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- InteriorsRecently I was asked to photograph interiors for a new, $60-million dollar luxury apartment development going up in my town. The six story building is hard to miss– three hundred 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments surrounding a large outdoor patio and pool area. The pictures will be used in promotional materials– in print, on the web, and in their social media sites.

We had to shoot everything all in one day, and also work around the construction crews working feverishly to get the first units done before their deadline. Added to that, there were only two model units open, so we had to shoot those in between showings to prospective renters. It made for a full, but very productive day of shooting.

I started by arriving early and shooting the lobby (main pic above), which is the centerpiece of the development. I don’t like to use supplemental lighting any more than I have to, but I needed to light some of the furniture, which was looking too dark. I didn’t just want to shoot in HDR (high dynamic range) and leave it at that, though in the end, it became a mixture of an HDR image combined with specifically lit elements.

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- Interiors

The actual view out the windows- cars, piles of rubble, advertising banner, etc. Note the strobe lighting the furniture on the right. This was retouched out of the final image.

Because construction was still underway, there was all kinds of garbage out the lobby windows- mounds of gravel, tractors and other construction related items. In the end, I had to return a couple days later and shoot some trees and sidewalks from around the complex, then replace the views out the windows with those.

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- Interiors

Model apartment, with computer-generated apartments added to the courtyard view

It got even harder when I needed to add some better views out the windows of the apartments themselves. I couldn’t just add trees because the units were two or three stories up. In the end, I got computer renderings from the architects, of what the view was going to be like, and pasted those in the windows.

I think I spent about two full days after the shoot to get all the high resolution images done. The client has since used them on their website and is getting great feedback from their Facebook page.

Since then, I’ve gone back two or three times to shoot exteriors as the outside of the building nears completion.

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- Interiors

Common area lounge

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- Interiors

Common area lounge

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- Interiors

Common area lounge panorama

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- Interiors

Theater

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- Interiors

Fitness room

Wheaton 121 Luxury Apartments- Interiors

Sales area

 

The Adventures of Mike’s Camera is the blog of freelance photographer, Mike Hudson. He is available for commercial photography assignments– marketing, corporate, editorial, annual reports, lifestyle, web page photography, and events. His clients have included many regional and national magazines and newspapers, several healthcare providers, colleges, hotels, architectural firms, small businesses and more. Visit MichaelHudsonPhotography.com to check out his portfolio or contact him via email.