Earlier this year, I performed the architectural photography of the Corcoran Parking Deck in Durham, NC. A few months later I was hired by Integrated Design to photograph the Valentine Commons parking deck at the edge of North Carolina State University in Raleigh (I’m noticing a pattern here…)
So this deck had its own particular challenges. Namely:
- It’s north-facing
- There’s ginormous student housing (Valentine Commons) to the immediate east
- There are a ton of street lights (great for security, yucky for my purposes) and signage in the immediate vicinity
- Half of the offices on the lower level are unoccupied, and the other half were uncooperative (always awesome!)
Dealing with property management, when they’re not the client, is one of the secret joys of doing building photography. It’s a coincidence that the two major issues I’ve faced recently involved photographing both of these parking decks.
It took 15 days to wait for the exact conditions I was seeking to take the day shot. It’s north-facing, and because it’s closer to summer solstice, the sun hits the north face in the morning. Great? Not really – the high-rise student housing to the east casts a huge deep shadow onto the facade while the rest remains in the sun. So I waited for a morning in which there were low-lying clouds soon after sunrise but a clear day higher above the horizon. It allowed the simultaneous daylit sky I was seeking and uniform lighting across the north face; definitely the most idea situation, but there’s only one real facade to this structure and you do the best with the circumstances you have.
The other three images were completed a couple weeks earlier. The first focused on the clock tower and the second around the corner. Though lights are dark in the lower-level offices, I took advantage of natural reflections and captured at a time of day where the differences wouldn’t be so noticeable.
The fourth view was from atop the parking deck. Before I was hired I was scoping the site and observed students tailgating and viewing the baseball game from atop the deck. I recommended this as a view to the architect and they liked the idea. This was the view during NCSU’s last home game at Doak vs. Florida State, offers a little context to incidental ways the building’s used.
That’s it for now. So uh, yeah…anytime an architecture firm wants me to shoot a parking deck, or like say…(hint hint nudge nudge) a different type of commercial structure…call me.