Archive for the 'Technique' Category

Now on Instagram

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016


If you’ve noticed the slower the usual updates to the blog these past several months, rest assured that it’s not because there’s nothing going on. Just that there’s increasingly less time to write about it.

So while there are still blog posts in the works, it is more likely that you’ll see fresher update on things via my Instagram account which can be found

@timgrffithphoto  or

Retail Therapy

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

Of course, I’d seen the renderings and some construction images but nothing quite prepares you for that first glimpse of Riverside 66 as you round the corner along the snaking Hai He River in Tianjin. A wry smile crept across my face as the taxi swept along the massive curved facade with its 10,000 panels of glass. Photographing large-scale projects in dense urban areas always provides an interesting challenge, though the sheer size of Riverside 66 added yet another layer of complexity to finding the right images to tell the story.


I’d first laid eyes on the building about six weeks previously as we scouted the site, scoping out potential angles and chasing a few preliminary views that could be used in the build up to the Grand Opening. At that time, the site was still swarming with construction workers rushing to meet the impending deadline for completion. Seeing them dwarfed against the building only served to emphasize the enormity of both the interior and exterior spaces.


One of the strongest views capturing the sweeping north facade happened to be from right in the middle of the street. This camera position was entertaining enough during the relatively calm early morning traffic but became a madcap circus as the evening rush of commuters and shoppers descended upon the area. This photograph though, would become a signature image during the Grand Opening and launch of the building out into the world and we found ourselves returning to capture it in several different lights.

The dramatic scale of the building within the city was really seen best from an elevated position and while the residential towers immediately across the street seemed the most likely opportunity, they too came with their own problems to solve. Dangling your cameras out through a narrow window aperture 25 floors above a bustling street is not something for the faint hearted but as we’d not yet finalized access to the roof our the hotel next door, this seemed like the best option at the time.

The last evening before our departure from Tianjin, we received word that after much negotiation, access had at last been granted to a specific rooftop we hoped would provide a strong view of the north facade. Unfortunately, on what was our last morning in town, the weather had closed in, dashing our hopes for a clear and sunny morning. Furtive glances skyward seems to offer some faint glimmer of hope and for a brief moment, a few tentative fingers of direct light pierced the clouds, brushing across the shimmering facade of Riverside 66 before retreating. The resulting photograph below was just awarded First Prize in the Architecture category of the 2015 International Photography Awards held in New York.

Desert Decade

Friday, May 1st, 2015

This year the Palm Springs Photo Festival celebrated its tenth edition. Created through the unbridled passion and enthusiasm of Festival Director Jeff Dunas, the PSPF has grown in stature and importance, attracting faculty and attendees from around the world.

This was my fifth year teaching the Architectural Photography Workshop in Palm Springs and as in prior years, there was an interesting mix of participants to keep me on my toes. Over the three and a half days of the workshop, we photographed four properties and spent a good deal of time in class, looking and critiquing photographs while also hitting on other aspects of equipment choice and alternative business models.


PSPF2015-0127 1




The evening presentations, curated slideshows and opportunities to reconnect with colleagues made for a great week. Of the presentations I attended, those by Mary Ellen Mark, Dan Winters and in particular, Keith Carter, were extraordinary and will remain with me for a long, long time.

After such an intense week of visual stimulation and mental gymnastics, it was no surprise that everything looked just a little more interesting on the flight home.



Mission Control

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Started this morning, photographing one of the oldest buildings in San Francisco. The original adobe portion of the Presidio was built around 1776 as the northernmost outpost of New Spain in the declining Spanish Empire. One of the key duties of the small Spanish garrison was to support the nearby Mission Dolores.

Here’s a photograph by C. Tucker Beckett from January 1914.


The Presidio Officers Club has recently undergone extensive renovation and transformation by Perkins + Will into a cultural community-based destination that houses exhibitions, educational programs, fine dining and events spaces.

Presidio Officers Club

Later in the day, I moved on to one of the newest buildings in San Francisco, a  27 story tower, located co-incidentally, in Mission Street, the original pathway between the port and the Mission Dolores. Designed by HOK, the crisp glass facade tapers inwards as it rises, distinguishing it from the pure verticality of the adjacent towers from KPF and Pelli.


Nifty Shades of Grey

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Nothing brings a Californian facade to life like a few passing clouds.


Sunset Pause

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Finishing our shoot in La Jolla late afternoon meant a decision needed to be made. Should I sit in heavy traffic, grinding my way up the freeway to Irvine for my next assignment? Or take a break and experience sunset at one of the most beautiful places on the planet?

Just a few minutes up the road from my location, the Salk Institute still retains such an extraordinary presence. I left the cameras packed in the car, determined to simply enjoy the moment. But with apologies to Ezra Stoller, couldn’t help whipping out the iPhone for a few classics.



Sunset Clause

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

If only every shoot had a guaranteed sunset clause in the contract.


Still, not too shabby for the first outing of the year in La Jolla.


Likin’ Steichen

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Always hard to get the classic 1904 Edward Steichen image of the Flatiron Building out of your head when walking down Broadway. 110 years later, it’s amazing to see what you can drag out of an iPhone.


Just Chillin’

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Always good to check the forecast before you get on the plane. Heading back to New York City for what may be the last shoot of the year. It looked about as far from pleasant as you could get.


Houston, We Have a Problem

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Scheduling a stadium shoot around a game day is always a risky business. Along with increased security and access issues, there’s the pop up concessions, the crowd control barriers and the endless potential for an entire mini city of inflatable bounce castles to mysteriously appear right in front of the hero shot.

And let’s not talk about the weather.


On a good day at the University of Houston, the new TDECU Stadium designed by Page Southerland Page accommodates an enthusiastic army of 40,000 ardent Cougars fans. They stream into the stands from every direction, turning the bowl into a throbbing red mass. Go Cooogs Go! Hail Houston!

According to the UH Athletics website, Hail Houston! is just a fun cheer that was popularized by the student section in the 1970’s. Hail Houston! Hail YES! Hail Cougars! HELL YES! Hail (opponent). HELL NO! (This is repeated ad nauseum).

Tradition aside, it seemed the popular sentiment on this weekend was more along the lines of Hail Cougars? Hell No! The decidedly ominous forecast (and perhaps the less-than-stellar performance of the team this season) caused many of the faithful to stay at home. Hardly a surprise though as the National Weather Service had upgraded the warning to include the possibility of tornados.

In a effort to avoid the worst of the storm, the start time for the game was brought forward a few hours, catching many would be spectators unawares.TDECU-PAGE_02

Regardless of the tornado threat, the die hard fans tricked into the stands as the band pumped out an uplifting set.


Despite flash flooding and a hundred or so lightning strikes reported across Houston and much to the relief of the wary crowd, barely a drop of rain fell during the entire game.


Even as the skies darkened late in the second half, the crowd’s mood seemed to lighten. Raining only touchdowns, Houston 38 stormed to a hard won victory over Tulsa 28.

Hail Cougars indeed!