Wolf Creek, Grass Valley, California

_E9O3637Client: McCamant & Durrett Architects

Grass Valley, California, USA

Project: Wolf Creek Senior Housing

 I was shooting the CHP facility for Nacht & Lewis and DPR Construction in Grass Valley, when an architect saw me taking photo’s, he stopped and asked if I shoot Architectural work?  The answer was yes, we exchanged cards and he said, I have a project I want to look at.
Being an architectural photographer, my pre production is such a great tool for client education.  So much of my work is client education on what it takes to do the job the right way. I identify the problems thru my scouting, make the recommendations, then execute. I just have very high standards,  I am able meet, deliver high quality projects every time when pre production scouting is part of the process. There is never a surprise about the scope of work or the invoice, everything is based off of the scouting. With the scouting, I only shoot the best shots and not a lot of photo’s that can’t be used. It certainly takes more time to do this way but the results speak for themselves.

Architects design their projects to be energy efficient, large roof overhangs to block the summer sun, great for the design but bad for photography. My suggestion was to wait until October until we get a lower sun angle. My thoughts were to arrive early afternoon shoot as many daylight shots and do the money shots at dusk.
Arrive early afternoon, remove the clutter, coordinate exterior blinds and start shooting, shoot at different heights to we can see the solar panels.


Let’s move the the west side, lower sun angle, looks good and this kind of a shot would not be possible in the month of July.


It looks simple, but lots of coordination, all interior lights needed to be turned on, coordinate exterior blinds, supplemental lighting to light in the people and shoot at that magic time.  I got the money shot, just what I envisioned. The next major hurdle was shooting at pre sunrise, having all the tenants get up, open their blinds, remove all the clutter from the decks and turn on all of their interior lights. All of the staff, the people were great to work with and they even provided dinner.


Being a sloped site made it difficult, but having great equipment, and the right piece of glass made this look easy.

Without this pre production this kind of shot would have been more difficult to coordinate.  It turned out  exactly how I planned it.  In the old days Ansel Adams would call this pre visualization, I call it doing it the right way.  My job is to make it look better than what it really looks like.


Time to be patient and wait for the sun to get higher in the sky.

Perfect all of the shadows from the trees help darken the pavement. _E9O7503
I try to work all elevations.


Major clean up to make this happen, north orientation no sun on the north side, but a dramatic perspective.

I love to shoot interiors at dusk, I just like the contrasting blue light out the windows. Sometimes I have to be in two or three places at the same time and the exteriors were the most important shots.

In talking with the architect, I always get their input, Charles liked the feel and the use of daylight in the space. Let’s shoot this in late afternoon and have filtered daylight come in the space. _E9O7643

This just has a nice feel with the filtered light entering the space and we still get the warmth of the wood. The tenants did a great job with the furniture and colors.
Let’s open the blinds and pull the forest into the shot, I think this gives the viewer some green trees helps as a peaceful pleasing shot. I really can’t spend more time on this have to be outside for the money shots at dusk.

“Ed did the preparation to do this job right, and we really appreciated it.  And good folks who live in this state of the art cohousing community, Wolf Creek Lodge, are very proud of the images as well — and that’s what counts.”


Charles R. Durrett

Principal Architect
McCamant & Durrett Architects
The Cohousing Company
241-B Commercial Street
Nevada City, CA 95959