Architectural Photography

FCDC-151004-020An example of architectural exteriors work recently commissioned by a property management firm located in the Capital Region of New York State.  When photographing landscapes (natural or man made) the “rules” remain the same… compositions that lead the eye and invite the viewer to explore, even enter the image combined with directional lighting that serves to reveal the shape and form of the design will always produce the most successful images.

Utilizing Nikon cameras and lenses exclusively, and working in 35mm digital format, SCiraulo Photography is able to produce high quality, color and levels corrected digital images in a range of resolutions suitable for trade show displays, prints & wall décor, corporate publications, annual reports, press kits, advertisements, e-books, editorial & magazine publication, and web pages. To learn more about our specific services, and to view additional samples of my recent work, please click the services link above.

Eagle Encounter

_DSC1382Prior to returning to photography full time and while still working as the Director of Design for DASNY (Dormitory Authority of the State of New York) I began commuting by bicycle from my home located in Troy, NY to my office. On most days of the work week, I would set out before dawn on my wife’s re-purposed Schwinn “Sierra Runner” which I had converted into a commuter bike for the 10 or so mile ride down the Hudson River to Albany. My usual route would take me through South Troy, and over one of the area’s best known river crossings, the historic Troy-Menands Bridge. Built in 1933, the main span originally featured two towers (long since removed) that lifted the central span of the bridge to a height of 135’ above the water surface to allow tall ships to pass. Recently, the Troy-Menands Bridge was altered to include a pedestrian/bicycle lane connection to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail which from this point south runs along the western bank of the Hudson River.

Always a peaceful ride, the section of the bike-hike trail located along the Hudson is particularly enjoyable as it rolls along easy grades and gentle slopes just yards from the river’s tree lined shore. Each morning, oftentimes with the faintest rays of the day’s first light over my shoulder I would approach the westernmost end of the bridge and cross high above the river’s shoreline barely visible below. Swinging first north then south and north again before making a final sweeping turn to the south I silently coasted down the double switchback ramp from the bridge onto the bike-hike path below.

Some mornings the beam of my headlamp would expose a small group of deer grazing on nearby grasses or a rabbit would scurry from the brush and dart across the path just ahead of my beacon as I arched through one or the other of the switchback turns. This particular morning however held no such drama, or so I thought.

On this particular Fall morning I remember a “stillness” in the air, and the soft “snapping” sound as my 1.75” x 26” tires rolled over dried leaves scattered on the asphalt paved path. Propelling myself forward up a slight rise while crossing under the bridge the rapid and rhythmic “tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…”sound of the freewheel faded into the dawn as I applied pressure to the cranks, crested the rise and accelerated down the other side of the incline. Perhaps it was the sound, or the movement that first caught my attention… I’m really not certain… but as I glided across the smooth pavement just beyond the tree line and very near the river’s edge I sensed something moving in the dim morning light.

Looking to my left there it was fifteen or twenty feet at most above the still, glass like surface of the Hudson… a bald eagle wings stretched wide gliding silently in the pink light of dawn! Appearing to match my speed and direction the eagle and I moved along on more or less parallel courses as we “soared” silently through the cool early morning air. As I marveled at this magnificent creation, warm orange light from the rising sun dramatically illuminated the streamlined torso, tail and enormous wings of this beautiful bird. Each fine movement and subtle adjustment of tail and wingtip feathers clearly visible as the eagle maintained a steady course. Then without warning, and with several flaps of its powerful wings, the eagle broke formation and silently rose up and away while turning east toward the opposite shore.

As I continued south along the bike path to my office and the challenges of the day I watched the eagle steadily move off into the distance and thought to myself how very fortunate I had been and no matter what else happens on this day, today will be a very good day!

Less is More

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Turku, FI 2013

It has been wisely said, that which is less complicated is oftentimes better understood and more appreciated than complexity.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the twentieth century’s most influential architects is credited with coining the much cited architectural axiom “Less is more.” In fact, this succinct and astute observation was first voiced by the young van der Rohe’s mentor, German architect and designer Peter Behrens.

Brevity in communication, be it verbal or visual, when thoughtfully articulated leads to clarity and a simple eloquence.

 

Adirondack State of Mind

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Camp Bearberry Lake Placid, USA 2015

One of my latest images from a recent “impromptu” interiors shoot at Camp Bearberry located in Lake Placid NY.  This bathroom which features an antique “dough cabinet” re-purposed as a lavatory base for one of the “coolest” bowel faucets I’ve seen in some time.  Warm wood, earth tones and tiled floor and shower wall finishes complement the Arts & Crafts styled vanity lighting,

The rustic elegant ambiance of this space is topped off with two uniquely “Adirondack” touches, a classic Adirondack basket pack and a miniature Adirondack chair.

Winters Calm

Adirondack Chairs on Bearberry Porch

Lake Placid, NY 2015

Winter.  A time of cold, and sometimes frigid temperatures.  Shortened days spent “hunkered down” with woolen socks on our feet, and warm drinks in our hands.  Also a time to slow down, relax, recharge and reflect upon goals achieved, opportunities missed, blessings received and bestowed.  In the words of that master of photography, Ansel Adams “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

Windswept

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Stockholm, SW 2011

Walking through Gamla Stan or “Old Town” Stockholm, Sweden my eye was caught by a white haired gentleman sitting alone on a crimson bench in the middle of the day.  He wore a dark full length woolen jacket, dark slacks and polished black shoes.  Perhaps he was a banker or a businessman taking in some fresh air on his lunch break, or a salesman, diplomat or government official waiting on an appointment… As I watched a stiff wind blew in from the harbor and set the gentleman’s fine white hair in motion.  Instinctively, and remaining otherwise motionless he slowly leaned left into the wind as if to push back against the mounting gale.

Perhaps it was the gentleman’s instinctive “reaction” to the “action” of the wind or the man’s wild white hair,  but as I depressed the shutter my thoughts turned to  the German born, physicist Albert Einstein who’s genius contributed so much to our current understanding of the universe around us. And for just a moment I wondered…”Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” – A. Einstein.

Found Objects

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Tenakee Springs, AK 2013

Weathered wood siding rendered in soft tones of silver and grey, a whitewashed sash painted no more, steel and iron tools that in the laborers skilled hands once provided warmth and sustenance now mere ornament… yet reminders of a bygone era.  A pacific pink scallop shell symbol of the seas bounty, and testament to a way of life inseparable from the rhythms of the tide and the seasons.  A hanging potted Fuschia adds crimson, purple, green and an organic quality to the otherwise linear composition providing balance and a sense of harmony. Found objects all… altered by time and ours for the viewing, enrich and enliven our environment if we but take the time to see!

The Wonder of a Child

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Turku Castle, Turku, FI 2013

A young boy peers through a medieval divided lite window in the facade of the over 700 year old “Turun linna” (Turku Castle) located in Turku, Finland.  I can only imagine the thoughts racing through this young man’s mind as the ancient glass distorts and alters his view of the gently falling snow as it slowly covers the castle complex and frozen river beyond. The Turku Castle today is a museum and popular tourist destination in Finland but in days past, and for over seven decades, it has stood guard over the Aura River Estuary.  Over its long history the castle has been a fortification, a storehouse, a prison, a barracks, an administrative center and a stately palace.

There is no doubt that these castle walls hold countless stories detailing the rich history of Finland, Sweden and other Nordic lands.  But today, on a magical and snowy day in March, these walls of solid granite and iron serve as the ideal backdrop for a little boys imagination and a proper stage for great adventure!

For Alma

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Denali Natl. Park, AK 2012

The world lost a beautiful soul a week ago today.  A devout and holy woman, Mary “Alma” Smith, passed during heart surgery, and those of us who were fortunate enough to have known her will forever miss this gentile woman of God.

I first met Alma at St. Williams Catholic Church in Troy, NY.  She was sitting a row or two ahead of my family and me, near the front of church, rosary in hand quietly praying while waiting for Mass to begin.  Beginning slowly at first, with a simple handshake at the exchange of a “sign of peace” during Mass, our friendship grew steadily with each passing Sunday.   At first appearance Alma seemed to be a typical grey haired “senior citizen”. However, as we began to exchange greetings before, and small talk after, Mass and as our friendship grew I learned that she was anything but typical.

Alma was fond of New York’s Adirondack Mountain Region.  She was an experienced hiker and although to my knowledge not an “official 46’er” she had reached the summits of many of the Adirondacks highest peaks.  She was intimately familiar with “The Yorks” located in Downeast Maine, and told me stories of York Beach and “The Nubble” that I had not previously learned of in the fifty some years my family and I have spent vacationing in this little bit of heaven on the Atlantic coast. Alma was a kind and caring person and a woman of great faith who believed mightily in the power of prayer.  Each time my bride and I were about to embark on a trip she would always send us off with a promise to pray for us and our safe return.  Thanks be to God her prayers were always answered and we returned safely from each adventure with even more stories to share!

Alma had an adventurous spirit and loved to hear of our travels to Alaska, Sweden, Finland and China, or anywhere else we had been or were going to.  She listened with great interest to our tales of travels to Stockholm, The Great Wall of China, to South East Alaska and the famed “Inner Passage” or to Denali National Park.  She repeatedly asked me to bring photos of our latest trip to Alaska for her to see… Sadly, and despite my best intentions to do so, I never did bring those photos in for Alma to enjoy… Until today.

Alma, I hope you enjoy this image which I now dedicate to your memory.  Peace to you… good and faithful servant of the Lord.

Giving Thanks

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Sunrise at Long Sands, York Beach, ME 2014

Rising early has always been one of my favorite things to do.  The quiet that exists at this time of day can be extraordinary and is oftentimes therapeutic.  A time to reflect on our blessings and the “wonders”, big and small, that surround us each and every day.  The quality of light that frequently exists at, or near, sunrise… the “golden hour” in photographers jargon, bathes our surroundings in the warm tones of orange, gold and ocher adding greatly to the contemplative mood.  This image, captured on a quiet morning earlier this year, speaks to me on this day of Thanksgiving.  It reminds me to appreciate and acknowledge all the wonders in my life, from the intricate beauty of a spiders web bathed in mornings golden light to my loving family, dear friends and the miracle of life itself. Surrounded by so much, I am humbled by, and give thanks for, all the blessings in my life!