Where does inspiration come from? Sometimes from dinner.

Food Photography Gnocchi Pomodoro

Can dinner give you a creative kick in the pants?

In the winter, after business has slowed, and when the weather is crappy many of us tend to get in a creative funk (as noted eloquently a couple of years ago by Photographer Zack Arias).  Inspiration seems hard to find in the dull rainy days of  January.  My summer work is long gone, my winter ski photography season is not up to speed, and I have a lot of time to sit around the office, and worry about how I’m not getting anything productive done .

Last year was better, the Winter Olympics were here,

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Architectural Ingenuity – Creative houses from reclaimed stuff

Dan Phillips has built a dozen houses out of reclaimed and recycled material in Huntsville, Texas. His talk at TED covers how architectural conformity is driven by invented social expectations, and how if we can connect with our real selves, we can break conventions and create unique architecture that has a much lower impact.

While building codes may limit what can actually be done is some places, his concept of stepping outside the box of “the expectations of others” to create is what caught my attention.

Bing is Beautiful – Live at Squamish Time Lapse

On the Labour Day weekend we shot a 56 hour time lapse at the Live at Squamish Music Festival for a TV commercial for Microsoft’s search engine Bing.  It is part of the Bing is Beautiful, and Bing and Decide campaigns.  Look for it during  your favourite regularly scheduled TV program.

We were responsible for shooting the time lapse sequence that runs in the background of the Bing concert commercial, plus a few of the concert shots in the “Photosynth” section of the ad.   More about how the shoot came together

The New Photoshop CS5 – Content Aware Tools

I came across  this video preview of some of the new content aware features of the new Photoshop CS5, which will be on it’s way to us  starting about the beginning of May 2010.  If you use Photoshop for retouching you are in for a treat, check out the awesome, and insanely impressive content aware fill tools for removing objects, and filling blank spaces.  I was blown away, this is going to save me so much time!

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Architecture Daily Blog – Great Buildings and Photography

I have been subscribing to the Arch Daily Blog for quite a while now, but they went way up in my good books today when they featured the Richmond Olympic Oval, the 2010 speed skating venue, including the photos I took for Cannon Design Architecture.  Kudos to Arch Daily for featuring the amazing Richmond Oval today, on the opening day of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.andrewdorancom-oval04Check out the Arch Daily blog post including photos by me, and other great photographers, and subscribe to their rss feed to get a little bit of architectural inspiration every day.  If you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Olympics,  go and check out this incredible building, or come and visit us in Vancouver after the 2010 craziness has subsided.

Busy is good – New Architectural Photography

It’s been a surprisingly busy January for me.  I’m not complaining, busy is good, especially at this time of the year, when it’s usually snoozeville around here architectural photography – wise.  With  2010 Olympic Games a few days away, believe it or not, I’m hoping for a bit of a rest.  You see, I live in Squamish, which is about exactly half way between Vancouver, and Whistler, so I pretty much have an Olympic frenzy on all sides.  That means that traffic will be chaos, and I will likely be better off staying at home to prevent a road-rage induced stroke.

I will probably spend a few days on the Olympic buses, visiting some of the Whistler Live! and Vancouver Live! venues, checking our the international pavilions and free concerts.  I can’t let the party completely pass me by, but I will likely spend most of the Olympics editing the architectural photography I have been shooting over the last month.  Then, when the 2010 chaos, and fun is over, breathe a sigh of relief, and get beck to work.

Some of my recent shoots have been Olympic related, I took photos for the Ontario Pavilion, and shot some hospitality spaces for Coca-Cola.  I have also been busy with a few other cool architecture projects including Tyax Wilderness Resort, and the Bank of Montreal.  I will post some details of all of my recent shoots soon (after the images have been delivered to the clients!)  but here are a few tidbits so you can see what I have been up to recently.

009Ontario House 2010 Olympic Pavilion – Hariri Pontarini Architects

_dsc9821Heli-Ski Chalet at Tyax Wilderness Resort

_dsc0618Olympic Hospitality space – Designed by Imagicorps

bmosampleBank of Montreal VancouverIredale Group Architects

More Photos and some Behind the Scenes coming soon!  GO CANADA GO!!!

Chopper is the new Rudolph – Happy Holidays!

Now, I know I’m a bit to old to believe in Santa Claus. But,  if he does exist I certainly have to question his methods. The whole Reindeer thing seems so old school to me, archaic even. If I was running the show up at the old Pole, the afternoon of December 24th would look a little more like this!


While you hum ‘ The Ride Of The Valkyries’ , know that I am wishing you the Happiest of Holidays, and all of the best wishes for the New Year!  Cheers!

How Environment Affects Behaviour – Piano Stairs

I just came across this great little video.  Apparently some folks at Volkswagon are working on a project called The Fun Theory, trying to get people to behave differently by making their environment interactive. Project one was the “Piano Stairs” in Stockholm.  Check it out.

Aside from the fact that VW seems to have mastered the purpose built viral video, this project touches on so many other points.  Not the least of which is that our environments affect our lives.  Now, I’m not saying that we should need a piano on every set of stairs to keep us from getting lazy, but an example like this supports the growing trend for Architects, and Designers to really consider how people will interact with the spaces they are creating.

I take the stairs most times. Usually (and especially in airports) it’s faster because there is so much less traffic, and I don’t mind the exercise. But, if these stairs were on my regular commute, I would be practicing a new tune every day so I could show off on my way to the train!  Really, this is public art, but it’s presented integrated into the architecture. Another great example of art meets architecture that engages the public is Cloud Gate, more commonly known as the ‘Chicago Bean’.

Obviously the piano stairs were designed as marketing for VW, but while looking for an idea that would be interesting enough to go viral, they hit on a vital concept: We are connected to the places, things, and people around us. If those relationships can improve our lives and experiences, even better. So, take a look around you.

I’m not usually prone to linking to corporate advertising, but VW’s ‘The Fun Theory’ has earned this one. Here’s the link so you can follow along.

Really Behind the Scenes Photography by Taryn Simon

This TED video in an interesting perspective on "Behind the Scenes" photography. Taryn Simon spends most of her time trying to get permission, and access to photograph the places that you and I will never see.  In this presentation, she shows and explains the photographs from some of her post 9-11 shoots.

Taryn strikes a emotional and provocative chord whit her images.  What do we really know about the world around us?

2010 Olympic Oval up for World Building of the Year award

The Richmond Olympic Oval designed and built for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics has been short listed for the World Building of the Year Award, part of the 2009 World Architecture Festival Awards.

Cannon Design Architecture has leased my daylight long exposure images, along with a few others to be used in marketing and award applications.  It is fantastic to be a part of an application for such a prestigious award.

The 2010 Olympic Oval has already been honoured several times, including recognition from the Globe Foundation and World Green Building Council for projects that employ Green Building Practices, and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s 2009 Award of Excellence for Innovation in Architecture. The RAIC award is partly due to the use of more than a million board feet pine beetle kill lumber that forms the 100 meter span gluelam roof supports.  In addition to the RAIC and green building awards, the Richmond Olympic Oval was recently the recipient of the Sustainability Star award. Given by the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Organizing Committee (VANOC), which recognizes the innovative efforts Games partners and sponsors are taking to be sustainable.

The 2010 Olympic Oval is a spectacular building, and a marvel of modern construction  that blends function and aesthetics. If you can, get yourself to Richmond and take a look for yourself.

Hopefully we will see the Richmond Oval walk away with the World Building of the Year Award. (with an ever so little help from my photos)  😉