Mammoth Lakes Architectural Photographer

8050 Mammoth

Mammoth Lakes, California

No, it’s not the address, but the elevation the property sits at; EIGHT THOUSAND & FIFTY FEET above sea level. 80|50 Mammoth is Mammoth Lakes' newest Luxury Ski-In Ski-Out private residence club located in the heart of Mammoth Lakes Village. What differentiates this property from all other ski-in ski-out condos in Mammoth Village is their 5 star luxury condo appointments including 24/7 concierge & guest services, proprietary SUV town cars, valet service, private underground wine vaults, in-room private chef dining, full-time housekeeping …everything a world-class resort would offer, but it’s not a rental, it's yours!

Unquestionably one of my favorite places to say “I have to go to work today”, 80|50 Mammoth is certainly a rewarding project for me and I could not be happier to have them as my client. Over the past year, I’ve been involved in their marketing program specifically relating to 80|50’s website and applied search engine optimization. I spent the week with the sales and operation team reviewing the metrics and strategizing 80|50’s place in the market. In addition, I photographed a number of areas within the property to update the website. Perhaps one of the more stunning rooms photographed was the Owner’s Lounge, located on the rooftop boasting an absolutely majestic panoramic view of the surrounding snow covered Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Windows to the outside world are the bane of any photographer’s existence - the thorn in our side. There are a number of challenges working with windows including interior lights reflecting off the glass back at the camera, a high dynamic range of light exposure between the interior & exterior and color temperature (Kelvin temp.) between interior tungsten lighting & the daylight/twilight balance outside. Remember, the human brain and the eyes have the ability to factor all these variables instantly with a brilliant algorithm supplied by Mother Nature. Digital cameras are not self-intuitive (yet). All professional cameras have the option for manual or auto white balancing (tungsten vs. daylight), but how do you address this situation when you have mixed lighting temperatures, as in the image above?

I’m a strong advocate of truth in advertising, so it was my goal to accurately capture the true nature and beauty of this room as one would see it, if in person. My original plan was to simply open the accordion glass doors to the extending outside patio (eliminating the interior light reflections), but that option was quickly scrubbed as the leading edge of a Pacific storm approaching brought 40 mph sustained winds, gusting to 85 -- standing in a wheelhouse, on the upper deck of ship during a hurricane, with all the windows open would have been a mistake. Instead, I took the more tedious and time consuming approach of taking a series of images, while securely ratcheted into the tripod over the course of several hours to capture all the varying light exposures outside. The more challenging part was figuring out how to turn off all the interior lights. What you don’t see behind the camera, in the picture above, are two extending hallways, a full service bar, the elevator foyer, private spa rooms and a well-equipped wellness center …all with dazzling ceiling lights to annoy me. So you tell yourself, “turn ‘em all off”. Not so easy since the common areas do not have light switches on the walls for the kids to play with. With some help from the engineering department, we were able to locate the breaker panel and identify which circuits we wanted off. For the egress lights, which by building code are all roped together via a special breaker panel and must remain on at all times, I had to mask each one off with black studio foil and gaffer tape to silence them.

For added lighting, I positioned a total of 6 radio-controlled strobes - three inside with 1/2 CTO and 3 outside (out of frame) with 1/4 CTO to accurately reproduce the mood and provide image depth. I originally wanted to affix the outside strobes with my parabolic modifiers to provide some even edge lighting, but the wind had a little sumpin’ to say in that. I was forced go bare bulb with two 25 pound sand bags securing each of the century stands.

One may say why not simply perform many of these tasks in post edit? Well you could, but then you'd be crossing over into the embellishment zone, which I’d prefer to never venture into. Call me a traditionalist, but although I’ve gone all-digital for my commercial work, my integrity insists on adhering to as much in-camera work whenever possible.

For further information, please visit 8050 Mammoth

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