Architectural Photography on Mapleton Hill

So Julie Meko the very experienced Re/MAX real estate agent calls me and would like to have me come out for a shoot of what I consider one of THE Grand homes of Boulder, CO. Actually one of the Grand homes of America. But you be the judge. The house is 5 bedrooms, three stories with basement and is situated on a 1/2-acre lot on top of Mapleton Hill in Boulder’s Historical District. It is approx. 6500 square feet of living space with breathtaking views of the flatirons.  The home was built in 1890. Can you say Location, Location, Location? I can’t think of a more beautiful or perfectly situated home that combines history with a massively complete remodel under the direction of both the home owner and her architect Katie Pekarek of the Boulder firm Kristen Lewis Architects. The renovation, which greatly enhanced the flow of the home, took two years.  They have brought a wonderful eye for detail, color and texture to this home.  Every inch of this property is just a visual treat, including the terrific views of the Flatirons.  Starting with 10′ high ceilings to the recycled wood floors, the owner and her architect just poured subtly, beauty and environmental consciousness into their remodeling project.

Wisely, they started hundreds of feet below the surface to run this home off a geothermal heating system that is housed in a very impressive basement mechanical room.  With that solid environmental foundation the GRAND old Victorian home has entered the 21st Century as a beacon of the past shining a bright light into the future. The owner and Kate went room by room with their remodel. Just some of the results are seen here but you get the idea.  It was a truly comprehensive renovation.

For me it was a fun exercise in precision photography.  I wanted to capture the real depth of this property so I went for a true Panorama shot for the top shot seen here. I used a Really Right stuff Nodal Point slide and panning clamp which enables you to pan on a level plan right under the Nodal Point of the lens and eliminate parallax shift.  One essential piece of glass for architectural photography is the Tilt-Shift, PC-E Nikkor 24mm f3.5 ED, don’t leave home without it. You shoot two bracketed shots and then stitch them together, hence the wide screen look.  Caleb Tkach was my very capable assistant cameraperson.  We used a l4’ high Bogen Studio Tripod. Our workflow was via LR 4 – we’re still letting LR5 sort itself out. We typically shoot a HDR combo of images:  A Master, 2 stops under, 2 stops over and 4 stops over.  Carmichael Productions, inc’s  retouching is very detail oriented and something we take great pride in.  Shutter control, deep DOF and of course, using a remote shutter release cord to not disturb the camera are some of the tricks to shooting architecture.  It is a nice change of pace to look closely at architecture and truly have the time to scrutinize the image for maximum impact and staging.  I’m happy to photographically present the home and pleased I could help spread the word about the greatest house, on the greatest street, in the greatest town in America!

Best Bob C.




USA Cycling Association – Bourbon Street Productions, director/camaraman Bob Carmichael

So I get a call from John Bourbanais who runs a Colorado Springs production house called Bourban Street Productions. He’s got a couple of projects going at once and he is kindly contacting me to come in to direct and shoot a commercial in his absence.  I say yes and Doug Millington and I start a sprint to get a location scouted, crew and camera booked, permits pulled and to develop a plan.  The first file here are some of my story boards for the first day and some of the behind the scenes images of us shooting.  BSP was represented on the shoot by their producer LeAnne Carrouth who was a great person to work with, smart and concise!

The crew was top of the line with Chris Gerding, who is a great collaborator and knowledgeable lighting gaffer. We had Mitch and Matt Stelling and Jesse Jaco as our Grips and they are amazingly on task always thinking one step ahead and that makes a director/cameraman’s job that much easier. Our 1st AC was Doug O’Kane, he and his brother Mark are serious production people. You’ll see Doug pulling focus on all these shots.  Doug is a pro who is unflappable and when you get behind the eye piece, you know he is going to be on the money focus wise. The Digi tech was a very capable fellow named Nathan Berry-Chaney who expertly managed our digital work flow and 2 Go-Pros. Our make-up person was the can-do Suzanne Blons who doubled as a set PA as well. This was a low budget commercial but we got the shots and had the camera moving to intensify the action just like the big boys do.

Thanks to Jason Hornbeck at ACamera for his continued amazing help in getting us one of his Arri Alexa cameras with the 11:1 Optimo zoom. We used it from 24mm to 600mm and it was steller!

Our budget was challenged on this shoot but necessity is the mother of invention and to get our car to bike shots Chris Gerding wielded a platform extension onto his Toyota that allowed for the camera, operator and AC to shoot. The Gerdocamcar! Chris and his boys strapped us in from all points and we were good to go. Chris drove drove the switchbacks and was able to communicate all the upcoming turns via his car comm system.  The G’s on the turns and trying to hold onto the Alexa was a task and the grunts from O’Kane and I operating that rig was like a weight lifting session. Intense! The Boulder Sheriff was there to close the road and make it all safe. Doug Millington did his usual terrific job of bidding and producing. He also served as a very capable Assistant Director to move things along. Thanks to all, particularly John Bourbonais and BPS Productions and the USA Cycling Association for a fun two days.

Bob C.

Click the link below to see the shot list and previs/scout images of the first shoot day.  It is the director’s job to have a plan.

USA Cycling ROAD MASTER 18th

Behind the scenes photography by Jason J. Hatfield –

USA National Team Riders at 6:30AM

First shots onto the SXS Cards.

Using the cross light, Flag Staff BG.

Ansel Adams is making a comeback because of video screens reflectivity.

Foreground action & slider.

Mitch Stelling finessing the slider dolly.

Confident with AC Doug O’Kane on the focus knob.

Using the same location just down the hill to a great reveal!

Now we are using telemetry to gauge the riders coming up the Morgul Bismark.

Now we are using telemetry to gauge the riders coming up the Morgul Bismark, grips on the hill calling the marks to Doug.

The GERDO camera car. Damn he’s good! and yes we are double strapped in.

Serious forces unleashed on those Flag Staff 180’s.

The Gerdo Camera Platform in the turn.

A group coming from the left and we are coming from the right. Compounding all the action.

A Carmichael Portrait working for a client and good friend – the story.

Kevin Donald: Producer/ Assistant Director/Actor
Just got the kind of call we all like to get and that was from my long time friend and colleague Kevin Donald, who rang me up from his home in Hood River, Oregon to thank me and let me know my portrait of him on his agents site Q6Talent had just helped him land a spokesperson role in 2 television commercials, and 20 radio ads. Working with Kevin on his head shot was fun, he’s been a spokesperson on National Commercials for brands like Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Coors, Grapenuts, Molson, Michelob, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Ford, GMC, Honda, and dozens of other national brands,going back to 1970’s. He’s also a great assistant director who’s worked with me on many projects. He’s thorough and knows how to handle complex production assignments and make talent feel comfortable. He can relate because he has years of being front of the camera himself. We’ve worked together on many challenging projects that range from marine environments, to race tracks, and cliff sides. Kevin’s always has been a great athlete, as a gymnast, collage pole vaulter, climber, waterman, and cyclist. We met when I was a University of Colorado football player and he was a nationally ranked pole vaulter. That’s going back a ways… but KD always stays on his game and I’m really pleased my studio and photography approach worked just like it supposed to for him. And that is … capture and create a honest image that communicates some essence of truth about the subject. In Kevin’s case I’ll let him tell the story:

“I have climbed with Bobby for years and worked in concert with him as an assistant director on numerous feature films and commercials throughout the United States, Canada and Europe so we obviously felt really comfortable working together to capture an image I could use for my most recent head shot. Bobby was able to dig just a little deeper than most professional photographers to capture a “look” that enables casting directors to sense facets of my personality and potential as an actor. Here’s the deal, at any preliminary casting, most directors spend just a moment with each head shot when making their decision for who gets a “call back” and who’s head shot goes into the “round file” (trash can) so it’s essential that a photographer capture any interesting qualities that a person can convey while being photographed. Technically, Bobby is as good as they get and his studio is state of the art.” Thanks again Bob!

Kevin Donald

An authors portrait

What better time than April 22 the celebration of Earth Day to announce an important book that takes the appreciation of our planet to truly galactic dimensions? As for Portraits, they are a fascinating opportunity to take the measure of your client and serve them with an image that unflinchingly delves into their inner nature. You want to make the studio environment comfortable to allow a photographic exploration that will lead them toward an honest expression of themselves. Once again, the phrase that the “eyes are the window to soul” holds true. A recent portrait that I’m very pleased with is my image here of Roger Briggs. Roger is someone I’ve known for over 40 years. The first film I ever made focused on he and Duncan Ferguson climbing what was then the hardest climb in America, the Eldorado Springs, Colorado route called The Naked Edge. At that time, the spring of 1972, both Roger and Duncan were in the top echelon of climbers in the world. You can see that film in my collection of classic climbing films here on my site. The title is Break on Through. But I digress…

Roger is world class in many ways and he was just inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. He has climbed at the highest level throughout his life. Roger is also a physics teacher here in Boulder and he has recently written a fascinating book called Journey to Civilization-The Science Of How We Got Here. It is published through Collins Press. It is a laypersons guide to the origins of the universe and the ascent of human kind. It is an truly enlightening book. I hope that you’ll consider purchasing this wonderfully illustrated science based (thank God!) journey into the mysteries of the universe and by extension ourselves. The portrait on the back cover is my small contribution to Roger’s wonderful book. I hope that it communicates to you something about the intensity, curiosity and authenticity of an amazing adventurer and freshly minted author Roger Briggs.

Moving forward in peace,

Bob Carmichael