Architectural Photography at Twilight, TU Delft Library

Library at TU Delft, designed my Mecanoo, completed in 1998

A One Photo Deep Dive

A Quick Intro

Hello and welcome to my first post in my journal.

This is going to be a place where I explore the process behind some of my work and share it with whoever wants to delve a little deeper into the world of architectural photography.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am an architectural photographer from Ireland, now based in Rotterdam. I travel between both locations, capturing both personal and collaborative projects. I go into my background and process a little more on my about page so feel free to jump over there if you’d like to learn more but if you follow this deep dive below it will give you a good understanding of what I do.

Architectural Photography at Twilight

I wanted to kick off this journal with a deep dive into an image I created back in January.

At this time of the year in the Netherlands, sunny days are rare, so I decided it was a good opportunity to capture some twilight shots, which aren’t as dependent on the weather.

The beauty of capturing a building at twilight is that the interior reveals itself as the light inside the building balances with the last of the sunlight on the exterior. During the day, when the light outside is stronger than the interior light, the glass reflects the outside world, obscuring the activity within. However, as it gets darker outside at sunset, the interior becomes visible.

One building I was familiar with was the library at TU Delft, designed by Mecanoo and completed in 1998. The building functions as a library below and a landscape above. I wanted to create an image that showed both these elements working together.

I had already visited the building and captured some images during the day that highlighted the landscape element of the design. However, the reflective glass on its facade concealed the activity inside.

When I returned close to twilight, the interiors began to appear behind the glass. As I circled the building, the west elevation provided the most insight, revealing students working at their desks and shelves of books. All of this was framed beneath the sloping roof that formed the landscape above.

Additionally, I wanted to frame the building within its context and convey the atmosphere of that cold winter evening.

The frozen canal in the foreground, with the building framed between leafless trees, helped situate it in time, while the cold blue exterior contrasted with the warmer interior of the library, emphasizing the chilly temperature outside.

I set up my camera and began capturing images as the light changed until I found a balance that effectively captured all these elements, resulting in the final shot.

A little clean-up in post-processing to remove distractions along with some subtle tweaks to contrast and colour brought me to the final image.

Final Image

So why did I decide to share this as my first post?
Well, first off, to kickstart the journal but also I thought an example of how I craft an image and the thought processes behind it would be a fitting introduction to what I do.

The images I enjoy creating the most are those that translate an architectural idea and a sense of place into a visual story using light and careful composition. Whether I work independently or collaboratively, it’s crucial to understand the purpose behind each image or series. By starting with “why,” we can produce images that resonate more deeply and tell a cohesive story.

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