Some projects take longer to complete than others. I first spoke with Arco Beverage Group in St. Louis almost a year ago about shooting a new distribution center for Horizon Beverage here in Oakland, and it was only in December that we wrapped on the last shots!
There was a lot of juggling to pull the various aspects of the project together, but we got it done!
The brief was simple enough: interior, exterior and aerial photos of the entire facility — executive offices, administrative areas, warehouse….the works. Dale Eisel (Arco Project Manager, and my on-site guy) and Kate Helfer in St. Louis gave me nearly 100% creative freedom to make the place shine, and I took that ball and ran with it.
We shot the offices and adminstrative areas on one day/night, and the warehouse the next day. Exteriors had to wait when we discovered that Horizon had scheduled a massive grand-opening party that occupied pretty much the entire parking lot!
Shooting in mixed light like this is always a challenge. Here we had an increasingly common situation – CFLs mixed with halogen spots. This can create wild color casts even in a small area. For the lighting geeks who frequent this blog, here’s a tip: try stacking a 1/2 or full plusgreen gel with a 1/2 CTO on your strobes. Thank me later. 🙂
The warehouse was just sheer, old-fashioned photography fun. I lined up shot after shot, playing around with lines and shapes and colors. This is 150,000 square feet of beer! One challenge was that the lights were on motion sensors, and after about 15 minutes they’d start cycling off. There’s only one way to get them back on, and that meant I had to take a lap around the entire space (about a quarter mile!) every 15 minutes. Good thing I’m an experienced distance runner!
Aerials were the last item, and I was glad to fly again with Rick Cascelli, pilot extraordinaire. This facility is adjacent to Oakland International Airport, and of course the line I needed to fly took us pretty much directly over the runway, at an altitude of maybe 150 feet. The tower pretty much laughed at that request. We circled around for a while while I tried other angles and other lenses, but the hero shot wasn’t happening.
Until Rick said “I have an idea.” He radioed the tower and requested permission for landing. Fly-overs are no good, but landing, it turns out, is no problem. In about ten minutes we were worked into the pattern, and did about five touch-and-go’s while I shot like crazy as we lifted away from the runway each time, the aircraft in absolutely PERFECT position. Rick is awesome.
Anyway — here are some more shots from this project. A lot of eyebrows went up when I told people I was shooting a giant beer warehouse. Well folks — I have only two things to say: A) it’s not what you’re shooting, it’s how you shoot it, and B) not all beer warehouses are created equal! This was a fun, fulfilling project.