Kaama Ambiance (Architecture Photography)

I always have a tough time shooting the interiors of really dark places – not that’s it’s a technical challenge, it’s just that it’s so easy to bring out details that you really don’t want to see in a dark place. For example, when someone paints their ceiling black, it’s because there’s nothing up there that’s supposed to attract your attention. But when you’re shooting and processing using a High Dynamic Range workflow, it’s all too easy to show detail where, well, you just shouldn’t.

(HDR tangent begins)

In fact, this is the main problem with 99% of HDR photos you see on Flickr and other photo communities. It’s like everyone’s playing with the latest Photoshop plugin, completely overdoing it. Next thing you know, the “new look” is quickly poo-pooed by mainstream professionals because all the average joes are out there destroying the art of it. In reality, it’s just another tool to use or abuse (drop shadow, anyone?). I’ll be the first to admit I’ve gone overkill with the process, and it’s literally taken me years to reign myself in, to gain finesse and discipline and skill with this process. I’m still learning, as is any honest photographer throughout their career, but I feel safe in claiming that I’m at least above average in its execution. But hey, kind reader, you be the judge. This topic more than deserves its own post – I’ll put that on my mental to-do list for 2010.

(HDR tangent ends, thank goodness.)

Back to Kaama – this place has some amazing woodwork, and the decor is classy, yet welcoming. It’s got long comfy seats, encouraging groups to sit, mingle, eat and drink in a social way. There’s lots of round elements, and no corners you can hide in and sip your martini while nervously scanning the crowd. Kaama oozes with intimacy.; prepare to interact with friends and strangers alike when you arrive.

For this assignment, I was taking more of an architectural approach to the photos. Even though it’s quite dark inside, I wanted to show off the understated glamour a little – there’s lots of reflective surfaces, a variety of natural carved wood, creative lighting, and splashes of color and texture to make it all exciting. I hope the photos communicate the kind of place it is. Enjoy my favorites below, the full gallery is here.

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