For more than a year I have wanted to publish a blog post just about black & white photos. I absolutely love black & white photography. I love all aspects of b&w photography! I love the contrast… the lighting possibilities… the color possibilities… Yes!! Color!! This project is one that is going to be on going and some day I may do a complete post of all my favorite B&W shots. But let me share a recent shot with you.
My friend & client, Lloyd Natof, has a beautiful custom wood shop in Oak Park. Lloyd makes custom furniture and he specializes in veneers. I visited with Lloyd last week and got to see some of his amazing pieces. His shop is pristine and quite a masterpiece in itself.
You see… for years, Lloyd has been supplying pure, untreated wood shavings to Holmes School for use in their earth tub composting facility located on the property. The non-protein food waste from the kids lunch is collected and composted in the earth tub (one of only a few in use in the state). In the spring the compost will be used to feed the school’s garden that the kids tend to and families harvest throughout the summer for use in their own homes. The wood shavings are a necesary ingredient in the composting to soak up the moisture and add an aggregate.
In most cases, Lloyd just texts me and says, “Hey! Just left 3 contractor bags of shavings at the school!” But this time I decided I hadn’t seen Lloyd in a while so I stopped by his shop and asked if I could bring my camera as well. You will see this photo again once I am ready to publish the project.
To learn more about S. Lloyd Natof and his amazing furniture visit his website: S. Lloyd Natof
The saying, “Seeing is Believing”. I like it. It is true for me. But when I sell somebody’s home… I do not want the buyer to see the home. I need the buyer to feel the home. I go through great lengths to stage a home’s lighting with the seller before going on the market so that when the buyer walks in the door… they can feel the home… emotionally. That is what I want… emotional attachment from the moment they enter the home. Softer lighting is better. Take those energy efficient curly bulb things out and put back the warm glow of incandescent energy suckers!! Create that warm French Bistro atmosphere. Hmmm… If only our homes were still lit by gas lamps!! That would be perfect!!
But how can we get the buyer to feel the home when they are looking online?
Bokeh – The blur or aesthetic quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image. Photographers use this technique all the time to illicit something more of their photos and their subjects. To illicit… feeling. Bokeh can turn a normal completely focused portrait into one that the viewer just cannot take their eyes off. I started experimenting with Bokeh about a year or so ago. Not in terms of real estate photography but just to understand the mechanics.
I came across a great blog that got me started on my way to creating what I needed to be the perfect Bokeh for my home listings. The name of the blog is The Photographer’s Dream House by Jackie Boldt. The specific post on Bokeh discussed the four main aspects of achieving desired blur and I was off and running from there.
If you follow my listings or my blog you know I love photographing and featuring details within homes… especially!!!… door knobs! I discovered that I can feature the knobs and create the feeling in the photograph as well by using bokeh to blur the background of a master bedroom with a table lamp or blurring the soft light of a kitchen glass door. I didn’t want to just take a photo of the architectural detail or feature I wnted it to be special. When the buyer looks at one of my listings online I want the photos to make them say, “Honey!! Get the car! We need to go see this house!!!”… not just “Oh… that is a nice home.”
Below… the soft blurred light of the kitchen door in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robert Parker House at 1019 Chicago Ave helps the buyer feel the rich materials and bright light as well as view the detail in the original hardware.
And now Your House Behind The Lens makes its spring debut!! Waaaaaaa!!! Yes, I have been gone from this blog for a little more than two months. A major “No… No!” in the blogging world… silence. But the spring market, real estate CE requirements/testing, tax season and a brief but awesome spring break to Sanibel left me no choice but to put the blog in sleep mode for a little while.
But get ready for and get used to… bokeh! BOKEH the definition. According to the Wikipedia entry, is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image. And really… it is how the out of focus areas of light and color appear. Mostly, we are looking for that out of focus or blur that is pleasing to the eye.
Here we have a photo I took more than a year ago. Our 2013 spring break to Sanibel. The annual Easter Egg hunt at the golf club, The Sanctuary. The eggs for the hunt were spread all over and the shot was taken long before the kids were let loose. See how the blades of grass on the putting green come in and then out of focus. Hover over the image right now and click to enlarge. This really shows the depth of field or short depth of field to achieve the pleasing bokeh. Cool, huh?
But how does this help me in Real Estate and marketing my clients homes?… Take a look below and think… romance and emotions. And stay tuned for more posts on… bokeh.
Start Digging!… NOW!!
For those of us in the Midwest, one of the many forms of “a perfect storm” for basement flooding is setting up right now. No, we are not expected to get the 5th “100yr Rain” in the past six years. Yet… rain is coming. We have just come off days of sub-zero temps and we have at least a foot of snow on the ground. The temperature is rising… the snow will be slowly melting… the rain is going to begin. What is the problem?… Our gutter downspouts, sump pump tubing and sump pump bubblers are covered in snow. In addition, although the temperature is rising the many inches of top soil are frozen.
The snow on our roofs will begin to melt and melt fast. The rain water that falls will have no soil to soak into. The snow that melts will have nowhere to go. All this water will take the path of least resistance and history tells us that path is to your basement.
Aid the flow of water away from your home by digging out your gutter downspouts. Even if your downspouts run into the municipal sewer system, clear these areas where the downspout goes into the ground. If you have a really fancy system it is possible your downspouts go into the ground but the tubing leads to a “bubbler” somewhere out in your lawn. The bubbler looks like a large (usually green) oversized golf course sprinkler head. When water flows out to the bubbler the top cap floats up and releases the water spreading it out over your lawn. These bubblers should be located and snow/ice cleared with as large a diameter you can.
For those of us with sump pumps we need to dig out the ejector tubing if the tubing exits the house and dumps onto the property. It is possible that there is frozen water already in the tubing. By digging out now and clearing the snow and ice away from the tubing you might be able to facilitate thawing as the air temperatures rise TODAY. Many of you also have your sump dumping outside into tubing that terminates in a bubbler in your lawn. Clear these.
In any event… do NOT be a passive homeowner today and this weekend. Just like during the deep freeze of the beginning of this week you checked frequently that your furnace was running, the house was heated and you may have even occasionally checked for leaking or bursting pipes. I know many of you unfortunately found those leaks. Now we need to be a different kind of diligent.
- Dig out your downspouts.
- Do you have an outside exit from your basement? Is there a drain at the bottom of the exterior basement stairs? Dig out this stair well and keep an eye on that drain.
- Ice damming is a freak and fact of nature. It is for the most part unavoidable but watch for the water stains on ceilings. I personally do NOT suggest heat wire in your gutter system. Sharp ice and squirrels can cut the wires that could eventually spark and cause a fire.
- Shovel the slush out of your garage. Melting of this can wet the base of the structure and lead to wood-rot. .
- As the ground table water rises your sump well will fill with water. Test to make sure the sump pump is operational by briefly lifting float.
- Sump system wells are an extreme drowning hazard if not properly covered. Make sure to replace covers securely!!!