The Clark Center

Stanford's science-y, futuristic horseshoe.

This is the James H. Clark Center at Stanford University. Home to the Bio-X program, a massive scientific endeavor to generate interdisciplinary research in biological sciences. The building is no stranger to a camera and, owing to its unique design, there are many a wonderful photograph of the Clark center online. The building's unique design is aimed at fostering collaboration, but it serves as a hint of the equally fascinating work that goes on within its glass walls. I've been to a number of really great seminars in the auditorium housed beneath the rotunda in the photograph below and had my share of Peet's Coffee from the cafe in the upper right.

More on large format digital.

The other day I has posted about a workflow/concept I've been developing called large format digital. I asked what you would consider the advantages/disadvantages. In the comments, a friend of TGS wrote:

Very nice. Impressive processing. A large format digital camera, hmmm …. Many dollars. Very cumbersome in the field. Michael Massaia who prints in platinum and David Fokos who scans to digital both use 8×10 view cameras. I’m very impressed with their work but wow what a hassle. I guess the resolution and huge print size are worth the trouble.

Bruce, you nailed the major disadvantage - which would be price and difficulty, and got one of the major benefits - huge resolution. In my mind, large format view cameras are most advantageous for correcting perspective by allowing independent and free movement (tilts and shifts) of the lens and the film plane and for enabling huge enlargements with gorgeous tonality. Large format film cameras (one of which your author dearly would love to own) produce stunning images at the cost of expense and effort. But what if we could use a DSLR as a "large format camera?" What would we need to do to use our (relatively) inexpensive DSLRs to make digital images with perfect perspective, enormous resolution, precise tonality? The answer, it turns out, is a special kind of tripod head and some computational power. Oh, and (perhaps most importantly of all) great vision. Here is a "large format DSLR image" of the Clark Center during the early moments of twilight from the third level. More details to follow on the workflow (it will take me a while to work everything up into a cogent explanation that doesn't bore).

The Clark Center gloaming.
The Clark Center gloaming.

Here are some more images I made of the building during a beautiful blue hour, without this new huge workflow. Note the noise that is visible in these images as well as the uncorrected perspective (especially on the second and third images).

Clark Center twilight
Clark Center gloaming
Clark Center blue hour