Architectural Elements – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

This post is about taking architectural elements of a building and framing them into a photograph that tells a story. The subject matter is the Griffith Observatory. This building is an iconic landmark in Los Angeles sitting high atop Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. A very popular tourist attraction with an extensive array of space and science related displays. The observatory opened in 1935 and was built using an art deco style that was popular in that time frame. It is this style that I wanted to try and capture, specifically the bold geometric shapes.

Griffith Observatory 1

Griffith Observatory 1

The first capture is just a shot of the Griffith Observatory showing the central dome. I only use this shot as a point of reference for you. What isn’t shown in this shot is the full size of the building. On either side of the central done are observatories making the building very wide and geometrically balanced with three domes. I wasn’t in a position the day I was there to get that kind of shot, but if you are curious you can go to Wikipedia for a picture of the entire building.

Griffith Observatory 2

Griffith Observatory 2

The second shot gives you a perspective of just how high above the Los Angeles basin the building sits. You can see downtown LA through the haze. Also note the geometric shapes of the building as it curves around.

Griffith Observatory 3

Griffith Observatory 3

For the third shot, I have used my zoom lens and from the same spot, I framed just the edge of the building making downtown LA a larger part of the composition. This would be a spectacular shot on a crystal clear day.

Griffith Observatory 4

Griffith Observatory 4

The fourth photo is of one of the observatories in a tight shot. You can see the detail of the art deco trim around the base of the observatory and note the art deco detail on the observatory itself. I love the bold geometric shapes.

Griffith Observatory 5

Griffith Observatory 5

For the fifth capture, I have used a perspective that includes the lines of the arches (which is a walkway around the side of the building) and the detail of the geometric shapes as they support the central dome which is what the top part of the frame is. I like the lighting and shadows as an additional element to the art deco shapes.

Griffith Observatory 6

Griffith Observatory 6

For the sixth capture, I found an interesting angle to capture the intricacies of the aged copper roof over the front entry. The angle and framing create an abstract print of art deco shapes and color.

As always I try to find a unique perspective to a building in highlighting the architectural elements in a way that the photograph tells a story. Thoughts?



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11 thoughts on “Architectural Elements – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Actually it is smoke and general haze. There had been a number of brush fires in the LA basin the weekend we were there, plus they were having a heat wave that was stagnating the air. The shots were taken mid Sept.

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