Asquared Studios Explores Living Pictures with Lytro
A couple of months ago Jessie Whitesides, my partner and Architect, shared a discovery with me about a camera and technology that was new to us. She called with excitement to tell me about a product by the name of LYTRO, exclaiming, “can you image being able to change the focal point after the picture is taken?”. Of course the promise of this sounded great. Because we make every effort to take all of our project photos ourselves, we wondered if this technology might have benefit to manipulate our photos in post production to focus exactly on the features we want to highlight. We did not necessarily make moves to explore the camera immediately, but on my recent trip to Santa Rosa we decided to give it a try as we were looking to capture new project images.
We headed to Shutterbug Camera and became the first to rent their LYTRO. The technology is so new that no one in the store was able to give us any advice, in fact they asked us to provide feedback to them when we returned the camera. The learning curve with this technology is both fast and slow. We spent about an hour watching tutorials on the Lytro website, and began to get a sense of what a LIVING PICTURE is. From there we jumped in head first and started shooting our recently completed project “Richards Grove Pavilion”. We quickly came to realize that the camera itself does not necessarily function for us the way we anticipated, and may not be the best tool to shoot overall architectural images. The camera does however, allow you to bring the finer details to life; just like as their tagline states, this is an amazing camera to capture people (and the details of those people). They refer to their images as ‘Living Pictures’.
By harnessing the entire light field, the LYTRO ILLUM, allows you to explore focus, perspective, and depth of field within a single image in post production.
We took the camera to our recently opened winery project, Mending Wall Winery. There we were able to capture a few detail shots. The images with people as part of the context have more impact but we also managed to capture a couple of building angles that worked well. The camera software is intuitive and easy to use and it allows you to export their native file type either as a movie file or a jpeg (picture file).
As Jessie and I considered the possibilities, we imagined that if this technology could be applied to cell phone technology, people would love it. We may not run out and purchase our own LYTRO but we will certainly rent it again when needed. Take a look at some of the images and movies we captured here. You may just be inspired to tap into your inner artist and go capture a few “Living Images” of your own.
Cheers – Tony Garcia, AIA, Architect