The "Pic of the Month" is a fun look back at the behind the scenes stories, antics, and events from some
memorable architectural lighting images. Enjoy.
(If you would prefer to not receive these stories, please email me and I will remove your name from my
list. Please pardon my intrusion.)
Fine Dining with "Friends"
Location: Danielli Restaurant, Palm Beach, Florida
Client: DiNapoli Berger Architects, Berkeley, CA
Client Contact: Miles Berger
Interior Design: Andrew Delfino
Assistant: Miles Berger
The restaurant, Danielli. This wonderful image was taken on an evening when the restaurant was closed.
Dusk was chosen as the the time to shoot to give color to the window view. The restaurant was on the top floor
of a residential/condo building in Palm Beach, Florida. The tables were straightened, dressed and lit... Of
course, I arrived in Palm Beach, Florida wearing the usual blue Levis and a T-shirt with dark boots. I looked
like a refugee from a prison. I was just a bit out of place dress wise. Visualize most people wearing a lot of
white/pastel clothes, and white deck shoes. My first experience with regional dress codes. (Next time I'll wear
a lot more white with the necessary white shoes. ) It can be helpful to blend in. Always know the dress style for
your destination. If you look too far out of place it can be harder to coordinate at the location. The locals will
not trust you. I realize I'm not much for fashion, but on this job, at this location, I really stuck out. People
What made this shot memorable was not the interior setting, or the lighting, but the exterior setting. Gentle
tropical breezes high atop this beautiful coastal setting made this a wonderful and unique place to relax, dine,
and enjoy the view. The view there from a window seat was special. Perched high above the Florida coastline
you could see a long way. Gazing out the window you felt the closeness of nature. Literally. Miles liked to talk
about the beautiful local bird population, the "Buzzzaaards" as he would call them. Strange name. Rather
French sounding don't you agree? I was guessing that Miles was using a cute word to describe the more
common variety of black vulture. In reality, he was giving clues about our future dinner companions. We
dined exquisitely inside. But, within a few feet from our table, situated on a nearby railing, and I might add,
also enjoying the view both inside and out, were several enormous black vultures. This serene location, as it
turns out, was also very popular with these giant birds due to the strong natural wind updrafts nearby. They
could easily float to the top of this building for a little respite to enjoy the fine dining. Up close these birds are
huge. The "Buzzzaaards" would perch nearby, always staring at us. There was much drooling and eager
anticipation going on outside while we ate somewhat uncomfortably inside. My appetizer was having an
opposite effect with each new bite. Business was slow at the restaurant, perhaps this was due to the added
popularity from the local avian community. A case of a good restaurant attracting the wrong crowd. We
never returned and the restaurant eventually closed. It was a sad day for the local "Buzzzaaards".
My second major architectural client was DiNapoli Berger Architects of Berkeley, CA. Needless to say when
you are just starting out in business, you will work for a song. My rate for these guys was $40 per hour.
Classic high volume low cost. This situation benefited both of us. Miles and Bill gave me lots of work to shoot
of great projects and allowed me to build a great portfolio. Their price was so good that on one memorable
project in Monterey, they(Miles and Bill DiNapoli) took turns sleeping, so that one of them was always fresh
to direct my efforts. My assistant(Mark Alberding) & I worked around the clock. After a few days of this tag
team managing, we pooped out. We were lucky to get a few hours of sleep. Our client always seemed much
fresher and more alert than we were. It finally dawned on us what was going on. Things changed. I
established better parameters on work hours as a result of the Bill/Miles system. However, many doors were
opened as a result of their projects. I am thankful for the people I met through this association. I met my long
time assistant Mark Alberding on a job prior to the Monterey one. Mark was the security guard for a San
Francisco project that I was shooting for Miles. Mark explained that he was a recent film school grad,
working part time at night, and would be eager to assist me. What the heck, I hired him. Mark was an
excellent assistant(albeit sometimes grumpy about working 18 hours in a day, go figure). His greatest strength
was to keep me going at 3 and 4 am. We always seemed to have some sort of heated argument or spirited
disagreement. Mark's technique succeeded in keeping me alert. The shots always turned out well. Mark also
worked as a camera assistant for film companies. He taught me many wonderful tricks about gaffing and
assisting that have proven to be invaluable nuggets throughout the years. The "proper" way to coil an
extension cord using the "over/under" technique was passed on by Mark. The "C47", the true meaning of
"expendables", and understanding color cinegels. Anyway Mark and I worked together for the next 5 years.
He is now married and a teacher. Working 18 hour days for 40 bucks an hour can have its benefits.
On the technical side, this image was produced on Kodak 4 x 5 EPR type L tungsten film. My exposure was around 90 seconds at f32 using a 90 mm Rodenstock Grandagon f5.6 lens . The
film was pull processed 1/4 stop to reduce contrast. I used a horseman 4 x 5 model L camera with a short rail and a bag bellows. My tripod is a heavy Gitzo 500 series with a Majestic 1200 gear
head. My filters are all glass by Tiffen, and Harrison and Harrison.
Enjoy the shot.
Douglas A. Salin Photographer
647 Joost Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127
(previous "Pics of the Month" may be viewed at my web site)
PS- The LightShow West trade show in San Francisco on September 24 and 25 at the Concourse Design
Center, will be featuring a large gallery of my lighting photographs. This is the first time my work will be
displayed on such a large scale. I'm working to construct the booth. Lightwaves Photographic in San
Francisco is providing the prints and Iris Photodigital is doing much of the scanning. The folks a LightShow
West will make this a great event.
I hope many of you will stop in.
Some Avian Links:
Berger/Dettmer/Ennis Aechitects, Inc.
400 Montgomery St., Penthouse
San Francisco, CA 94104
Bill DiNapoli ?????