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Unexpected fortune | Sandton Fine Art Architectural Photography

Yesterday I went out to Sandton to continue with one of my latest projects on minimalist, long exposure architectural photography. Long exposure architectural photography depends on finding a good balance between blue skies and white clouds. Typically, you need about 65% blue skies and 35% white clouds with fair winds. The stronger the wind blows, the more impressive the white streaks are. Leaving home early afternoon, the clouds were just perfect and I looked forward to creating some really long exposure shots of specific Sandton buildings. My bad, as the weather changed completely within a half an hour! As I was still driving towards Sandton, I saw how the blue skies made way for mostly flat, white skies. 


I met with Graige, one of my students, who has since become a photography buddy, at the Capital Hill building, just off Grayston Avenue. I contemplated, or rather complained that it wasn’t the perfect day I hoped for! We nevertheless decided to give it a try after I briefly instructed Graig on long exposure photography. After making just a few long exposures, I realised the bright overcast conditions weren’t working. The skies were just too drab and grey for minimalist architectural photography.


In spite of this, our fortunes changed. By around 16:00 the skies turned quite dramatic. I decided to leave my Neutral Density Filters off, and capture some of those dramatic clouds instead. It wasn’t what I planned, but I often speak in class about not getting hung-up on your own expectations.  By 17:30, the cloud formations turned really aggressive. It was like mini Armageddon. I expected an Alien spaceship coming through the swirls and curls in the sky!


I would like to share some of the images I created. For post editing, I used my usual HDR Workflow and then converted the images to black and white in Photoshop, using a preset I created in Nik Silver Efex Pro II.


I think you would agree that the dark, broody skies served as fantastic backdrops for some of the buildings we photographed. Let me know what you think!


Photo - Capital Hill Building, Sandton

Capital Hill Building, Sandton | Danie Bester

Photo - Capital Hill Building, Sandton

Capital Hill Building, Sandton | Danie Bester

Photo - IBM Building, Sandton

IBM Building, Sandton | Danie Bester

Photo - IBM Building, Sandton

IBM Building, Sandton | Danie Bester

Photo - Investec Building, Sandton

Investec Building, Sandton | Danie Bester

Photo - China Construction Bank, Sandton

China Construction Bank, Sandton | Danie Bester

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About the Author:

Danie Bester
I am the founder of DPC and Photo Critic. I am married to Jenna, my high-school sweetheart for over two decades now and have two adult children, Mia-Daniel and Minnette. We live in Centurion, Pretoria. I am proud, yet humbled by how far we have come and what we have achieved in such a short time. Today DPC ranks under the foremost photography schools in South Africa and we've build a healthy community of photographers. The road has not always been easy but through a leap of faith and the grace of God, we have grown a small photography business to a successful training institute. Working as a commercial photographer and teaching a wide range of photography subjects, including; Portraiture, Studio lighting, Fine-art, Architecture and Food Photography has kept me fairly versatile. On a personal level, I pursue fine-art, travel, and landscape photography. I have recently been honoured, with my work being included in the Collectors Guide to Art and Artists in South Africa.


  1. Richard 2016/05/26 at 16:23

    Strong images with dramatic skies.. good capture..

  2. Renate 2016/01/27 at 14:38

    Absolutely love the broody sky and the strong lines of the buildings

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