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Cherry Picking Eco-Houses

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Jason Caddy of Green Leaf Design & Build. I first met Jay when he commissioned a photo shoot of the new guest lodge he and his team had built for Findhorn Ecovillage, in Moray, Scotland. That was back in November 2013.

Findhorn Guest Lodge

Findhorn Guest Lodge, November 2013

Jay and his team have been busy ever since. He wanted me to head back to Findhorn to photograph some of the buildings they’ve designed and built since my last visit, in particular the cluster of six one bed apartments they’d just completed on behalf of Park Ecovillage Trust (PET). PET represent the Findhorn Ecovillage and associated Community. Their stated aims are to make a real environmental difference and improve the lives of the growing Findhorn Community by

  • assisting, funding and promoting further innovative educational, social and environmental projects
  • delivering an effective, affordable Community housing program
  • pursuing an impactful carbon strategy involving both direct and indirect emissions

In 2010, PET anounced Vision 25:25
i.e. their plan to build a minimum of 25 Community Owned affordable homes by the year 2025.

The block of one bed apartments featured in this post are part of that plan. Green Leaf Design & Build started work in May 2017. They delivered on time and on budget. The keys were handed over to the new tenants today (Dec 1st 2017).

Stairway to upper two apartments

Stairway to upper two apartments

While I was on site I also took the opportunity to photograph some of the other buildings Green Leaf Design & Build have constructed since my last visit, including a row of six houses that were completed earlier this year. All are now fully occupied. These new homes are also part of PET’s Vision 25:25 project.

PET housing development, Findhorn

Six houses completed in early 2017 by Green Leaf Design & Build for PET’s Vision 25:25

I was invited indoors to photograph some of the interiors:

First floor kitchen, West Whins, Findhorn

First floor kitchen, West Whins, Findhorn

Ground floor kitchen, West Whins, Findhorn

Ground floor kitchen, West Whins, Findhorn

End of the block, West Whins, Findhorn

End of the block, West Whins, Findhorn

Opposite the row of six houses on West Whins, there’s an earlier Green Leaf Design & Build project; office HQ for Trees For Life (an award-winning charity working to restore Scotland’s ancient Caledonian Forest).

Trees for Life office - another one by Green Leaf Design & Build

Trees for Life offices – another one by Green Leaf Design & Build

Another Green Leaf Design & Build project – a larger house build, also in the West Whins area of Findhorn:

GLD&B build big houses too...

GLD&B build big houses too…

First floor open plan living space

This photo shoot took place over several days. The image at the top of this post was taken on day one. I half-jokingly said to Jay that a cherry picker would be handy tool to get a better perspective on the new block of six apartments. He said: “We’ve got one!”.

Sure enough, their ground-works contractor had a cherry picker on site. When I turned up the next day, they’d set it up in front of the new apartments. I confessed my irrational fear of heights, but it had to be done. I climbed aboard and took the platform to a level I felt gave me a good perspective on the building.

My latest piece of camera equipment: motorised cherry picker - perfect for architectural photography

My latest essential piece of architectural photography equipment – the motorised cherry picker

Cherry picker silhouette

That’s me aboard the cherry picker. Thanks to Jay for the photo.

While I was on high, Jay took care of the lighting – aiming a portable 600 watt strobe at various angles on the building and the surrounding landscaped ground. I pieced together 24 separate exposures to produce the image below:

The six one bed apartments shot from a higher vantage point c/o the cherry picker

The six brand new GLD&B one bed apartments shot from a higher vantage point c/o the cherry picker

After my stint in the cherry picker, Jay wanted to try a max height shot. I said: “You’re welcome. You do the camera, I’ll take care of the lighting”.

He took the cherry picker as high as it would go, I ran around with the light. Here are four of the images (from a total of twelve) that were part of the final ‘high elevation’ shot:

Lighting the cherry picker shot

Lighting the max elevation cherry picker shot

And the final result…

Findorn from on high

Findorn’s six new one bed rent controlled apartments from on high

One thought on “Cherry Picking Eco-Houses”

  1. Great photos! Really proud of the work that Jason my son and the team has been doing. Looks good but to also be delivering on time and on budget is terrific. Carry on with the good work.

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