Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Flash? Or no Flash?

Although most night photographs spend most of their time shooting old buildings, beaches and smokestacks, sooner or later we'll all be in the position where we need to photograph people at night. Sometimes it's just for a snapshot, other times it may be art. The million dollar question becomes, "Should I use a flash?"

On one hand, a flash solves two of the biggest problems at night: it provides lots of light, and lets you work at a faster shutter speed. On the other hand, reckless use of a flash washes out everyone's features, and sometimes makes the subjects' eye bright red. It's a question that we all ask ourselves everytime we push that ON button on the back of the flash.

This morning, a coworker sent me the below photograph. It's one of the best side-by-side examples that I've ever seen of the difference shooting with flash, and without flash:

(photo: Unknown "artist" from MyConfinedSpace.com....sorry!)

Happy Hallowe'en!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Troy Paiva Show at Montclair Gallery

Troy Paiva is on a roll this month. In addition to his participation in the group show at Mae's Coffee House in Berkeley, he will also be part of the group show "Wheels" at the Montclair Gallery in Oakland, CA (1986 Mountain Boulevard).

(photo: Troy Paiva)

The "Wheels" show opens October 28th from 3-5pm, and runs through December 2. The theme is automotive photography. Troy's work will include his great night photography of battered cars littered in junkyards.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Studio Nocturne - This Weekend

Today I stopped by Studio Nocturne at Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA. Thirteen photographers associated with The Nocturnes were displaying and selling their artwork as part of the larger San Francisco Open Studios.

(Marina Room, Studio Nocturne)

It's always fun to hookup with artists who share the same passion that you do. Along with some night photographers whom I shoot with almost every month, it's also a great chance to visit some other photographers whom I only see once a year (that "once a year" usually refers to the Studio Nocturne weekend).

The weather was beautiful, and Fort Mason is conveniently located next to the Marina district of San Francisco. If you get there around noon, you can beat the larger crowds that usually arrive later in the afternoon.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Last Reminder for Studio Nocturne

If you're in the Bay Area, dont' forget to stop by at Studio Nocturne at Bldg A, Fort Mason, Saturday and Sunday (Oct 21st and 22nd) to see thirteen Bay Area night photographers display their work. All of the artists will have some work available for purchase.

I'll be hanging out there all day Saturday. I'll even be "guarding the door" (actually, I'll be a greeter, just like at Wal-Mart). So, come by and say "Hello". Fort Mason is a very picturesque location on the Bay. Greens Restaurant is less than one hundred yards away, and admission is Free.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Another talented Bay Area night photographer, Joe Reifer, recently launched his personal blog Perpendicularity.

I've been shooting at night with Joe for almost two years. Last year, Joe was instrumental in bringing together many old and new night photographers in the Bay Area. Some of these photographers brought a level of enthusiasm to the party that really seems to have invigorated the Bay Area night photography community.

(Unauthorized photo of Joe Reifer, by Susanna Friedrich)

A few months after I first met Joe, he arranged for a few of us to have the opportunity to photograph Preston Castle at night. Not only had I never shot there before, but I had never even heard of Preston Castle. I also thank Joe for introducing me to my favorite online photo-sharing site (Flickr!), my favorite digital processing lab for inexpensive proofs (WHCC), and for giving me advice that ultimately saved me $150 when I bought a new flash last summer. If I keep going, he'll probably get a big head. So I'll stop right here with the accolades.

(Preston Castle photo: Andy Frazer. Million thanks: Joe Reifer)

Perpendicularity will cover many topics in addition to photography: including music, techie toys and, knowing Joe, camera equipment. But knowing Joe's passion for night photography, I'm sure there will be plenty of nocturnal news, too.

Joe will also be participating in Studio Nocturne this weekend at Fort Mason, in San Francisco, CA. Studio Nocturne will include night photography by thirteen photographers. I will not be displaying any of my work at Studio Nocturne, but I will be hanging around on Saturday (October 21). Admission is free.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Troy Paiva Show at Mae's Coffeehouse

Troy Paiva will be showing some of his new night work of the airplane graveyards at Mae's Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA (2117 Shattuck Rd) as part of the "Oh, The Places You'll Go" show.

(photo: Troy Paiva)

The show will also feature work from Don Alderon, Juri Koll, Khalil Robinson, Jill Schneider and Ketan Anajara. The opening is Thursday, October 12 at 6pm.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Juliane Eirich

When I was reading one of my favorite photography blogs, Conscientious, this morning, I came across the German photographer Juliane Eirich. She has a lot of night photography under her Architecture and Landscapes links.

(photo Juliane Eirich)

Joerg Colberg, the editor of Conscientious, wrote "Unlike many other night-time photographers, she doesn't go for illumiated scenes - which then often just look gimmicky. But, instead, looks for something else."

Putting aside his comment about "looking gimmicky", I have to disagree with his second comment. Actually, the majority of her night shots were taken in illuminated scenes. The Night in Bavaria Trees seems to be the exception, rather than the rule. Still, the Schools and Construction Sites galleries display the popular trend in German photography which includes very simple, straight-forward scenes, often devoid of people.

Correction: Joerg told me that his comment about "illuminated scenes" refered to neon lights and spotlights, not ambient nighttime lighting.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

SF Open Studios

It's October! And October is the month for San Francisco Open Studios. This is when thousands of artists of all media in San Francisco open their homes and their galleries to the public. It's a great way to discover new art talent, and view many different artists on the same day.

(Studio Nocturne, 2004)

Open Studios is organized by weekend. Each participating artist is usually assigned one weekend slot to open their gallery. Of particular interest to night photographers, and collectors of night photographs, will be Weekend #3 (Oct 21 & 22), when 13 Bay Area night photographers will display their work at Studio Nocturne.

Studio Nocturne will be located in Bldg A at Fort Mason. Admission is free.