Sunday, January 25, 2009

Revisiting Sutro Baths

Sutro Baths is a popular spot for night photographers in San Francisco. The remains of Adolph Sutro's indoor swimming pool complex sit at the foot of a sandstone cliff near the entrance to the Golden Gate. I've photographed this location at night at least a dozen times in the past eight years. Although the entire site is no more than two or three acres, I always seem to find some new angle or some new spot to photograph. Recently I was inspired by some of Joe Reifer's photographs from one of his return trips to Sutro earlier this year.

Last month I was photographing Kirby Cove on the Marin side of the Golden Gate. On the way home we decided to make a quick stop at Sutro since it was on the home. There must be something about photographing the same location repeatedly over a few years. Maybe it takes a few years for your best photographs to come through. After all, Ansel Adams photographed Yosemite Park for many years, and Edward Weston photographed the less-interesting Point Lobos for a major portion of his life.

(Sutro Baths, photo by Andy Frazer)

If you'd like to visit Sutro Baths, check out the Open Source Photo Guide for Sutro Baths that I wrote about one year ago.

Long Exposure Night HDR with the Arduino

Last November I wrote about Joergen Geerds' HDR night panoramas of New York City. HDR ("High Dynamic Range") requires an identical set of original exposures taken across a wide range of exposures. With the Canon EOS cameras, the photographer is limited to an exposure range of only +/- 2EV when shot in any sort of automatic bracketing mode. Since many HDR enthusiasts require an exposure range greater than +/- 2EV, the only solution is to shoot in manual mode. However, this creates a big problem for night photographers. Night photography requires longer exposures, so anyone who wants to combine 1) HDR and 2) panoramas while 3) shooting at night is faced with a big problem: either babysit your camera for hours in the cold while shooting in manual mode, or limit yourself to an automatic +/- 2EV range while taking advantage of a self-timer.

What is a serious HDR panoramic night photographer to do?

Joergen has solved the problem with a bit of ingenuity. Joergen built his own automatic exposure controller using the Arduino platform, a Nokia LCD, and little bit of his own programming. He calls it the Bracketmeister, and it allows bracketing up to +/- 10EV, exposures up to two hours, and up to 11 exposures per bracket. You can read more about it, and see some of his great night panoramas, on Joergen's blog.

(The Bracketmeister 0.32, by Joergen Geerds)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Aaron Hobson

Over the past year I've come to really appreciate the work of Aaron Hobson. His work combines "close-quartered panoramas" with self-portraiture and "open narratives". Or, put another way, stories that mix David Lynch in wide screen shot with a humble camera.

Maybe you should just take a look at his work...

Recently, Aaron posted this wonderful night panorama on his blog.

Who thinks of me and my work when they want a happy reminder of their wedding night? Bizarre people, that's who. Hahaha! --Aaron Hobson

(Cinderalla 2008, by Aaron Hobson)

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll notice that I've become fascinated by night panoramas. Over the next few weeks and months, I plan to post links to a lot more photographers who've been mixing this two niches.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Light Painting Workshop #2

Troy Paiva (known as LostAmerica on Flickr) and Joe Reifer are teaming up again to host a second night photography/light painting workshop at the Pearsonville Junkyard near Ridgecrest, CA. This workshop will be held March 7th and 8th.

(Photo by Troy Paiva)

Last year's workshop was sold out. For details and registration information for the March workshop, check out either the official sign-up page or Joe's blog.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

David Gong Exhibit (Cranston, R.I.)

David Gong (who goes by the name JudyBoy on Flickr) will have a show of his night photography work at the Central Cranston Public Library, in Cranston, Rhode Island through January 30, 2009 (directions). This show include thirty-six pieces of work taken in both 35mm and 120mm format, using both digital and film cameras.

(Photo by David Gong)

David is part of a cadre of night photographers who operate in Rhode Island. One of the interesting elements to David's work is his use of the fish-eye lens.

(Photo by David Gong)

You can see more of David's night photography on his Flickr page.

(Photo by David Gong)