Friday, June 29, 2007

Maui Nights

I just returned from a week in Maui. Each time I have been to Hawaii, I've always expected to do a lot of night shooting. And as it turns out, each time I'm lucky if I return with more than a dozen night shots. There's something about needing that quiet time to work on your art when you're at home and juggling family and work responsibilities. But when you're on vacation, creative projects just don't seem to be as important.

(Waipuilani Beach, Maui)

On this trip, I was lucky to have gotten away for one hour to shoot one evening. This shot was taken on a relatively unremarkable beach behind rows of hotels. Tourists don't usually swim in this particular beach due to a water contamination warning in one of the most popular tour guides (Maui Revealed, by Wizard Publications).

This beach is relatively quiet at night. I was only visited by one person who seemed to be living on the beach. He snuck up behind me and asked, "Are you the person who gave me this sleeping bag?" I told him I was not. We wished each other good night, then he wandered off down the beach.

I also learned that Canon's wonderful L lenses are not sandproof. Combine that with Maui's traditional windy afternoons (especially on the west side of the island where you'll find the better beaches), and you may find that sand has crept underneath the focusing ring of your lens. I'll have more to report in a few weeks when I get my lens back from the Canon repair facility in Irvine, CA :-).

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lost America at Fort Mason, SF

I'm a little late announcing this, and hopefully you've already heard it from other sources such as Joe Reifer's blog or Tim Baskerville's Nocturnes blog, but 33 of Troy Paiva's night photographs are on display daily at Fort Mason in the Landmark Building A.

The show is open 9AM to 8PM, 7 days a week. It will run until July 15th.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

John Vias Video

Berkeley night photographer John Vias has released a short video of an interview where he describes some of his thoughts about night photography. This video was created by Edwin Rutsch for Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios for their Artist Talk series.

(Slow Down, by John Vias)

And speaking of night photography videos, my night photography documentary film The Night of the Living Photographers should be available on-line (again) by the end of the month. Now that my web video host site has my correct email address, I don't expect to fall behind in my annual video hosting payment again.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Surreal Stories: Paris and Kim

This post is not directly related to night photography. But it's so surreal that I can't avoid sharing it with everyone.

Look at the two photographs below, then answer the multiple choice question at the bottom of the page.

Question: Which of the following statements is true:

A. These two photographs were taken exactly 35 years apart (in other words, the second photograph was taken 35 years to the day after the first photograph).
B. Both photographs were taken by the same photographer.
C. Paris Hilton is a spoiled, rich brat.
D. All of the above.

The correct answer is "D". Answers "A", "B" and "C" are all true.

The first photograph of the Vietnamese girl Kim Truc running from her recently-napalmed village of Trang Bang, was taken on June 8, 1972 by Nick Ut. The second photograph of Paris Hilton being taken back to jail (after her lawyer promised her she'd be free after only four days), was taken June 8, 2007, by Nick Ut exactly 35 years later (more details)

I don't blame Nick Ut for becoming a paparazzi in order to support himself. After all, he has probably made more money from the Paris photo than he made from the photo of Kim Phuc in the previous 35 years. But there's something ironic about the fact that the photographer of one of America's most iconic Vietnam-era photographs is now shooting fluff. On the other hand, what else can he do these days? The government doesn't allow real war photography in Iraq or Afghanistan, anymore. After all, look what happened in Vietnam when they let all those photographers loose.

And more from the irony department: this morning, Michael Daniel posted the following comment on the American Photo Magazine Blog:

Speaking of pornography, given today's paranoia about publishing images of naked children, not one chance in hell would the Vietnam image be published today, were it new.

P.S. You can see a video of the bombing of Kim Phuc's village here. And if you're wondering what ever happened to Kim Phuc, she is now married, has two children, and lives in Ontario with two chil

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Digital Night Photography: Exposure Balance

Joe Reifer has posted an interesting article about setting the exposure balance to optimize the "night effect" in night photography.

(Screen capture by Joe Reifer)

Years ago, Michael Reichmann published a great article about Exposing to the Right as a technique to capture the most color information in a digital exposure. If you have ever tried following Reichmann's advice when doing night photography, you may have found that your night photographs end up looking like long exposure day photographs. Joe discusses an alternative approach to avoid this problem.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lance Keimig at the Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library has aquired four of Lance Keimig's works for their permanent collection, including some of his great work of Boston's new (-ish) Zakim Bridge.

(Photo by Lance Keimig)

These works will be on display at the BPL's show New Acquisitions: Works of Art on Paper:

Through June 30 in the Wiggin Gallery. A selection of works of art on paper acquired by the Boston Public Library Print Department during the past year. Included are a wide range of prints, drawings, photographs, and watercolors from the 18th through the 21st century.

Lance Keimig is represented by the Pepper Gallery in Boston.

Congratulations, Lance!

Monday, June 04, 2007

STS Plume Moon Shadow???

How can the full moon cast a shadow towards this plume from a recent Space Shuttle launch?

(Photo by Pat McCracken, NASA)

Read Astronomy Photo of the Day to find out.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Robert Kawika Sheer

This morning I met Robert Kawika Sheer at the Sunnyvale Art & Wine Festival.

(Graveyard Spirits, by Robert Kawika Sheer)

Robert shoots with a 4x5 camera, and works shadows of himself and his wife into the images. He is based in Venice Beach, CA, but the photographs that he had on display were set in locations all over California and Hawaii. Robert's work was recently seen in the October, 2006 issue of Rangefinder magazine.