Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lance Keimig: Upcoming Workshops

Boston night photographer Lance Keimig has announced four workshops in the next few months: two in Boston, one in California, and one in Texas.

First, the eight-week course on photography workshop will be held at the New England School of Photography beginning June 23. Second, there's a night photography camp out on Lovell's Island (in the Boston Harbor) on July 18. Third, if you want to shoot in California, there's the Finding Your Way in the Dark: Digital Night Photography from Capture to Print at Mono Lake, Yosemite and Bodie Ghost Town on August 14-17. And if you'd rather shoot in Texas, there's the Finding Your Way in the Dark: Digital Night Photography from Capture to Print at the Big Bend National Park and Terlingua Ghost Town from October 11-14.

(Arch at Mono Lake, by Lance Keimig)

Lance was one of my first night photography instructors when I took The Nocturnes workshop in San Francisco six years ago. I've also attended his Mono Lake workshop twice in the past four years. I won't be able to attend the workshop this year, but I expect that everyone will have a great time. Lance was also featured in my short documentary film about night photography: The Night of the Living Photographers, which you can view on-line for free.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Aspects of Noise Reduction in RAW Data"

Night photographers are often concerned about digital noise when shooting long exposures. New cameras are able to exposure beyond ten minutes without producing unacceptable amounts of noise. Some high-end DSLR's have been reported to be able to shoot over one hour. But noise is still there, and both in-camera and post-processing noise reduction techniques are always of interest in night photography.

And then there's thermal noise. While most modern DSLR's can control that magenta or blue amplifier glows, noise still increases in warm weather. It's always there. The question is, "How much can you tolerate or control?"

If you can't read enough about digital noise, check out Emil Martinec's great article "Aspects of Noise Reduction in RAW Data". This is some pretty technical stuff. But it makes great reading if you have the time to read through it slowly.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration

Bay Area night photographer Troy Paiva released his first book of night photography, Lost America: The Abandoned Roadside West, five years ago. Since then, Troy has continued photographing abandoned sites across California, Nevada and Arizona. He has also migrated his photo technique from film to digital, and continues to be active in the online night photography community (see his Flickrstream here).

(Photo by Troy Paiva)

Troy's second book, Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration, will be released in early June. It will be available from Amazon (you can pre-order it now). His first book is now sold-out. So if you're at all interested in night photography, I recommend ordering your copy of Night Vision as soon as possible.

You can also see an interview with Troy in my 2004 documentary film about night photography: The Night of the Living Photographers (yes, you can watch it for free).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lynn Saville

In 1997 Lynn Saville published her night photography in Aquainted with the Light. This summer, Lynn has a solo exhibition of night photography at the Montgomery Museum of Art (Montgomery, Alabama). The show is called NIGHT/SHIFT and is on view from April through August, 2008.

(Erie Lackanawan #18, by Lynn Saville)

From the Montgomery Museum's website: "Lynn Saville, a native of North Carolina who now lives and works in New York City, has braved the mysterious darkness and captured oddly enchanted images for us to inspect and enjoy. Working with a large-format camera, she has produced both color and black and white prints that transport us vicariously into places where we might not feel safe to go in person, at night, alone."

The reception for the artist is Thursday, July 10th 6 - 8 pm

Sunday, May 11, 2008

One-Night Night Photography Workshop

Tim Baskerville of The Nocturnes is offering a one-night workshop on night photography on May 17th at Rush Ranch in Salano County, just a few miles northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area. If you'd like to dip your feet into the night photography world, but don't feel ready for a three-night workshop, then the Rush Ranch workshop might be just what you've been looking for. I attended the workshop four years ago, and had a great time.

(Rush Ranch Windmill, by Andy Frazer)

Rush Ranch is operated by the Solano Land Trust. It is not open to the public at night.

Land trusts are a wonderful concept. They collect donations, pool everyone's money together, then purchase land to keep it out of development. They may also purchase easements which allow the owners to keep the land, but prevent anyone in the future from ever developing it. The Nature Conservancy is, by far, the largest in the world. Here in California, many of the county parks, and some state parks, were acquired by land trusts. I support the Penninsula Open Space Trust, which has acquired many of the former ranches in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County.

P.S. Don't miss yesterday's post on Frank Relle.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Frank Relle

Bay Area night photographer Charity Vargas brought to my attention the night photography of Frank Relle. Frank hails from the city of New Orleans, and his photography is focused on depicting the city's interesting architecture at... you got it... night! Many of his photographs include tell-tale signs of the destruction from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.

(LaHarpe by Frank Relle)

The Times-Picayune also has a short interview with Frank.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

12 Steps of Measurebator's Anonymous

This humorous message must have some relevance to night photography. That's why I'm posting it, here. It was posted to the DPReview Nikon SLR Lens Talk Forum by user LisaLisaB. She calls it the "12 Steps of Measurebator's Anonymous" ("measurebators" refers to people who are obsessed with pixel-peeping: analyzing the maximum resolution of digital photographs).

1. We admitted that we were powerless over pixel-peeping and that our photography had become unmanageable.

2. We came to believe that a power greater than MTF charts and 300% crops could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our attentions towards actually taking photographs.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our all our lenses, and decided to use the ones WE like no matter what the pundits say.

5. Admitted to ourselves that spending more money on gear will NOT make us better photographers.

6. We were entirely ready to quit letting the lens snobs make our decisions for us.

7. Humbly take an honest look at the shortcomings in our photography and realize that our gear is not the problem--we are.

8. Made a list of all people we had harmed in photography forums by dispensing mostly useless advice about buying the latest and greatest.

9. Made direct amends to such people, except when to do so would injure their photography.

10. Continued to take personal inventory on the opinions we dispense to others, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through actual image making and post-processing to improve our conscious contact with the art of photography, praying only for the ability to improve our skills regardless of the gear we use.

12. Our photography having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps we tried to carry this message to the pixel-peepers and measurebators who still suffer and to stamp out this disease wherever possible.