Sunday, April 25, 2010

Max Lyons

We've recently seen quite a few night photographers use multi-frame panoramas in their work. One of the best resources for panoramic photographers is Max Lyons' panorama image gallery and forums. Max is also the author of the great PTAssembler panorama stitching software, as well as the ImageStacker software which is great for creating long stair trails.

So, what happens when you combine a panoramic set of images, with stacked star trails, along with night photography? Max produced this stunning shot from Great Falls in (I assume) Montana:

(Great Falls Startrails, by Max Lyons)

If you have any serious interest in panoramic photography, I would definitely suggest checking out the forums on Max's site.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Step-by-step through a complex light painting setup

Joe Reifer has posted an excellent step-by-step guide to scouting out and light painting a composition from last month's Pearsonville Night Photography Workshop. Anyone who has never tried a complicated light painting composition should read Joe's guide. He makes a few very important points that many photographer's are not aware of:

(Photo by Joe Reifer)

First, it's important to scout out your locations before it gets dark. Troy Paiva taught me this lesson many years ago, and I've found it to be one of the most important lessons I've ever learned. There's only so much you can scout out in the dark, even if you think you've got perfect night vision.

Second, it's important to get a base exposure before spinning and twirling your flashlights, strobes and glow sticks. Not only does the base exposure let you set the correct exposure for the background, but it gives you a better idea of how to implement your light painting.

Third, you many have to light the scene many times from different locations in order to get the perfect result. Just because the final result looks simple, it doesn't mean that it was simple to implement.

If you enjoy Joe's guide, you should consider immersing yourself in one of Joe and Troy's three-day night photography workshops (the April 2010 workshop is sold-out, but you can get on the waiting list for the Fall 2010 workshops).

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano (named after the neighboring glacier of Eyjafjallajokull) is erupting for the second time in one month. It has melted so much ice from the glacier that flood waters have forced hundreds of people to evacuate nearby villages. The ash plume has canceled thousands of flights in and out of the Great Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia. As you'd expect, night photographers couldn't be more excited.

(Photo by HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Boston Globe's The Big Picture has more spectacular photographs of the volcano and the resulting damage.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Fourth Anniversary

The Night Photography Blog has published over 350 posts about night photography since April 12, 2006. I started this blog as a means to share the what-we-did and where-we-went news among a small group of Bay Area night photographers, most who traced their start back to workshops and presentation by The Nocturnes. Back then, some of the most interesting news revolved around which digital cameras can take a worthwhile night photograph, and who is part of this exclusive "club". Today, there are many digital cameras capable of shooting ten-minute exposures, and night photography "meet-ups" regularly attract dozens of participants. At this point in time, I don't think it's even worth posting long exposure tests of new cameras. Most DSLR's will do a great job in the "golden window" of two to four minutes.

So what's worth reporting these days when it's easy to find many great photographers with blogs (start with Joe Reifer's blog) and hundreds of night photography FlickrStreams (start with Troy Paiva's site or Mike Howes' site if you're new to this)? At this point, I think the most important prospects are to identify who is doing the work that is "fresh" (to use Robert Adams' term) and interesting.

This is how I was shooting when I started this blog in 2006. Back then, I thought this was pretty cool.

This is how I was shooting a few years later. I think all that blog writing paid off :-)

If you have any suggestions for photographers who should be spotlighted in this blog, please drop an email or leave a comment in this section.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

For the past three years, people all over the world have been observing Earth Hour on one Saturday evening in March. For one hour, beginning at 8:30PM local time in each time zone, governments, businesses and individuals turn off as many electrical appliances as possible. The Boston Globe has collected some of the most interesting photographs of some major cities before and during Earth Hour.

Check out the Globe's collection of Earth Hour photographs. With the exception of the first photograph, you can compare the "before" and "during" photographs (all taken at night!) by clicking on the photographs.

(Overview of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with lights on and off to mark Earth Hour 2010. Photo by Ringo Ma, via WWF)