Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gallery talk and book signing in Boston

Early this year, Lance Keimig curated Darkness Darkness, a group exhibition of contemporary night photography that has been showing in Boston since March. It is currently on exhibit at the Boston Convention Center, and there will be a gallery talk and an impromptu signing for my book at 6 pm this Thursday night, August 28. Fellow night photography book (NPB) contributor Christian Waeber and I will be tag teaming the talk to fill in for Lance, who is currently on a family outing somewhere along the Maryland coast. For those in the Boston area, what better a way could there be to kick off the upcoming Labor Day weekend and get ready for the school year ahead than to pay a visit to this landmark of modern Boston to view the exhibit, hear some great tales of photography after dark and take a peek inside my new book!

© Christian Waeber, Dog Walker, Lowell, MA.
After making a 15-second digital exposure of a foggy street scene, Waeber noticed a dog walker passing. The limited light on the scene would have resulted in the figure to being all but invisible in a capture made at his existing camera settings. Still wishing to capture the figure as a compositional element, he quickly boosted his ISO to 800. He shot a second image at _ second with the figure frozen in the middle distance. The noise inherent in the second exposure’s high ISO setting makes it less than ideal as a whole. But since the distant figure is surrounded by white light, Waeber was able to extract this form from the noisy image and layer it with the first image for a low noise composite. 
Camera: Canon 5D, Lens: Canon Tilt Shift TS-E 24mm, ISO: 200/800, Aperture: f/11, Exposure Time: 15” /1”, Lighting: a couple of seconds of flash light and silver reflector to open up the “School Zone” sign.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Favorite pictures

By the time I was finished with research, writing and fact checking all the book texts with 29 other contributors I had amassed both text and images well in excess of what would fit in the original plan for 175 pages. The publisher graciously expanded the page count, but this decision was at least in part so to be able to run the pictures BIG!

So my editors and I embarked on the painful task of cutting A LOT of great pictures. As a former photo editor I'm used to making these kinds of decisions, but editing other contributors ' pictures out of this book really took a lot of fortitude and soul searching. At the end of the day I found this was a rare opportunity to dig deep for the best way to illustrate each element of the text.Some of the images that had to be cut were given a new life as section headers or front matter, but there was not enough space to run all my favorites. This is one of my all time favorite images by Lance Keimig and I really imagined it welcoming readers at the beginning of the book.

                                                  © Lance Keimig, The Arrival

Dramatic backlighting to a stand of trees in San Francisco's Presidio National Park takes on an otherworldly glow due to fog that blanketed the air with moisture. Keimig carefully composed his image to block the direct light coming into the lens from a metal halide street lamp. A low camera angle hides the road in the middle ground while glowing taillights from an unexpected passing car add an element of mystery to the scene.Camera: Hasselblad 500 CM, Lens: 80 mm Planar, Aperture: f/8Film: Kodak Portra 160 NC, Exposure time: 5 minutes.As I write this, Lance is leading a photography workshop out in Mono Lake, which is probably one of the most idyllic places for night photography there is. I attended the night photography conference he organized there in 2006, and besides shooting, I was able to do a lot of interviewing for the book.I look forward to sharing more of the nonpublished contributor selections in upcoming posts, as well as new images by the wider network of photographers who I hope will visit and will be entertained and informed by this content!

Welcome to the blog

The book is finally out, the Web site is almost ready, but I still have yet to write my first blog post. There are plenty of items to cover and lots of ideas running through my head, but adding the first entry to this page has been a lot more like staring at a blank canvas than I had expected it would be. It reminds me of the time period last winter and spring when I had completed all the preliminary book interviews but kept finding things to distract me from sitting down to pull it all together and start writing the book! Luckily, blog posts are a lot more immediate and will hopefully chew up fewer brain cells. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to share some great images too!

On that note, I'm going to try my hand at adding an image here...

Dumbo Vista © Jill Waterman

I've selected this view of the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn waterfront in honor of an exhibition inspired by the book that will be happening in Dumbo next spring.

This image is also being used to promote a night photography workshop I will be doing with Adorama Workshops this November.

I'll be posting much more about these and other events in the future, so please stay tuned for future updates. That's it for now, time to start a second post!