Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Entertainment at the Hotel Lusso

This week, my goals were the Hotel Lusso, in downtown Spokane. Of course it was snowing the night I traveled down there, and at 23 degrees, it was a very icy drive.

When I was setting up outside the Hotel Lusso, I located myself across the street adjacent to the Davenport Hotel. I was approached by a man and woman who happened to be from Munich, Germany. The couple was interested in photography, and I spoke with them for a few minutes about my night photography project.

As we spoke, I heard a loud engine noise, and looked to see a large 4WD pickup, westbound on Sprague, just east of Post Street. It looked like they were trying to beat the light, and then they changed their mind. Since it was solid ice down there, the truck completely slid all the way through the intersection, actually doing a 180, facing east when they finally stopped. The couple from Germany watched the event, and smiled. The woman commented on how some people cannot drive in snow, and I agreed.

Approximately 5 minutes later a large 4WD GMC model pickup truck, also slid all the way through the intersection, after speeding up to try and beat the red light at Post. At this point I was on the north side of Sprague, and as the driver of the second pickup slid through the intersection at Sprague and Post, I noticed that the couple from Germany had just exited the Davenport Hotel, on their way to an event at the Fox. They turned to watch as the 2nd truck went sliding through the intersection. I was able to see them laughing as they continued their walk toward the Fox…..

I’m guessing they felt all Spokane drivers are that careless in the Snow/Ice, but one thing for sure, two local Spokane drivers certainly are. At any rate, I got about 175 shots downtown, in addition to getting the entertainment in front of the Hotel Lusso.

Although I may add two more photographs to the website today of locations other than Hotel Lusso, I did add two photos of the Hotel Lusso on that cold and snowy night. A link for a second view is also on this URL.



Friday, December 07, 2007

Comments from Spokane Night Scenes visitors

This week I got a number of emails from former Spokane residents, who commented on how the Spokane Night Scenes images brought back some pleasant memories for them. That was really good to hear, and to have received photographic reviews from these former residents of our community was very gratifying.

I wrote some time ago about the progression I took in utilizing the digital technology of the times for work I was doing. The first digital camera I owned was purchased to allow me to shoot photographs for the Spokane Police Department website, which I was webmastering at the time. I had read about something called the Epson Photo PC camera, and I went to one of my bosses at SPD to ask for a city purchase of that camera for SPD, so I could use it on the web. I was denied that request, but I bought the camera anyhow for my own personal and family use. Although the camera was cumbersome, boxy, and had little memory, its valued uses were easy to see.

Next came a Nikon digital camera (CP 900e), which was better than the Epson in every way, and using it for the websites I was developing at the time was easy for me to do. I remember shooting photos of our infamous “ice storm,” for the Spokane PD website, and it became so easy to shoot and publish online soon after an event, the feeling was amazement. I still could not get my boss to let me purchase the camera (for SPD’s website), so I bought the Nikon for myself, and for the past number of years, the quality of the digital cameras has never dropped in quality. Each year they get better, and the uses are more pronounced.

Doing this Spokane series of photos has been helped a ton, by the cameras available in the year 2007. Setting up shoots in 2007 with two cameras and varying lenses and tripods, allows for a wide variety of shots at each Spokane location. Yes, digital cameras are a great source of fun, and a definite asset for the utility work in my business projects in 2007. The series for Spokane shoots at a number of locations has an ambitious schedule for the winter of 2007-2008, and my newer digital cameras should allow for some great image captures of our local community.

Yes, we live in a beautiful place. Having these electronic systems available for photography, makes it easy (well, sorta) to show others about our area and our community. Stay tuned, more Spokane images are coming….. Spokane has a lot more places to visit for the first time, and also some visits to earlier locations to reshoot some images with a better set of cameras.

A very Merry Christmas to all of you visitors to the Spokane Night Scenes website!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

I don’t do elections, I just take photos

I don’t do elections, I just take photos

I got a group of emails from what appear to be local Spokane residents this week. Apparently there is a John Moore, who is a supporter of May Verner, who is running for Spokane Mayor. Sorry, that is not me. I am not a resident of the City of Spokane, and I do not do City elections, I just take photos.

If I did live inside the City of Spokane, I’d likely be counted as a supporter of the current Mayor of Spokane, Dennis Hession. I have had the pleasure of speaking on a number of occasions with Mayor Hession and his wife, and I have a real feel for how much they like this community. Seeing how they appreciate my after dark Spokane images, shows me that they like the community as much as I do.

Anyhow, I don’t do elections. I just take photos.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Should a sunrise feel like work?

Getting up early has always seemed to me, to be related to “work.” In my dayshift patrol days at the Spokane Police Department, early was always the optimum word…and it was indeed, “work.” So getting up early now, with a chance to have some fun, just seems a bit tedious. Yet, capturing sunrises with a camera has now been added to my list of fun things to do, and slowly but surely, getting up early is eroding the feeling of it always being “work.”

Sunrises can be as dramatic and as colorful as can sunsets. There is one major exception though, and that is “you must point your camera in a totally opposite direction.” All of the other factors for low light imaging are the same, including the use of a stable tripod platform for the timed exposures.

Sunrises have been a pleasant surprise for me in the past couple of weeks. I have been out of Spokane for a couple of weeks, and monitoring sunrises from my location has been very easy to do. Shooting through secure glass windows, well above ground level, has not been that difficult. It can be, if the reflections from the interior glass are also captured in the frames of the landscape you are trying to photograph. So, keeping the interior as dark as the exterior has been a big help in capturing what the camera has seen during some colorful sunrises this past week.

The placement of the camera and tripod also resulted in the capture of a very large rainbow, which seemed to be less than a hundred yards away. The interior glass did filter a little bit more on that series of shots since it was later in the day, and a lot brighter outside. I may add some of these images to the Spokane Night Scenes website, although I am a little reluctant to add out of town shots to a location designed primarily for Spokane Night photographs. We’ll see, in another week or two when I get back into town and into a normal routine once again.

One thing for sure, getting up early and looking at what Mother Nature is offering for the day, has been fruitful for the past week or two. I need to do more of that back in Spokane. Although that may actually seem like “work,” once more….


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Canons and Nikons, changing over time

Using cameras over time has resulted in many changes, over the years. When I first started shooting night scenes, I did so in 1987, with a 35mm Canon AE1 SLR. My night shots were a part of a complete security survey I was doing for Riverfront Park, and the night shots were a result of the lighting study I set up in the park.

I began more sojourns into Riverfront Park, with a followup security survey which I began 14 years after I did the first one. The difference in both the process and the equipment used had changed, as far as use for night shots. In 2001 and 2002, I used a Nikon CP 990, which was the second Nikon series camera in their digital series. It was a great camera, and the 3.34 MP camera allowed editing and transitioning into a digital security survey report easily and almost effortlessly. The night shots with the Nikon CP 990 seemed to be superior to the shots taken during the 1987 security visits to Riverfront Park. That camera is no longer in use, but it is still very functional, and has been used occasionally by my kids and their children.

Then along came the Nikon CP 4500, which was similar in many ways to the Nikon CP 990. I just never got to like that camera as much as the 990, perhaps because it was smaller, yet it offered more megapixels per image (4+). I saw no difference in many ways from the two cameras, but the CP 990 just seemed better in almost every way. There was no significant difference when it came to low light shots.

The Nikon CP 8700 replaced the CP 4500, and in every way was a better piece of hardware. Shooting after dark allowed RAW imaging, as well as JPEG, and the camera allowed easier editing and cropping for written reports since it as an 8 megapixel unit. That camera has been used on many night sojourns from 2003-2005, and is still in use as a backup camera. It was the closest camera to a DSLR I ever had the pleasure to shoot with, and allowed shooting at an ISO of 50, which helped low light images, for noise purposes.

Although the CP 8700 is still up and running, my night visits to Spokane locations are driven by DSLRs, including the Canon 350D (XT), and the Canon 400D (XTi). Both of these units allow for easy lens transfer and placement for a variety of scenes. Shooting at 8 megapixels (350D), and 10+ megapixels (400D), cropping is once again easier, as well as shooting RAW (CR2) plus JPEG. Both cameras allow an ISO level of 100, and that is very helpful in low light situations that I find myself in once or twice each week. There are times that even the Nikon CP 8700 is still used after dark, and having three cameras available at every location allows for a lot of possibilities based on the obstacles that you find when you get there.

Over time, cameras just got better. Considering the beauty of the Spokane region and the locations after dark, all of these digital cameras have played a role in capturing the area we live in.

Nikon CP 990:

Nikon CP 4500:

Nikon CP 8700:

Canon 350D:

Canon 400D:


Saturday, September 08, 2007

A photo visit to Deaconess Medical Center

This week’s efforts included some post-sunset shots utilizing the Deaconess Medical Center parking garages. I contacted the staff and security officers at Deaconess, and they were a great help in getting to a couple of areas I had not been visited for a cameras eye view of downtown.

This was an experience I had not anticipated. The wind was blowing from the west, and on top of the garage on the west side of Deaconess I really had to keep an eye on the actual focus and blur that did occur when there were gusts of wind. Even with a fairly heavy tripod and not using the center post, still allowed for some movement in the time exposures, on a number of the shots. Bracketing individual scenes was a big help in post photo review, and when there was movement detected for a particular shot, it was almost always replaceable by a number of others taken at the same place and at varying times.

Out of 400 or so images taken during my two hour or so visit to Deaconess, I felt that there were five images that were usable, and a couple others that I am going to have to look closely at over the next week or two. Normally, for me, getting one usable image from 100 taken is about my average. In some cases that is not a fair analogy, since some images used are actually a combination of two or three bracketed images taken at the individual location. Photomatix Pro is a big help on some cases, and using layers in Elements 5 is another sure way of getting what you saw the night you were there.

The top level of the Deaconess parking garage is just west of this building location.


Coming up I have two other locations scheduled, including the rooftop at the Doubletree hotel, and in the area of W 1000 First Street. I have some contacts in target locations in the W 1000 block of 1st, and I will get together with them to shoot some after dark images of that area. The W 1000 block of 1st is a personal goal of mine. I had administered/organized the construction of the Spokane Police Departments Crime Prevention Center at 1201 W First, and along with ten or twenty police senior volunteers, I worked in that neighborhood for a few years after we opened our doors in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Once upon a time those blocks were the hangout of a lot of two legged predators, and the area was not to be visited for any length of time at all. To see all of the great activities that are taking place down there now is most certainly to be documented.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stealing the Scene

Recently, I became aware that some of my Spokane Night Scenes images were being used by others who had no permission to do so. Initially it was a shock to me, when I saw my images being used commercially and privately without my permission.

In one case, I found one of my images being used by a private party as a part of his blog, on the Internet. After my informing him of his unauthorized use of my image, his reply was,

“I'm very sorry. I have removed the picture, much to my regret. It was a stunning picture.”

How difficult would it have been to send me an email requesting use of my image? Was this person really sorry for using my work, or were they sorry that I found out they were using it? Seems to me that if the image he was using was that impressive to him, he would have made the same contacts with me that many, many others are making when they begin the process of using Spokane Night Scenes images.

Then there is the case of a web design firm who took one of my images and used it on a website designed for one of their clients. Yep, they used it commercially, without permission, even though they were being paid to build a website for a client of theirs. When I discovered the unauthorized use, I contacted them immediately, and got this response. “If you decide to take legal action, I sincerely ask that you involve only myself and my company, ___________ _________. The owners of ____________ are a grassroots company just starting out and trusted me to comply with copyright laws - which I thought I had.”

Come on, I mean really….”THOUGHT I HAD?” How can this be the case? Using something for commercial gain that you don’t own is not exactly a proper use of copyrighted materials.

In the second case, when it was brought to the attention of the web design firm, they bought the limited use rights, allowing them to continue the use of the image owned by Spokane Night Scenes. Sure, this would have and should have been done up front. Ethics, professionalism, and business to business relationships are built on doing things right, and in this case, they finally purchased the use rights.

To own and operate a business, must be the most misunderstood thing around. People just don’t seem to realize all of the costs and liabilities that go hand in hand with operating a business. There are licenses, insurance issues, corporation costs, State and Federal tax issues, Better Business Bureau membership costs, photographic equipment costs, administrative hardware and digital office equipment costs, and the list goes on and on. Yet, in the previously described cases, none of this was important to the former users of the work done by Spokane Night Scenes.

Amazing….. You would think that the web design business had an idea about all the costs to running a business, as well as what it takes to keep the business going…such as income to pay for all of the costs…… Yep, amazing.

Then there are those requests I get, asking to use Spokane Night Scenes for free…for one reason or another. I am as responsive to the needs of some requests as I can be, but bills don’t get paid by giving away everything we produce…. So, I have to limit what is “donated, or given away.” I would much rather donate my time as a photographer, than to compromise the product line of images used to run a business…. Even so, there are those who want, and will, take advantage of that…..

Yep, amazing…


(No, I will not ID the people or company involved in these cases….since these issues have been resolved).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Is it, or isn’t it?

A friend related to me some comments made about a photo I had taken at Riverfront Park, in downtown Spokane. Rather than a traditional sunset photo, the image was actually facing downtown, to show the sun setting reflections in the windows of the businesses. After I got it onto the hard drives and the computers, I was satisfied with the image, and put it on the web.


The particular image in question was emailed to the Spokane Camera Club for its monthly competition, and I was out of town for the “critique.” The topic of the month was sunsets, and the comments related to me were that the person doing the critique stated that this was not a sunset shot.

It was an image taken at sunset, and timed to be exactly at sunset, with a view of the setting sun in windows rather than the traditional view of the sun setting in the sky on the horizon. Since I was told of those comments, I have always wondered what a sunset really was, if it was not an image of the setting sun along with other objects in the same frame of the shot. The job of critiquing images displayed at a Spokane Camera Club meeting is pretty much a thankless one, and having a professional comment on your shots is geared toward making members better photographers. Yet, if a shot taken at sunset, during a sunset, is not really a sunset photo, then what is? Beats me……

Anyhow, at risk of offending someone for taking another view of Spokane during a sunset, I offer up a more “typical view,” of a Spokane sunset. This image was at sunset, with some orange reflections off the clouds, with a focal point of a landmark on the right half of the image. I wanted the left half void of any focal points, and to begin water reflections in the lower third of the frame with the landmark beginning in the second third of the frame.

Anyhow, I hope this is a sunset photo, especially one you can enjoy.



Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Colors of the STA

For the high and low of it

Providing motion after dark can have some dramatic impact on the actual image capture at a location. Sometimes capturing fireworks can be like that, but in other circumstances it is automobile traffic that provides the motion and the color.

There are some fairly traditional after dark “motion shoots,” in Spokane. One example of that is the south side of the overpass at Riverfront Park, above the Washington Street couplet. That shot reveals both the traveled portions of the roadway, as well as the lights from some downtown office buildings, and of course the Spokane River.

This week I wanted to find a secondary location, or several of them, if I could. The goal was to capture vehicle motion and color, at sunset through total darkness. The first target this past week came as I faced south towards the moon, on the Clock tower footbridge. This footbridge is close in proximity to the southbound lanes of the couplet, onto Stevens street. To get the moon and vehicles into the same frame, the angle needed to get a traffic flow that displayed vehicle lights over and above the side rail on the couplets bridge surface. When an STA bus came through, I really liked what I saw, and set the camera (Canon 400d, RAW + JPEG, F16, 6-8 seconds exposure, tripod mounted) up for any other STA bus that came across the southbound lanes. About 10 minutes after setting everything up, along came an STA bus, and the timed exposure showed the motion and flash of the bus colors and lights.


On another night, I sought out another secondary location, where I could get vehicle lights, in a mostly out of the ordinary photo location. At sunset I took a look at the north end of the Washington Street Couplet overpass, from the ground level. Shooting there looked doable and so about two hours later in total darkness I returned to that spot and set up for another timed exposure. It was a little difficult to judge when northbound vehicles were going to enter the frame, since the east walls of the couplet blocked most of the view. I had to listen to approaching traffic, and then set up an exposure which would be long enough to capture vehicles as they came into view of the camera, as well as when they exited the field of view to the north. (Canon 400d, F16, 8sec, tripod mounted, RAW + JPEG, CR2). What I had not counted on was another STA bus to enter my scene, along with three other vehicles, and all at the same time. The combination of all the vehicle lights, was a big help in displaying the motion and color at the time of the shot.


At night, there seems to be no Spokane locations in which there are no photographic possibilities. Yep, we live in a beautiful place….


Sunday, July 29, 2007

The STA Blur

Summertime and photography after dark offer up some interesting challenges.

First, to get out with cameras after dark, means that the actual period of darkness comes much later in the evening. So, unless you want to spend hours much later in the day, you may opt to wait until Fall or Winter months.

Or, you get out early in the morning before sunrise, to get the shots of locations during darkness. That condition is not one of my favorite activities, since many of the nighttime lighted buildings or locations will have all of their lights off.

So, I tend to get out there later in the evening and shortening the amounts of time to the places which get visited. For me, it means I have maybe two hours to get shots or get out. On the bright side, it isn’t cold with ice and snow on the ground.

Summer shots after dark in many locations mean that there are much more people activities in progress. I have never been out on a shoot around Spokane in summertime, when small groups of people don't become interested in what is happening. Taking time to explain what you are doing can take some time, but it is the right thing to do.

There are times when people are going to get into your shots. Usually not a problem, unless your intent was to capture objects and not people. Photoshopping them out of the image after you get the RAW files on your computer might be doable, but taking them out of the frame is not a representation of what you saw when you were at the location. When I was setting up a shot on the Clocktower foot bridge in Riverfront Park, I had at least ten people wait in a group until they were sure they would not ruin the shot. I think I must have shot ten images before I noticed them, and I thanked them as they went on their way that evening. I was trying to frame an STA bus as it crossed the Washington Street couplet into downtown, to see if I could get the bus colors and the early evening moon in the same shot. It was about 9:15PM when I got that opportunity and the bus colors and the motion depicted by the southbound bus seemed to jump as the 4 second time exposure (F16) captured the action.


Shooting in the evening is a good deal of fun, even if it requires a late evening/night series of digital shots.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Awards for Spokane Night Scenes

I wanted to thank all of the friends of Spokane Night Scenes, and to pass along some recent news.
Each year the Spokane Camera Club hosts a banquet to honor photographic excellence, in film, slide, and digital photography. This year, I received a request to enter previously selected images into their judging, and I agreed with their request. Of the digital images entered, the Spokane Night Scenes photographer received four category awards for digital photos entered in their judging. Of all digital images in their judging process, photographer John Moore received the "John Hill Digital Image of the Year award."
Thanks for taking the time to admire the images of Spokane, taken after dark. We live in a beautiful place, and photographing it after dark is a process which will continue for quite some time to come.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Spokane Night Scenes on TV Channel 14

Last night I sat down in front of the television, and on Channel 14 (Comcast cable channel) I began to see my pictures appear on the TV screen. Previously I had some discussions about allowing their use for a community television channel, since it was a non profit group. Obviously the people at Channel 14 selected a number of my night shots, and those are now live on Channel 14.

There are some significant differences in resolution, even though I began to look at those night images with a 52” HDTV. Although this is no fault of the staff people at Channel 14, even the low resolution images I place on the web site are so much clearer to look at.

One of my office desktops has a TV tuner, and I brought up Channel 14 on the HP’s 22” monitor, and looking at those images side by side with what is available on the web was drastically different. Regardless, I think that these images of the Spokane community are perfectly in line with what the good people are trying to do with their new cable television channel. I am happy that I had images available that they chose to use for their initial efforts in structuring this community cable TV channel. I just wish they were clear enough to appreciate the actual attractions that our Spokane community displays after dark. I wish the good people at Channel 14 much success in their efforts, and they are certainly welcome to use some of my after dark images.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Spokane Night Photos

Some things never seem to change, then again, maybe everything does. In going back to Spokane photo locations more than once, not a single time has that location been as it was when I was there before. It can change so much, that going back to the same location at varying times of evening or night, is almost like a totally different place. The sky is different, streetlights may now be on, building lights (or lack of), or even weather changes. It is just different.

So capturing the same places at different times or even seasons can be a good time. In some cases the conditions have changed so much, it just has to be a different place…yet it isn’t.

For some reason, foggy nights in Spokane seems to be a favorite of some site and gallery visitors. I would never have thought that, in fact I could only think of how crazy it was to be out with a camera in dense fog, the first several times. After speaking or exchanging emails with people about Spokane fog shots, it is now fun to go out there and see how something looks with a blanket of moisture hanging in the air. The photo can get a little noisy with fog, but when you look at it in post editing, there is a lot of mystery there that would not have been there at any other time.

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night photos

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Spokane Night Scenes prints

January 5, 2007 was First Friday Art Walk, in downtown Spokane. I added 27 more Spokane Night Scenes prints to the display area at Gina's Design Corner, 1 North Browne. Since I had displayed as many images there last month, the transition to the new images was quicker this time. Those images will be available for inspection throughout the month of January, and I might leave them at Ginas in February when there is no scheduled First Friday activity.

January 5th was a tough night for anyone trying to get to our gallery display, and there were winter storm warnings in every area around Spokane. I called a number of people I new were coming and advised them to stay home, but some of them came anyhow. Some members of the Spokane Camera Club came and visited, even though the weather was extreme. Our Spokane Mayor and his wife dropped by, and it was really a lot of fun visiting with them as we looked at the Spokane Night prints I had installed on the display wall. The Mayor asked me if I had considered displaying our Spokane Night images at City Halls Chase Gallery, and he thinks that should be something I should do. I'll let you know how that works out.

Commercial interests in the Spokane Night Scenes images has picked up, and we will agree to terms with 2 out of three commercial users requests, and the third one is in progress. Displaying Spokane in a documentary type of digital photography effort, has obviously created some commercial, as well as the personal interest. I think that whenever I capture Spokane locations with a camera, making those images available for use is a priority. Other people can learn what we already know, and that is Spokane is a great place to live, raise a family, and have a career.

I'll be out soon shooting more after dark images, cold temps or not. As long as it isn't raining, Spokane night shots will be in progress. Rain will generally put a halt on outdoor photo activity since electronic cameras don't work too well with water.

If you come up with anything that I can look at after it gets dark, let me know. Sometimes things that look average in the daytime can look striking after it gets dark. Then again sometimes the opposite happens, and it might be great during daylight, but not so much after darkness arrives. The process is very dynamic, and unless you get to every location, you just can't be sure. So, forward any ideas that you might have, and I'll take a look in upcoming photo ops.

Enjoy the new year. 2007 should be a good one for photography.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


As the interest has grown with the after dark images at the current Spokane Night Scenes web location, it is time to move. Time to move to a new home, and off the commercial space utilized by my business. Although I will let the files stay there for a month or so, the new location allows growth, improvements, and a permanent space for past and present night images.

Stop by the old location and click through to the new one, or just go directly to:


We will have a lot more room, and I’ll be able to free up the server space utilized by my Security Management daily activities.

Bookmark the new spot, and get ready for some new night scenes photos.