Saturday, December 13, 2008
This week, my shoot involved carrying no additional lighting with me, and there were literally no targets identified in advance. The timing of the downtown visit was at sunset, and as the sun went down, ambient lighting changed, the skies changed, and the shadows changed. As it got darker, what were most enjoyable were the seasonal holiday influences, no matter where you looked.
A couple of places had shadows where I hadn’t seen them before so I shot some images of some “regular old places, and yet even they looked different through the lens of the cameras. One of the locations was immediately north of Escent on Spokane Falls Blvd. The shot had been done before in some earlier foggier shoots, but I shot it again as the light and shadows were different. (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/escent2.htm)
Then there was the Olive Garden downtown. The angle of the approaching night sky and the angle of an overhead light shining on a sign, made this location a perfect time for some shots. At the corner of the building the Olive Garden sign was featured, along with shadows that I had not seen before. Add the interior lighting and it was a no brainer to just grab this shot. (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/olivegarden.htm)
A little later in the evening it was time to capture a little of the downtown seasonal decorations and lighting. Adjacent to the downtown Library and connected to Nordstrom is a skywalk. The holiday decorations along with lighted outdoor trees made this view come alive, although it is just a plain old site that “we see everyday.” The sights after dark, are always different, and in my view……many times are improved over the plain daylight views. A look at this view demonstrates that fact immediately. Here is a site, and also a sight, that now looks remarkable different from the “norm.” Take a look:
Even the Lincoln building looked different tonight, and comparing it to some shots I did a few years ago was a must do: (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/lb.htm) The traffic was so busy at the Riverside and Lincoln intersection, I reversed the shot location to try and capture the traffic and the structure(s) southwest of the Lincoln building on this evening. (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/cwest.htm)
Plain old downtown sites? Maybe, but after dark and as the sun disappears, these “plain old locations,” have a completely different look to them.
If you haven’t tried shooting these “plain old sites,” after dark, give it a try. I think your evening photo shoot will be a very pleasant surprise to you.
John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I had such an enjoyable contact in Riverfront Park the other night, as I was in the midst of some “painting with color shots."
(http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/cflag.htm). I think I was in the midst of a series of shots using a blue filter on one of my Big Max flashlights. The blue light was pointed 30 degrees or so away from the object I was lighting (the Canadian flag sculpture north of the Carousel), and the reflection from the stainless steel sculpture was seen by RFP security officers.
The two young officers stopped by to see what I was doing, and it was a totally enjoyable conversation with these fine young security officers. A photographer that brought his own “color,” was unusual according to one of the officers.
After I finished shooting in RFP that night, I shot off an email to RFP management about the great security officers that I met with the night before. I wanted to make sure I thanked them for stopping by to visit, and for their inquiry. On this night I heard once again how different it is to see photographers who shoot after dark. In daylight, everyone walks around with a camera. At night, it is much less so.
The contact with RFP security officers added a lot to the night out, and it just represents why shooting at night is so much fun.
I'd name the two officers, but I'd rather have their bosses give them a pat on their backs.
So, the reality of shooting at night is that it gets dark. Yep, it can be really dark. So, then the issue is, you need to bring your own lights…..even lights you want to use as a basis for adding color to a scene.
One of the darkness challenges in the Spokane area is not unlike other communities. Yet, locally we have some very interesting sculptures, which are at best “bland,” and at worst, “ugly,” after dark. Conversely these sculptures would easily be observed as the artist rendered them, in daylight. So, night shooting requires an entirely new approach in trying to make sense of some local art….including adding some color.
In the photo “Aliens” (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/blueheads.htm), this art project was huge, yet it was invisible after dark. When I brought a group of photographers to this location to get them familiar with “painting with light,” the members of the group were not sure there was even a piece of art there. So, in my own visit, the challenge was to light the object, and include the use of color. Obviously, using red and blue filters do something to the sculpture, but in the real world this location is almost totally dark. This location was easy to paint, and the camera settings had to move very little as the color was added over a series of shots.
In another photo “Alive,” (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/alive.htm), this location was dark, but considerable lighter than the other one. Yet, after dark, there was no color, and ambient lighting was placed to light newly planted trees and not the sculpture. So, it was time to add color once again, and in this case the sculpture was painted with red, amber, and blue filters using a Big Max handheld flashlight. Since this sculpture was stainless steel, each color reflected from one surface to another, and color bounced pretty much everywhere.
The Wandermere waterfalls (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/twiggs4.htm) has been written about before, yet it is one more example of something which can be lost by darkness, yet brought to life is you add colored lights/filters. Trying to find a balance of objects in the darkness and then adding color is nothing short of fun. There are many other things which can be painted with light, even in very dark conditions.
One of the darker areas, yet totally interesting, is the Olmstead overlook, at the extreme west side of Liberty Park. (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/redgreenandblue.htm) To say this area can become dark is an understatement. Yet, for a target area to attempt to use color and light, it is perfect. There are old pathways, rock walls, and lots of shadows. If any of you want a place to go with endless possibilities, this would be it. Further, most of the area is a great start for handheld lights which would not interfere or distract passing motorists. On the south side of this area is I-90, so your primary areas of interest will be well away from the east-west bound freeway traffic.
There are many other places to discover and toy with painting with light, and I am sure there are more for me to discover. I’ll be taking some local photogs (Spokane Camera Club) out for a few more night experiences, and depending on time available I may take them to the Liberty Park area.
Any of you other photogs that want to hook up with my night groups, just let me know. If any of you can help me coach future night shooting groups, we can get each phog a little more personal attention.
Enjoy painting the town with color. I totally enjoy it.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
2008 updated details for this PDF file are in italicized text.
The direct download for the 2008 update is located at:
Since the 2008-2009 night season has begun, updates will continue as they are developed.
John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Cooperation—Michihiro Kosuge, 1998, http://www.spokane.wsu.edu/campusresources/Facilities/art/kosuge.asp
In a recent night sojourn, I made a visit to the WSU-EWU Campus in Spokane (Riverpoint Campus). Things have changed indeed, and I discovered artistic objects that were not there (or I had not seen them), when I visited this campus a year or two earlier (http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/blueroom.htm).
I observed three very tall granite looking obelisks, with an unusual shape. Framed against a bland sky, I decided to see if I could spruce things up with some color.
One image was bracketed using a blue filter on a Big Max flashlight. Another bracketed series of images was with a red filter using the same flashlight. The images were combined in post editing (CS3, PSE6, Photomatix 3) What appears now, is a completely different view of the same three obelisks, with a completely different quality, at least in my view. All timed exposures, this was one of the easiest shoots I have had in one evening. Hauling around additional lights and filters was a bear, but it appears to have been successful in this Spokane Night Scenes image.
The low-res image is located on the website at:
Monday, September 08, 2008
This week I finally visited that target area, and those hardscaped water features looked better at night than they did in the daylight. I bracketed over three hundred images that night, with the last 50 or so images using colored filters for flashlights I had, to add some interest to areas that were the most drab at the particular water feature I was shooting.
The recent additions to the Spokane Night Scenes website are located at:
There are a lot of possible angles to shoot the water features, but one of the best is behind the Bank of Whitman. You may actually be the focus of adjacent party revelers, at Twiggs. Their outside dining area gives the customers full view of the water features behind Twiggs. I know that I was the focus of attention when the Big Max flashlight and colored filters came out for use on some of the shots. Nonetheless, this was an evening well worth the drive north.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Once again, I have been placed in a position in which my copyrighted image has been taken for someone else’s use. Finding my images misappropriated and on someone else’s website is getting more routine these days, but nonetheless, it is a disappointment. It is more of an ethical issue, when you think of how many people just “take,” anything they want, when they know it isn’t theirs to take. Here is the URL of my misappropriated image:
The user of this image is called CA White, and as stated on this URL, the images are “from their hometown.” So, apparently, walking around
Would I have allowed the person to use my work? If they had asked, would I have allowed them to do it? At this point, it is rather moot, since they went ahead and took my image and used it without any discussion. When I think of all the money invested in my photographic hardware, software, and office hardware, it makes little sense for me to put up with copyright infringement. To run a small business, it takes a lot of money, and even more effort. So, when I see someone take my stuff and use it without any thoughts given to my ownership, I can see myself becoming a lot more hard nosed about this issue.
Picasaweb apparently is a Google prodigee, so I have filed notice this morning with the Google legal staffers about this use of my image. The image in question is a December 28 image, in 2005. It has been displayed in print form at First Friday Galleries (2006 and 2007), as well as appearing on Channel 14 locally. This year the arena image was replaced with another view of the arena, although I am giving some thought to putting it back on the Spokane Night Scenes website, since the image is apparently good enough to be stolen.
One of these days I would like to have a long chat with the person who takes my stuff for their own purposes. Why did you take the image, when you already know it wasn’t yours? There are only two places the images could have been taken from, and both of those locations are owned by me. Why is it that you failed to email me to ask about using it? When the Google attorneys contact you, are you going to tell them you are sorry for using the image? Or are you just sorry that you got caught using my image?
Ironically, meeting the Google requirements for filing the complaint actually took almost as much time as I took to register just under 500 images with the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress.
CA White, shoot me an email, if you read this. Even after spending 31 years in policework, I am still very curious as to why things get taken by someone without permission.
Friday, July 25, 2008
I found a link in my webstats program that came from
I'm not sure if that URL will successfully reach your browser header,
but lets give it a try. At any rate, I find an image of mine used by
someone without permission. What to do, since this is the zillionth
time it has happened to me.
I wanted to try something different, so I find that the image is
actually linked directly to my website image file name. I opened up
my photo editor and created a second copy of the image that was taken,
and changed the file name for it. I opened up my html editor and
inserted the new image, so everything is as it was originally. Now I
brought up the taken image and added Image stolen from just above the
copyright details added.
Today I am getting slammed in terms of site visitors, from the people
who found my stolen image. The site traffic has been great, and I
even got some emails from the site visitors, kinda laughing about this
guy taking my image and not knowing it says stolen from on it.
Anyhow, today should be interesting and my site can handle the
additional traffic okay. I'm not sure I will do this technique very
often, but for once I can smile as my stolen image keeps appearing on
this website each day. With or without the knowledge of the image
thief, I had a little bit of fun doing this.
Based on the pure numbers of people who arbitrarily steal images from me, I am almost overjoyed when I speak with people who wish to legally use the images. It is an absolute pleasure to speak with ethical people, whether it is for a commercial sale or a non-profit or 4th grade teacher asking to use an image for a classroom project.
So, for all of you ethical folks, feel free to keep the emails and phone calls coming. For those of you who manage a website with your images, just remember, the unethical folks out there will be taking your work, so stay active in your discovery methods.
John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Recently, I began an opportunity to work with the Spokane Parks Foundation. Their executive director, Toni Nerserian made contact with me, and as a result the Spokane Camera Club is now actively involved in getting photos for the Spokane Parks Foundation. Ten of the Spokane Camera Club’s photographers were issued photographic permits for shooting in Spokane City Parks, so as we go along there will be some great shots in and around Spokane Parks coming in the future. This week the Spokane Parks Foundation was given a PowerPoint slide program with 100 parks images on it, for their marketing use. 7 Camera Club photographers donated images to use in the Park project, and the finished product is dynamite.
Yesterday I was contacted by the Public Affairs office at the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Next year is the 29th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, and the Spokane Camera Club figures to being heavily involved in supporting the VAMC effort in July of 2009.
So, event when there is some personal downtime as far as night photography goes; there are always plenty of things to stay busy. The 29th National Veterans Wheelchair Games is a very worthy project, and will be in Spokane, July 13-18, 2009. These games are described by VAMC as the “largest wheelchair event in the world,” and they expect over 500 participants.
These projects, among others, will keep the shutters active this summer. Then, it will be time to get back on the Spokane streets doing lots of after hour’s photography.
John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes
Monday, June 09, 2008
In the past several months, I have had the opportunity to read a large number of comments, and reported incidents, where photographers were stopped, or questioned by local authorities about their taking photographs in a public place. Further I have watched one short video involving two officers, and one photographer who does appear to be centrally located in a fairly crowded public place.
Each time I read about alleged encounters, or alleged incidents, it makes me think about my career in public police services, and “what would I do.” In the last 7 years of my police career, I had photographic responsibilities at crime scenes, and fatal collisions. In some incidents I also had photographic responsibilities for intelligence gathering, and in the main, I had fun anytime I could get a camera in my hands.
Yet, the issues of photographer’s rights are “what I care most deeply about.” I think about this a lot when I shoot for my ongoing night project at Spokane Night Scenes. I think about the safety issues more than most other things when I shoot after dark, but that also might be a time when a photographer somewhere reports on being questioned about their activities by “some local authority, in some place.”
So, “when would I have ever stopped a photographer who was shooting/taking pictures in an obvious public place?” Is it possible that I would have? Well, it isn’t likely, absent some other reason which represents a physical danger to some other person. In 31 years of law enforcement, I have been around cameras in the hands of adults, children, and even members of the former KGB. My photo is probably still sitting on the desk somewhere of me in uniform standing next two KGB officials at the worlds fair in Spokane when the Soviets would have two KGB members always follow me around whenever I entered the Soviet Unions Pavilion at the Worlds Fair.
It just makes no sense to me, about why I would ever tell a photographer not to take a photo in a public place. If there is some other reason, other than just the motions of taking a photo that might be an exception. If the photog is endangering themselves or others, or creating a traffic problem, or is drunk or disorderly, than I would contact that person for those reasons, but not for simply taking a photo. It just makes no sense to interfere with members of the public doing what they legally have a right to do. Not only is it a waste of my time, but it isn’t what I was sworn to do in the first place. If anything I find myself siding with legitimate photogs who are simply doing what is in their rights to do. It is why we are in democratic societies, and why we actually benefit from the artistic abilities of the same photogs who are legally in a public place.
Look, and please understand, not all photographers do things the right ways. Yep, I have had some bad experiences with photographers who would wind up in and on private property without permission, and that always made things tougher on the remaining photogs who did things right by asking for and receiving permission to take their photos. But as most of you know, there are those kinds of people in virtually all professions. Some photographers pride themselves on never having to ask permission. I still hear that all the time, and I then think of all the other photographers who will have troubles getting permission to shoot photos on the private property based on what the “other photographer did.”
This commentary however, is largely based on my observations of reported incidents which relate to photographers who are legally in a public place, doing a legally permissible act of “taking photos.” Lets assume they are not disruptive etc (most are not), and just wanting to take a photo. Would I tell them “not to take that photo?” Nope, I can think of few reasons that would cause me to do something to interfere with the rights of the photographer since they are not creating havoc or disorderly activities. The simple act of taking a picture in a public place is not disorderly or disruptive.
In looking at my past in public policing, I may have approached a photographer however. I can see myself starting up a conversation about their equipment, or techniques, if the photographer had time to speak with me. Not only would I have left a good feeling with a photographer, but maybe I would have made a friend in the months and years ahead. In approaching the photographer and introducing myself, if the photographer did not have time (or had a desire) to speak with me, then I would go on about my business, someplace else. Telling anyone, who is legally in a public place, that they had to stop what they were legally doing are absolute nuts, unless there is something else occurring at the same time.
So, for those of you, who think that all of them (the police) are like those who are reported, then think again. If anything, members of your local police friends will likely find themselves on your side of an issue defending your right to take a photo in a public place. Happened to me at least a dozen times in my career, that someone who took a picture was definitely okay in doing so, and those who had accosted the photographer were in the wrong. Two of the people who accosted one photographer were taken into custody, and the photographer continued on his way, doing what they were legally entitled to do.
So, in my view, keep having fun out there in your public places. I’ll be out there with you, although mostly at night.
John D. Moore, CPP
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The feedback from the posting of the “One legged Gull,” image was quick in coming yesterday afternoon and evening. The initial image was taken in mid summer of 2006, and an additional image of the Gull was added to the web this morning.
The web link for the additional Gull image is located here:
The shot location is:
N48 14.285 W122 42.538
Monday, June 02, 2008
On one such occasion I noticed a number of Sea Gulls lined up along two sides of handrails on a northside Penn Cove Pier. There must have been 50 Gulls facing into the wind. One of the Gulls was separated by several feet from the mass of Gulls along one handrail, and I snapped a photo of as many of the Gulls as I could. Later when I begin to view the images on my laptop, I noticed that the Gull that was set apart from all the others only had one leg. I had witnessed that Gull fly up to the handrail and land on it, and nothing in way the Gull flew was any different than watching the other Gulls fly up to the Piers metal and wooden handrails.
After observing that the Gull had only one leg, I began to see this Gull a lot in the Penn Cove area. He was now easy to distinguish, as he was virtually always set apart form any other groups of Gulls that were present. I happened to mention this Seagull to my grandchildren, and they felt sorry for this Seagull because he was always “alone.”
I was not Biology major in my 7 years of College, nor do I consider myself as an expert in any matters at all related to animal/bird social practices. Yet, in this case, I did see that the one legged Gull was always apart from the other Gulls that had two legs.
I kinda got attached to this particular Gull, and in my
It’s been about a year since I have been to
So, if anyone happens to be in or around the north side of Penn Cove, on
Here is a photo taken one evening before sunset, and also the closest I ever saw that one legged Gull to any of the other Whidbey Island Gulls.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
The Artluck event was cosponsored by the Photography program at SFCC, as well as the Spokane Camera Club. Camera Club President Will Murray and I were the coordinators from the Spokane Camera Club, and from the reactions of the attendees and artists that I spoke with, they all felt that the event was very successful.
This event easily surpassed the attendance of the last two events, even if the attendance of the last two were counted together. I was pleased to see that and investing my time and website to help market/promote this event was well worth it. I’ll be happy to do it again for the next event, which we will try and do in November of this year.
Artluck is a great opportunity to meet artists and photographers who have common interests, as well as those who can spur you to try new techniques and methods. I think that we had 22 slide programs that we accepted for this event, including at least three high school students work, as well as some photography students from area colleges. These kids were all very talented people, and they can only get batter as the years add to their experience and skill levels.
Although there were a number of the artists that displayed great work, I found that photographer Kent Henderson and artist Erin Gibson were at the top of my list. I also liked the work of both Will and Barbara Murray (photography). In fairness and full disclosure, Erin Gibson is my daughter. How she can take out a pencil and piece of paper and draw like she does is an absolute amazement to me. Obviously she didn’t get that skill from my side of the family, but the more drawings she does, the better she gets. In looking at Kent Henderson’s photography, I also think that his demonstrable talent is evident now, but if he spends more time on his skills, look out. I spoke with
If I were to have any concerns at all about this months Artluck event, it is based on two issues. One, we are likely going to need a larger facility as we plan ahead. As more artists and their families/friends find out about this ongoing series of events, we are likely to get quite a crowd, even larger than we had at this month’s event. The other issue is the number of talented people in
I think that those of us who are coordinating these events will at some point, have to evaluate each submission/entry, so that we keep the evenings slide displays at or under two hours. Many of our attending photographers are from out of
For this month’s event, we did have to sort through a large number of programs submitted by students, and these kids made it really hard to choose the top programs for display. Yet, that is a task that coordinators have, and if we need to, we are prepared to do the same evaluations in November for the next event.
At Spokane Night Scenes, I get feedback from photographers, all the time. When I look at the work done by these people, I am really surprised that they did not submit their work for others to admire. I really hope that you photographers who have emailed me from either the website or this blog, will get you work together for us to show, in Novembers event.
For those of you, who are learning about this Artluck event for the first time, keep in touch with me and I’ll update you on the next event as we get closer to getting it off the ground.
If possible, I want to see if I can identify a weblink for you to look at the work of the artists that I have mentioned in this article.
I’ll see if the
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I made a photo trip into the Park this week, and I could instantly see the difference between our normal river flows, and the massive flow going on right now. We are told that we will be at or above flood stage for another week, and you can see that even when you set foot into the 104 acre
(This spot was dry a couple of days ago, http://www.spokanenightscenes.com/spotwasdry.htm)
The evening I made it into the park was almost as though I was there for a major event in downtown
If you have not witnessed this year’s water display, take a few minutes and head downtown and enjoy it. There was not much we could enjoy during the winter that lasted forever, but now Mother Nature is giving us an opportunity to enjoy the moisture that we received over the winter.
I plan on making one more trip today or tomorrow with my grandkids. I think that the power of the river will be an intimidating experience, but also a family outing in a beautiful community. I’ll take a tripod and one DSLR with me (Canon 40D), just in case something presents itself, but I’m more interested this time in how big the kids eyes get when they see the falls.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I got a surprise this morning, when my wife logged onto the National Geographic website, and she found one of my Spokane Night Scenes landscape images. I guess I do recall sending something to NatGeo some time ago, but I never looked back to see what might have happened with the image.
Ironically, the images that made their Landscape Gallery, was one of the images taken out of
I also noticed that NatGeo turned my landscape into a puzzle. I guess I’m not patient enough to do their puzzle, even though I know exactly where all the parts of the photo need to be. I’m probably going to pass on doing their puzzle, but its kinda fun to know they did that with my late night image.
That location was one of the darkest places I have been with the exception of
So, today has already been an interesting day, and it is some reinforcement that night photography can be something that is recognized….in plain old “regular spots.”
National Geographic has my image at:
It is the eighth one over to the right, I think. Their puzzle part of my image is in a section called, artfully, “puzzles.”
If you have trouble with the National Geographic display of my image, it is located locally at:
Sunday, May 11, 2008
It appears that my annual slowdown in night production is fast approaching. As it gets darker in
Normally it is September when things kick back into gear, and I’ll start lining up
I have in mind a couple more bridges, such as
Redo the Campbell House, and three shots from/of the
Some of the earlier shots of locations in
I have talked with several friends from the Spokane Camera Club, and we are going to embark on some painting with light projects. We have three different locations in mind, although I think it is a fair statement that I will keep that mum until we get those locations completed. Once again, I think those will be fall projects. One of the photographers is itching to experiment with these locations, so we might do it this summer…I’ll have to see if I can be talked into shooting that late. Fun for one, is not necessarily fun for all…….
I need to line up more regional shots. Although I will still spend time in my usual photowalk areas, I know there are other locations that should be captured. There is one regional location where I was denied permission to visit with my cameras (Mt St Michaels), but I know there are others that will say yes.
When I was denied permission to photograph Mt St Michaels, I have had some other photographers tell me that the just went up there and took pictures without asking permission. One person said that they never asked for permission because they didn’t think they needed it. Even though Mt St Michaels denied me permission to photograph at their location, I respect that decision, and asking permission is ALWAYS the right thing to do (on private property).
If anyone can think of anything I can visit with the camera gear, just send me an email. I’d love to give it a visit to see what it is that captured your eye.
Monday, May 05, 2008
The onslaught continues, sorta.
Today I found three more of my images magically appearing on other websites, including one of my images in which they left my plainly visible copyright, on the image. Nonetheless, my images were being used by others. The websites that I found today, are photo websites, in which there are rules and declarations that the work posted is their own, and not owned by someone else. Amazing, these folks all signed on to this web service and agreed to add only their own images.
One of the websites showed 8 of my images all built into a collage, along with some basketball photographs from the Gonzaga basketball team. This person really did a nice job with my images, but they most certainly missed the first requirement.
I contacted the web service and they removed all of my images from the sites owned by the people that took the images. They did it directly, and very promptly, and their effort is much appreciated.
Yet, this is indicative of something. Rather than describing what I really think, I can at least describe the taking of my images as “unethical.”
Last year I dealt with 10 of these issues, all which were on commercial websites. I invoiced each of the unauthorized users, and I got a 100% return of payment for the images used. That isn’t the point, and when I hear (or read) the excuses used, it is absolutely amazing to me.
I am not that difficult to get in touch with, if someone wants to negotiate use rights for an image, or for multiple images. Yet, that is the right way to do things, and it seems oh so much easier to just take what they want, anytime they feel like it. Honesty? Ethical? Do they even know the meaning of the words?
At least the web service (Photobucket) dealt with the individual use of my images very promptly and I thank them for that. I will NOT be contacting those that took my images directly. They would not likely understand anything that I would say, and ethics and honesty must be in a class they never attended when they went to school.
Monday, April 28, 2008
The next couple of weeks involve shooting at northside locations, in
Next on the list this week, is the Spokane VA Medical Center. When I went to Joe Albi Stadium this weekend with one of my twin grand daughters, it became apparent that the VA Center might be a great target for a night shoot. I just got off the phone with their Public Affairs director, and their location is on for this week.
Speaking of these three northside locations, it brings to mind, one thing. Ask permission FIRST, before stomping on to someone’s PRIVATE property and going to work with your cameras. That might be a no brainer to most people; it is also the ethical and professional way to address shooting on somebody else’s turf. For those of us who actually enjoy photography, it can be a major disappointment when someone (Staff or security) approach you and tell you to put the camera away. Quite frankly, you missed the first step, and that was “ask permission first.” You may not have any problem at all if on a public place when you shoot, but if you are going on “their turf,” then ALWAYS ASK FIRST.
Not as many people shoot at night, and are not as wacky as my wife thinks I am. So appearing on somebody’s property with a camera may do you (and any future photographers) no good at all. If you are on a public space and not on private property, then you should not have trouble.
There is one other issue, which may also be a no brainer to many of you. If you are shooting at a hospital, and on “their property,” proceed with caution when photographing patients, staff or any people at all. Think about it, and the last time you or someone in your family was ill. Yep, the last thing you would want is for a person with two cameras shooting pictures of you in a time of family crisis. Privacy is important, and for ethical people, you can get what you need without disturbing people who are ill.
If this is overkill on this topic, it does not bother me a bit to keep talking about ethics and the “right way to do things.” For photographers who want to go about it some other way, you can skip this entire section.
Perhaps a side benefit for doing things the “right way,” is that magically the interest in what you are doing will increase, sometimes dramatically. Spokane Night Scenes went from an average of 600 hits a day two years ago, to 2200 hits a day and currently increasing each month in 2008. Arguably, people might just agree that those of us who live here live in a beautiful place. It is also possible that all of the contacts and friends you have made as you contact property owners might continue to visit you, long after you completed your on location photo shoot on their property.
Years ago, back in my police days, I had little empathy for the people I found without permission on somebody else’s property. Granted, most of them were burglars or other types of thief. Those people were most likely there to steal cameras, and not use them. Yet, for those of us involved in photography for reasons determined by us, and enjoyable, just ASK PERMISSION first. In a case where you are denied permission, then you might think about getting what you need from a public space and not going on private property at all. Or, just bag it, and move on to something else. Have fun, and find something else to shoot. Sometimes there are days like that when you get a NO for an answer. It won’t happen often, but it does happen. Life is kinda like that…..
Last weeks shots are not totally edited, but some of the Northtown and Holy Family shots are online. I’ll check with the GM at Northtown and schedule another visit back there.
Try this URL for thumbnail access to the larger 80% resolution images. The newer images are located at the bottom.
Upcoming shoots involve some fairly extensive painting with light projects. If I can get enough help, we might try to “paint” David Govedares work at
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Painting with light
One of the things I have wanted to play with has been painting with light. First, you need darkness, and also flashlights and colored gels. Although darkness comes later each night (finally), the photographed spot has to be really dark with limited ambient light.
I chose the Olmstead Overlook, which is west of todays
I set up to shoot a series of images using the Canon 40d, on a tripod. The images were taken at various settings, but all were timed exposures. The fastest exposure was at thirty seconds, and the slowest images taken were at the BULB setting at close to 5 minutes.
One series of images was facing north, in the totally dark environment. There was a little light left an hour after sunset, but other than that, nothing. I set up one shot at 30 seconds, at F11. While the exposure was in progress, I painted the right side wall with Lumiquest Gels (BLUE), and a strong flashlight. I took the next shot, painting the left side of the area in red, and then the pathway in green. All of the shots were thirty seconds. It got so dark after another twenty minutes that shots of around 5 minutes had to be used so that the forms of the rock walls could be seen.
Today I began to look at the series of images taken from last nights shoot. The colors were fairly well identified in the shots using the colored gels, so I added the red, green, and blue shots together to get something which lit up the pathway that was almost totally dark. The shot was cropped to eliminate some dark foreground, and too much sky. What I wound up with looks like something with a lot of drama (color), in an area I could hardly believe I was standing in. The area was dark, but with the flashlight illumination and the colored gels, the impact of painting the left and right walls with different colors (different shots each) the final form of colors really changed things.
I was thinking of using amber gels, but I’m glad I didn’t since the backdrop (Office depot walls) were illuminated by High Pressure Sodium streetlights.
I’m going to work on this “painting with light” some more, and another night visit to the Olmstead Overlook is definitely in order. This area is likely not to have been visited by a lot of people, but if it were rehabbed, I think it would be. It does get noisy with cars and trucks from the freeway, but this is quite an area to visit.
John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Wow, it’s still cold out there at night. Yep, cold, windy, and on most occasions…dark. Dressing for the conditions is still the most fundamental step in night photography, but one would think it has got to get warmer around here eventually.
Recent activities for Spokane Night Scenes has been the
So what is left to shoot? I’ve heard it recently, that I have already shot about everything there is around town. Not so fast, methinks. The reality of looking at things through the lens of a camera is that things change, every day. You can go back to the exact location 5 days in a row, and there will be something different each time you go there. Change the time of day, and the time of the year, and you can literally shoot forever with all the different views, in exactly the same community.
Lately I am dealing with a new DSLR (Canon 40D), and I am also retiring a good one (Canon 350D). My secondary camera that I take with me each night is a Canon 400D (XTI), and I think the options available to me now are getting a lot more plentiful. The 40D camera is easily a good piece of hardware, although I wish I had thought to switch the noise reduction features ON, in my most recent outing. I shoot at somewhere around 1 second exposures, through lengthy bulb exposures, normally at F8 to F11. Almost always, I use the lowest ISO, and with Canon cameras that is 100. So, even though I forgot to set the noise reduction for my lengthy exposures this week, I was able to reduce the noise in post photographic editing. I have enabled those features on the Canon 40D now, so next time out I can concentrate on what I am shooting.
This week, images were shot with an 18-200 lens, as well as a wide angled 11-18 (both Tamron). I normally shoot with wide angle on the Canon XTI camera, and flex the choices of glass on the other camera.
In upcoming weeks, I will begin shooting up on the north side, most likely in the area of Northtown. I have spoken with Mall management about shooting after dark, although I really have no clue as to what might render itself to being presentable yet. One thing for sure, every time out with some cameras, is a good time indeed. I’m just hoping that things start feeling like Spring in
Apparently Spokane Night Scenes has really acquired a viewer following, with an average of 2200 hits each day coming in from the statistics server. Amazing, I think. I think that what is happening is that Spokanites are beginning to see what their community looks like after dark.
Enjoy some of the new photos, most of which can be linked from at:
John D. Moore, CPP
Monday, March 03, 2008
The target for this night was the area in, and around,
Approaching from the east, I took images of a sculpture on the south side of the street across from the ER, but the peripheral lighting (high pressure sodium), really removed any color at all of the sculpture. I shot a number of images at the ER area, but so far nothing really appeared of any value.
East of the main entrance at
I found a parking lot on the west side of the
Of the night, I am guessing that the statue at the entrance to
If you are monitoring any of these images, you can go to the thumbnails at:
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sure, it is a place that everyone in
I had taken about 200 or so images at a variety of locations, and was headed back another mile to where I parked my vehicle for the evenings photo shoot. I walked eastbound, on the walking path just south of the US Pavilion. I noticed the hole in the side of the south side roof, which apparently allows rain/water runoff from the Pavilions roof area. I had stomped around on top of the roof surface for a couple hours during a security survey I had done of
When I got close to the wall, I noticed what I had been unable to see from the
I set up one of the cameras (Canon 400D), and leaned the tripod in to freeze its position against the Pavilion wall. There were so many wires above running one way or the other, and the only way to eliminate them from the shot even slightly was to lean up against the wall for the shot. The lights were green, and began to transition to gold…and it was beginning to look amazing on the surface of the roof as well as the colors from above. Wires or not, I had to take the shots. I shot as often as I could (RAW+JPEG), in the frozen position of the camera, as the light on the roof changed from gold to almost completely green. Wow, it wasn’t something I had seen before, even when I was stomping around on the Pavilion roof during my last Park security survey.
In post photo editing, I combined the lightest image that I could, with two images that were substantially darker, so I could lighten up the darkest spots on the roof, as well as tone down the bright lights from above. I shot images at ¼, through 8 seconds of exposure, using ISO 100, at F 11 (wireless remote). I could do nothing about all of the overhanging wires, but what you see is what the site revealed that evening. I thought about spending a day or two trying to remove all of the wires, but I got what I was after that night, some great colors.
It is always amazing, when you can capture green as it turns into gold. Yep, absolutely amazing.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I lined up two targets for an evening and after dark shoot this week. Bad news was that each of those locations was covered in so much snow and ice that I just began to walk around the west end of downtown, to search out locations which were easier to get to.
Finding other locations was not too difficult, although getting close to the
The water level was at it’s lowest level in quite some time, and it must only be a few more days when the dam unleashes the annual “monster flow,” downstream. I shot about 100 images in this area, before moving up and onto the streets around
Of the shots taken on that evening, I settled on perhaps 6 images of the 250, to present online. That figure is actually not a complete record of the shots used, since as many as 5 images were combined in layers, to generate one complete shot. Shooting as wide open as I can, allows for dark areas to become lighter, and at the other end of the scale, shooting a very short exposure helps control the light emission levels. Putting those images together allows for a lot more uniformity in levels which might otherwise be too dark or too light.
In deep snow, balancing the platform for timed exposures can be a little tricky. There are times (about half) when the camera is actually tilted to the side of the tripod, simply because the ice is so high beneath the tripod. In the end, the images are level….and the tripod provides much needed stability in inclement weather and very low light.
I think I added at least 6 images to the website.
Monday, January 28, 2008
This weekend Google search decided to find thumbnails of my images which had been featured on Spokane Night Scenes. As I began to click though my images, they began to appear on sites owned by Spokane Realtors. That came as quite a surprise to me, since none of these realtors had any agreements with Spokane Night Scenes, to use any of our copyrighted images.
After accumulating 5 realtors that had used my images, I went back to Google search and on my first screen up popped a Spokane Law Firm, which featured prominently one of my images. Yep, you guessed it, no agreement or contract.
After 31 years in the policing business, it comes as no great surprise to me that “some people steal.” I have witnessed first hand, thefts of a variety of kinds, and now I am seeing them once again. Digital thefts are a bit different, but all in all, they are the same thing…taking something that does not belong to you.
Photographers speak about copyrights, and believe me; those conversations are many and frequent. In theory, copyrights begin from the date of creation, with or without filing/registering the copyright at the Library of Congress. In my case, I have registered my digital images with the Library of Congress. Not really to hard to do, just fill out the paperwork, generate thumbnails on a printed sheet, and two CD’s with the protected images. Write a check for 45 bucks, and send it off to the Library of Congress.
So, are copyrights even relevant anymore? I mean, do they actually offer protection from a digital thief, who decides to turn your work into something that they want to use for “their project.” Just this weekend, I found 6 examples of my images appearing on a variety of commercial websites. I must admit, my images looked great on these links, although I am sure that I am slightly biased…. In fact, I would gladly have let these companies use the images that they obviously wanted to use. I would have done so, after reaching an agreement with them, and invoicing them for their use on their websites.
It must be easier to just take whatever you want, any time you want it. My images are all a part of an ongoing documentary of the community I live in, and I have displayed images on the Spokane Night Scenes website. I know we live in a beautiful place, and as I have mentioned before, I have a lot to be thankful for in this community. Yet, ethics seem to at least be lacking when my copyrighted images are taken and used, without any permissions or agreements.
It costs me a lot of money each year for my membership in the Better Business Bureau, and as I run my Security Management business I know I would never present to my clients something that I did not have ownership of. Is that just old fashioned? I mean, is it old fashioned to “not want to take something that did not belong to you?” Further, is it old fashioned to not want to “present the material taken, as your own?” You know, I don’t know. I gladly pay my dues to the Spokane Better Business Bureau, and I pay my business taxes, and all of the other relevant costs associated with running my business. Only to find other
I guess in the real world, it would be nice if things were not this way, but I guess of all the people in
My son and I talked about it a little yesterday, and as a deputy prosecutor he gave me his take on the issue, and we both chuckled a little. So, this morning I began sending out notifications to the offending businesses, along with billing them for using my materials. I have placed them on notice, that absent payment, I will see them inside a courtroom in
Then again, maybe I am just old fashioned.
Stay tuned. I know I will be asked to identify the “borrowers of my work,” and I guess that is still an option. On the other hand, I am happy that they like what I do, enough to use the photographs. They just need to pay first, and then use…..
Thursday, January 17, 2008
In the past 5 years, I have averaged 3-4 contacts (yearly) with small groups of people who are “looking for
One interesting group was searching for
After my initial meeting with
Back in my years at Spokane PD, I had responded to calls about lots of mysterious noises, and suspicious incidents. I had never encountered anything paranormal, including at several of the locations that these small groups of ghost hunters were visiting. Each evening that I happened to meet with the ghost hunters, I enjoyed listening to some of their reports about spirits and haunted
All in all, these nighttime experiences have been fun, along with the actual capture of images at whatever
Here are some of the locations I met the groups.
I don’t know if any of the groups ever “found anything,” but every group sure enjoyed what they were doing.