Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Patriotic and totally fun year with Honor Flight

This year was one of the busiest years with a camera in hand, which I have ever had. At the same time, I can say with pleasure that it was the most fun year I have EVER had with a camera.

Inland Northwest Honor Flight began flying WWII Veterans to Washington DC in April of 2010, and I asked to be a part of their effort. My idea was to document each day of the veterans Honor Flight experience in digital images, and then provide each veteran and his/her family with a video (integrated DVD slideshow) of the entire three day experience. My idea was graciously accepted by Tony Lamanna, who heads the Inland Northwest Honor Flight project.

My next step, now that I was on the hook, was to take a look at local highly skilled photographers, and invite them to commit to helping me photograph the entire Honor Flight event which occurred each month for the entire year. I was very successful in attracting great regional photographers, and in total we have averaged ten Honor Flight photographers over the course of the year (since April). This bunch was not just good with their cameras, but extremely reliable in every way possible. We always had someone to fill in when one of the HF photogs was unable to make a shoot because of work, illness, or vacation. The beneficiaries of the HF crew labors were the WWII veterans and their families.

The Honor Flight process involves a morning departure from GEG on day one, and a visit to the military/war memorials in Washington DC on day two. On day 3, the WWII veterans and their guardians (usually family members) fly back to GEG for a show unlike anything they have ever seen. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people show up for the Honor Flight returns, and there are bands playing, flags waving, and tears flowing. Patriotic bedlam is the term I use for this show, and when the veterans pass the last TSA checkpoint and see the masses, they break into tears. In the beginning (April) the photogs also broke down in tears, and it might still happen…if certain members “fess up.” Yet we learned where to be, to document every important part of the three day event, so that we were there to “catch the moments.” Tears, cheers, and smiles, we wanted to be there for them all.

To our knowledge, there are no other Honor Flight Hub locations in the United States (there are several hubs like Spokane is) that shoot the entire three days, and then turn around and produce a video for each and every participant, every single time an Honor Flight is scheduled. The videos are produced by me, in my office, after I get the edited images from each photog, of each portion of their 3 day shoot. In April, the videos began at about 24 minutes, and in November, the video ran just over an hour. Videos (DVDs) are formatted for viewing on the veteran’s television/DVD player at home. Many are not computer savvy, and we wanted to make this as easy as possible for each of them. All videos are synched with background music, and without fail, families cry when they watch them. We call this result, “happy tears.”

Every photographer who has ever participated in their first Honor Flight is hooked on the project. Our “merry band of photogs,” has never had this much fun with a camera, for any project…let alone a community service undertaking of this size. Some months require 3-4 shoots at GEG, beginning with Southwest Airlines departure schedules. Some shoots have been accomplished as late as 10:30 PM (for a late arrival of a veteran who suffered a heart attack in DC), and almost all departures from GEG are at 10:30AM. Photogs get to GEG at or near 0830 to start the departure shoot (usually done by noon), and at least two hours before the arrivals on day 3. Some shooters have to accompany the veterans through TSA, and also onto the aircraft to shoot the departures. On arrivals, one photog has to be at the aircraft door when it opens and as the veterans deplane. Almost all other shooters are out in the crowds shooting virtually everything they can capture. The tears and cheers and bands start playing just as the first WWII veteran makes the last turn into the lobby area. It’s hard to keep that many people quiet, but we found it can be done. Many incoming passengers from other airlines refuse to leave the airport until after the veterans come off their plane, and military members from all branches of service show up, in uniform, for the arrivals. Incredible, every single time is all we photogs can say about all of this. None of us have ever seen that many US flags waving in any airport, let alone our own.

2011 will bring another year of Honor Flights from GEG, and each of the photogs is having “Honor Flight withdrawals.” We do not fly again until April, as we did this year, so we have a few months off. Then the photographic fun starts again.

Our slate of Honor Flight photographers includes myself and;

Josh Burdick, photographer
Ron Trees, photographer
Greg Hustad, photographer
Kevin Liechty, photographer
Robert Chiappe, photographer
Mike McNab, photographer (normally shoots day 2 activities)
Stephanie Yanuszeski, photographer
Kent Henderson, photographer
Annette Barton, photographer
Danielle Maldonado, photographer

I have added one more photographer as a result of working with her at the Northwest North Pole Adventures shoot a week or so ago. She requested to become a part of the photography team after the Honor Flight photographers were mentioned at the children’s recent North Pole event at GEG. Carol Trost will begin shooting with us in April, 2011 for the first Southwest Airlines departure of the year for our veterans and family members (guardians).

Yes, all of this takes each photographer a lot of time. Not just shooting, but scheduling your day/week/month, to be available for the three day experience. Editing takes time, and quickly choosing at least 60 edited images apiece for the video takes time. Producing the video can be mind numbing, but each video from an individual flight has to be in the hands of the families before the next Honor Flight begins.

Information on Inland Northwest Honor Flight is available at:

Photography for sale to each veteran and their family is also now available online at:

Some of our WWI veterans have passed away before they were able to make their scheduled Honor Flight. Yet, for those who are able to make their flight, the value of having highly skilled photographers there to capture their event, will last their families a lifetime.

Is it all worth it?

You have no idea how satisfying all of this is to every single photographer. If we do nothing else with our camera systems, we know we can capture the smiles and tears of the WWII veterans who made our existence today possible.

Merry Christmas everyone.

John D. Moore, CPP
Photography coordinator
Inland Northwest Honor Flight

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A low light Christmas, at the North Pole

I had the opportunity to photograph Northwest North Pole Adventures (Spokane Fantasy Flight) this December. A few of my friends who are highly experienced in shooting low light images also shot this event, which was a superb event for homeless or underprivileged children.

An extensive amount of planning goes into this event, and the 2010 event was administered by Steve Paul, CEO of Northwest North Pole Adventures . A total of 64 children made the “trip,” to the North Pole, courtesy of Alaska Airlines. This is a marathon day for us photogs, and doing the treadmill for an hour every day sis nothing to prevent the pain in the quads the next day. The only way to shoot this event was to get down to the level of the children, and it was very well worth the experience…and the minor pain for a day afterward. I shot about 1200 images (CR2), and after editing I sent 197 image files (JPEG) to use for the children and for any purpose determined by Steve.

The event organizers are top notch people, and all of their efforts this Christmas season was evident. For those of you who have never heard of the Spokane Fantasy Flight, drop in on their website and see what good people can accomplish (with a lot of work).

So, not all of my low light imaging has to be done outside, but inside the large hanger at GEG which literally became the North Pole. Some tripod use was required, and a ton of direct flash photography for the activities of the children. ISO’s ranging from 100 to 1600, and two camera bodies (11 X 18mm, and 18 X 200mm).

This event was a tad unusual for all of us shooters, as we were all dressed as elves for the entire marathon day. I distinctly had the feeling of wearing PJ’s for the entire day, and this actually added to the importance of why we were shooting pictures at GEG and then on the other side of the runway at the North Pole.

Take a look at some of the videos from North Pole events of the past, so you can see the looks in the children’s eyes when they get on the aircraft for the short flight to the North Pole. Here are a few links to some short videos:

2009 Spokane Fantasy Flight - Event review

2009 Spokane Fantasy Flight - Elf Tribute

2009 Spokane Fantasy Flight - Donors & Sponsors

Merry Christmas everyone,

From JOMO the Camera Elf at the North Pole.

The ethics of stealing whatever you want

For four years in a row, I begin to see some very strange URLs and IP addresses on my website at This is the season, after all, where it becomes ethical to steal online images from anyone who displays them. Am I the only one who gets their images taken? No, not hardly.

Last year I worked through some issues with Gonzaga University, as I found some of the Gonzaga images on the same sites as mine were being displayed unlawfully. The year before, it was the same issue, with all of the usual suspects. I called GU staff to let them know where I found their images, and then I began approaching the sites that took my work.

Several years ago, I went after 11 local commercial abuses of the images I own, and I remember some real strange phone calls I had with violators. A few would not return my calls, but those who did told me they got permission to use my work. Interesting, I thought at the time. So, who told you it was okay I asked? Well, we don’t know, but somebody told me I could use anything I found as long as it was on the web. 5 Spokane realtors used almost the exact same defense of their use, although what is not surprising is that they all worked for the same company locally. Then there was a local law firm who blamed it on their web designer, and the web designer who blamed it on their law firm. Guess who their law firm was? Yep, you guessed it.

I tired of making the phone calls, and just started billing the 11 abusers, and the checks started coming in after that. First to be delivered was the one from the law firm, and they were a little worried. Last to hit my PO Box was the collection from the web designer, who was unemployed thereafter from their work at the law firm. 11 violations, 11 payments.

The common denominator for all of these things is that “someone told me it was okay.” Next most popular abuse defense is “well, it isn’t my fault that your images are on my web site.” Oh really? Let’s see here, and then whose fault would it be? Answer, “well, I don’t know, but it isn’t mine.” My answer, well okay, just PAY me. After all of these abuses, I was hoping I could find a few more abuses as my system was working pretty well.

So, in 2010 there does not seem to be as much local abuse. In fact it has been 90% outside the area, including outside the country. Harder to settle up with abusers, so maybe there is another way.

For the URL’s and IP addresses that I read and review on my website stat logs, I can read who has my images, and then go right to the site to see their destination. Singapore, China, Russia, UK, and on the list goes. There are travel displays, news displays, college displays (Gonzaga U, U of Washington, U of Alabama), including law schools. All of these instances are third party abusers and not affiliated with the schools or law school. Yet, abuse is still abuse…and there are no contracts for such web use.

So, I am continuing my approach of tagging my images blatantly so they are readily identified as being stolen (copyright infringement). Takes a couple of minutes, but soon these abusers will be displaying my images, and every visitor to their site will see the images were taken without permission. Really terrible that I would have the gall to tag my images displayed on THEIR website. Bah humbug methinks…..

You need to be a little careful as you browse through your websites statistics database. As you see these URLs which have taken your image, some of these sites are also ATTACK websites. Simply put, these websites will attempt to install software onto YOUR computer by clicking through or past the opening screen. Some of the abuser websites will try and hit your computer just by clicking on the URL.

I will display some of the websites that seem to have problems in actually using a copyrighted image legally. Some of them do not have the copyright modification on them yet, but I’ll get around to doing that tomorrow. Let the embarrassment begin for those who want to take my images and use them for whatever purposes.

I’ll spare you from seeing the two porn websites that are displaying some of my images from Riverfront Park, and the two travel sites that I may be able to go after for payment. If it isn’t one thing, it is another.

News Gratis
Gonzaga Basketball schedule

Clear Airway

Electronic News

World Cities
There are also some companies that allegedly will “search the web,” for your images. I was curious so I joined one of them (ImageRights). They are supposedly searching for 588 images of mine, and in 6 months they have found NONE. In that time, I found around 25 just by reviewing who visits my website.

Merry Christmas everyone.

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes

Monday, August 30, 2010

Night shooters, the Spokane night photography season has commenced

Night shooters, the season has commenced

At least for me.

I spent two evenings in RFP shooting the 2010 Indian Pow Wow, and I scheduled those shoots for the evening dance schedules. This event has been on my schedule for the past 4 years, and 2010’s version was the first time I shot it at sunset. A total blast.

As the sun began to set on the first night, I was joined by Josh Burdick for the evening. Josh is a terrific shooter, and is also one of the great technical photogs that shoot with us for all of the Honor Flights that leave GEG each month. That program involves about ten or eleven very good photogs, and our impact on the WWII veterans and their families has been well established. More on Honor Flight, on another occasion.

On the first night of the Spokane Pow Wow, Josh and I shot the opening ceremonies, and then wandered through the park as it got dark. The Ferris Wheel was inactive, and suffering mildly from half the rides lights being out. I asked the RFP employee if she would turn the ride on for us so we could get the lights in motion, and capture the profile in the process. She gladly offered to help out, and I was able to shoot two strings of images, about 30 minutes apart. The Ferris Wheel was able to create the circular pattern I wanted, even though only half the lights were lit that evening. When the camera is viewing with a timed exposure, the turning lights make it appear that ALL of the Ferris Wheel lights were illuminated. Josh shot a different angle of the turning Ferris Wheel, but neither of us could have gotten any shots without the nice young lady running the ride that evening.

Ferris Wheel adjacent to the Sugar Shack

On the second evening in RFP, I was joined at the Pow Wow by my wife Cheryl. She tends to not hang out with me normally when I spend hours out in wacko conditions throughout the fall and winter months. Someone in my family has some common sense….but on this evening occasion she came out when the cameras were also on my shoulders. After Pow Wow opening ceremonies on their final 2010 evening schedule, we wandered the park as Josh and I had done the evening before.

We headed to the area of the Post Street bridge to inspect any changes in the flow of the Spokane River as a result of Avista’s test on the modifying the base of the north river channel. As I set up my equipment for a Monroe Street bridge shot, some passersby recommended another location for me to take my cameras. I wasn’t very happy with what was in my rear screen viewer anyhow, so off we went to the area of the Canada Island footbridge recommended by the earlier passersby.

Cheryl found some shots she liked, so I l set them up, and took several image series at different locations.

Post Street bridge, looking west

Washington Water Power Upper Falls Power building
(SE corner of the Canada Island Footbridge).

What we noticed from the Canada Island Footbridge was exactly as we had been told by the earlier passersby. Water was almost totally absent from the north river channel. I shot that scene, but as of this writing it is not uploaded to the web yet. Later today, or perhaps tomorrow.

At any rate, it is ON now, and I’ll hit the streets twice a week to see about reshooting some older shots at local targets. I won’t begin taking out small groups of night shooters until later in September, but I’ll start now with two hours in the evening schedules set aside for night shoots, twice a week.

Interested in joining up with my night groups? I can add you to the night shooters email list. Targets aplenty, throughout Spokane.

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes

Friday, May 14, 2010

Honoring the honorable

The first few days of May 2010, I was involved in coordinating a photo shoot for Inland Northwest Honor Flight ( at Spokane International Airport (GEG). Spokane photographers Leland Hoffman, Josh Burdick, Palmer Halvorson, and Greg Hustad joined in the effort to document the Honor Flight effort for WWII Veterans. Without exception, each of the photographers who participated in this great project loved every minute we could spend documenting the departure and arrival ceremonies of 37 WWII Veterans on Honor Flight. We have already added two more very good photographers to that list, and they will shoot for their first Honor Flight in June.

This program is exceptional, and the goal of the project is superb. Getting US military Veterans who served in WWII back to see the WWII Memorial and other military memorials built to honor them, before they die.

How is it possible for a small group of Spokane photographers to contribute, in some way, to these WWII veterans? Our thoughts are to document each minute of the time the Veterans spend over the three days they spend as honored guests of Honor Flight. Following the photography efforts, each photographer chooses photographs that they have taken, to become part of a video/slide record of the Honor Flight experience. For our first effort earlier this month, we presented a DVD program to Honor Flight organizers for each veteran, and their families. The DVD video creation lasted 27:30 (278 slides), and began as the Veterans arrived at GEG on their first day, and finished upon the Veterans departure from the airport after they arrived back home on their third day. The onsite documentation in Washington DC was done by Mike McNab, who also happens to be one of the Honor Flight organizers.

As family members, sponsors and Veterans all begin to see the photos on the video; the tears are going to be plentiful yet memorable. The Spokane photographers began to see these tears as the Veterans began to arrive at the airport with their families. After their flight home to Spokane, the Veterans were greeted (totally shocked) by literally hundreds of local people, hundreds of flags (large and small), and a local band playing in their honor. All of this was happening inside the confines of Spokane International Airport, at 9PM for this particular Honor Flight.

Just photographing this event for the Honor Flight Veterans consisted of quite a few photographic challenges. The lighting levels at the airport, movement of Veterans constantly, dealing with airport security requirements (TSA), cabin crew needs on-board the SWA aircraft and many more such issues were handled by the photographers. Learning the entire Honor Flight process, and having photographers in the right places at the right time, made for some great photographs. Getting through security after being cleared by Southwest Airlines managers and TSA took time away from photography. Yet, as we learned the ropes of the airport process with all of our equipment, Honor Flight went without any major hitches. Each of the Spokane photographers feels that this Honor Flight event is “addictive.” Once you are around these WWII Veterans and their families, the total enjoyment of what we are doing for the veterans is almost instantaneous. The photographers collectively feel that participating in Honor Flight was the most fun they have ever had with a camera. The fact that this is a technically challenging photographic community service project make it even more fun than originally anticipated.

Spokane photographers who wish to participate in the Honor Flight project (future flights), should send their names and email addresses to me. Feel free to go to the Inland Northwest Honor Flight website, for details on how the Honor Flight process works. If you wish to not participate, but there is a WWII Veteran in your family (or a friend), consider signing them up with the forms provided by Honor Flight. I have schedules for June and July, and they are preparing for a new Honor Flight during each month through the end of the year.

If you jump on this community service project, it will be something you will never forget. I'm not going to give you all those details, and spoil it for you. Within 5 minutes of shooting at Spokane International Airport, you'll know exactly what I mean.

John D. Moore, CPP
Community Outreach Chairman
Spokane Camera Club

Spokane Night Scenes

Monday, April 19, 2010

6 Spokane Photographers, 6 nights, 6 different days

For the past weekends night shoot, we totaled 12 photogs. There were three noshows, but we continually looked for them to get them to the group location. I did post one image of mine online so the Spokane Parks Foundation could use it:

It was a great night for the photogs, and there was a lot of outside the box photography accomplished. So much so, we drained the batteries on at least two of the Big Max flashlights. Yet, the painting with color went well.

That is it for the large group activities until Fall, I think. I am planning a few other type activities though, although there is no date for them yet.

One activity will include 6 photographers, shooting for 6 nights, on 6 different days/occasions. 6 is the bottom/minimal number of photographers, and I may add a few more people. There are lotsa targets locally, but I'll ask each of the photogs who participate in this to select at least two of their own. Lots of other stuff will be happening, mostly in the Fall months.

It's early yet, but if you wish to be one of the 6 photogs for the "outside the box night shoot," let me know. Lots for us to work out on that gig, but doing something different seems to be appropriate. Fun? Yep, a requirement for anyone who participates on this 6 night project. Want details? Don't ask, as this is evolving. I'm not a fan of 6 nights in a row however, especially with some of our folks having day jobs. So, if interested, get in touch and I will work through the details as they get decided.

Thanks to all of you night shooters. A lot was accomplished by many of you this season. Lots more stuff coming.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Olmstead Overlook, a Spokane night photo shoot

This week’s plan was to take out a group of photographers for a night shoot, with my target being the Olmstead Overlook. This historical landmark at 3rd and Arthur is in disrepair, with ruins and rock walls which are falling down. Yet, this is a place that had its prime, until Interstate 90 split Liberty Park basically in 2 parts.

In 2006/2007 I visited this park area, with some older equipment, and shot a series of images of the rock wall walkway. It is just plainly different than anything around here, and capturing what used to be seemed important. As a result, last night I gathered 12 photographers for a night shoot at this same location.

Many of the photographers were very experienced, and it helped with a few of my group that were not so advanced. As it got darker and darker, the questions from our less experienced folks were perfect for their learning experience. The more times those photographers go out and shoot these very dark nights, the better they will get.

Since this area is replete with rocks and rock walls, it was my goal to shoot with a variety of colored lighting elements. “Painting with light,” can take an area which is less interesting, and make it very pronounced. Our group of twelve worked in shifts to run the lighting (Big Max handheld flashlights with colored lenses), and to also run the cameras for the photogs who had to be in a separate location. This concept worked fairly well, although the choreography for lighting and shooting with a dozen people needed some “fine tuning.”

As we worked through the evening, two of us burned so much power from our Big Max units, that those units were essentially dead. It came at the end of the shoot however, so we were all able to collect all of our gear and “hit the road.”
I made a suggestion to the group, that if they had any “keepers,” that perhaps the photographers would donate an image or two to the Spokane Parks Foundation (SPF). SPF does a wonderful job locally for Spokane Parks, and if our photographers can help them in their efforts we are glad to so. I sent SPF a link to a low resolution image I added to my website, in case it is something that would be useful to them.

The link to this image from last night is located at:

This shoot was likely to be the last group activity until Fall. It is darker much later now, and my preference is to not keep all of these people out late into the night. I’ll likely still be going out after dark to grab shots, but I won’t ask larger groups of photogs to have to do that.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spokane Night Scenes on Twitter

After some recent requests from several night photogs, I took the leap and set up an account on Twitter. The account is set up as "spokanenights" Or in Twitter lingo @spokanenights

Designed for short updates, it might actually be helpful in short contacts to night photogs and others about night shoot details. It may also be helpful in doing some local marketing of Spokane, based on the evolving photographs taken of the city after dark over at Spokane Night Scenes.

If you are a Twitter user, I'll certainly welcome you over @spokanenights

We live in a beautiful place, and if Twitter can help show off our community via my photographs, I am good with doing that.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Update for Olmstead Overlook photo shoot

Today I had requests for images, which may be taken during this upcoming photo shoot this weekend. The Spokane Parks Foundation (Toni) would like to use any images that you would care to donate (with photo credits to you). They would like to use images for marketing, as well as on Facebook and in slide programs. A number of photographers have donated (community service) images to the Spokane Parks Foundation for a number of years. The images you take are yours, and remain so, even if you grant the Spokane Parks Foundation limited use for their marketing. If you would like to let them use any images, please send them to me for inclusion on a DVDR for the Parks Foundation.

The night shoot for Saturday is after sunset on Saturday the 17th of April (7:30PM). Feel free to visit the venue before sunset, but my target for the group is to shoot after sunset on Saturday evening. It may be possible to get some sunset images a little earlier than the kickoff of this, so feel free if you are so inclined. Please read my prior comments on issues related to safety, before we head out this weekend. I have spent so many years dealing with security management issues, that I tend to emphasize those.

Thanks everyone. I have heard from 6 or 7 people today, but please RSVP as soon as you can.


John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes
PO Box 18715
Spokane, Wa. 99228-0715


Monday, April 12, 2010

Last Spokane Night Scenes Group Shoot for Spring 2010

In the past two weeks, we have added 8 more photographers to the Spokane Night Scenes night shooters email list. Although we are getting to the end of the night shooters group sessions for the Spring 2010 season, it is time to do one more night shoot. The next shoot will start at 1930 (7:30 PM). It will end, at least officially, at 2130 (9:30PM).

There are some options for many of you, but this winter we have done a lot of architecture as well as some popular locations. My original intent was to do this last shoot in downtown Spokane, but there is not much originality in doing that. So, we are going to a spot that is historic, and “off the beaten path.”

Our last Spring sojourn is going to be at the Olmstead Overlook area, which is also referred to as Upper Liberty Park (at least in police lingo). Some of you have likely never heard of this place, but it was observed in Spokane Parks planning way back in the earlier 1900’s by the Olmstead brothers. Originally, this location was a part of Liberty Park, and actually was the overlook to the green space below and to the east. Along came Interstate 90 (I 90), and Liberty Park was split in half by the freeway. It is now a series of ruins, rock walls and pathways. Yet, this is a perfect place for leading lines, and some very unusual shots. Ample opportunities are available here, for light trails of traffic on I90, and commercial lighting from adjacent structures.

Upper Liberty Park (Olmstead Overlook) is located on the east side of Arthur, just south of 3rd Avenue. (47°39'12.10"N - 117°23'39.17"W) No doubt you have driven by this location hundreds of times, and never paid much attention to it, especially west bound on the freeway. Parking should be free, and plentiful in the Office Depot parking lot. Your target will be across 3rd avenue, to the south. Walk across 3rd, and up the dirt pathways.

I have not been back here since 2006/2007, and it is kind of a mysterious place to visit. Ruins of “what used to be,” and “what is left from the past.” This place may also be a spot for a great sunset with some ruined rock walls in the foreground, depending on the interest generated by clouds, of course. No guarantees there. As it gets darker in this place (and it certainly will), the sky is the limit for potential shots. All of you should have headlamps or small flashlights (or both), and for those of you with Big Max type handheld flashlights and colored lenses, please bring those. Painting rock walls and other features may give you some real interesting results.

I'm not sure I will bring my cameras to this shoot, so I can help you out with your getting shots. I am likely to bring at least one Big Max light that we can use to paint something with color. This location will challenge your creativity, and give you an opportunity to shoot at a historic location most people have never even heard about.

I have had some photographic as well as police experiences in this location. I suggest that anyone arriving early, wait for another photographer or two so you can wander through this location together. Although it is early in the warmer season, there are transient issues, drug, and gang issues which have taken place here (randomly/infrequently). If someone absolutely has to remain here at 2130 hours (9:30PM), I'll remain with you, if that is needed.

Although I shot this area in 2006 and 2007 with some earlier digital equipment, here are some later evening shots captured a few years ago.

Right now, it appears that this will have to happen on a Saturday evening. As with any other date, there will be a few that will not be able to make it. Nonetheless, it has to fit into my schedule so Saturday evening April 17th it is.

There is a 30% chance of rain for Saturday (showers). If that changes, and it becomes a 100% chance of rain or is raining at the time of the shoot, do yourself a favor and stay home. There is no sense in ruining your electronic equipment.

So that I do not outnumber the photographers invited to show up, please RSVP.

Thanks everyone.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sometimes it’s about the Spokane Night Scenes

I don’t know, but to me it is pretty simple. After the sun goes down, Spokane shines. Yep, that fact can be validated by just looking at what is really out there to view. A simple process… be sure.

In the past few days I got a request to feature Spokane Night Scenes images, in an online Spokane Magazine. I wasn’t exactly sure what the Magazine was, but I agreed to have some of my images featured on their Magazine website.

The Magazine is titled: RiverSpeak

I saw their effort this morning for the first time, and I looked at the images they chose for their online presentation. Those images were somewhat of a surprise, but it reminded me of each evening I was out shooting the images they chose. It just strikes me, that every location I visit will interest a variety of people (or not) differently. It, after all, is about the location and the actual scene that is present the night it gets captured. Maybe it has a special meaning to someone (or not), but capturing the Spokane Night Scene is what my process is all about.

I really think that we live in a beautiful place, and Spokane Night Scenes photography aims to capture as many locations as possible. Different seasons, different conditions, and different days and times. It all matters in showcasing some Spokane locations.

So, I am honored to have Spokane Night Scenes featured in RiverSpeak. It is the scene that matters, anyhow.

I might have skipped this part, but did I ever tell you, “it is fun?”

I hope you enjoy our community after dark. I sure do.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Children of a common mother

This after dark photo shoot occurred in a recent trip to Blaine, Washington. I drove north from Ferndale to Blaine, to view the Peace Arch after dark, to capture the Monument after it was illuminated. I arrived at ten minutes after sunset, and noticed the sign that the Peace Arch Park was closed at sunset/dusk. I noticed that a Border Patrol officer was in his vehicle monitoring the Parking lot and Park, so I contacted him. I identified myself and inquired of him as to how much longer I could take photographs of the Peace Arch. He indicated I had just a few minutes. After some further discussions of my interest in shooting after dark, he told me to “go ahead.” I advised I could be done by 8PM, and he said that was “just fine.”

I grabbed my gear and tripod and hustled the few hundred yards to the south end of the Peace Arch, where I set up and started shooting. I was really lucky here, the camera had been set up exactly for this type of shoot before I left Ferndale, and I had no downtime at all for adjustments. I knew I had no more than a half hour total, so I shot one series after another, bracketing shots all the way.

At 8PM, I grabbed my gear, and headed back to my vehicle where I loaded up. I made contact with the gracious Border Patrol Officer who was still there, essentially waiting for me the entire time to finish my project. He had already locked the gates for inbound traffic, and I was extremely thankful to have been given this opportunity to shoot the Peace Arch.

I plan on sending a thank you to the Border Patrol Office in Blaine, to see if they can pass along my thanks to the officer I spoke with that night. There are more times than not, when in public law enforcement, the words “thank you,” are never heard. This won’t happen here, and I want to make sure of that. If the officer that let me into the Park ever gets to see some of my shots, perhaps he will be glad I got the opportunity that he gave me.

Spokane Night Scenes online image:

United States Canada Peace Anniversary Association:

Peace Arch Anthem

This shoot did not come without its moments. I shot the image vertically, and after 150 or so bracketed shots, I placed the lens cap back on the camera. Somehow it never made it back to Spokane, although I suspect it is still lying on the United States side of the Border in Peace Arch Park. Considering how many night shoots I do, what surprises me the most is that this has not happened on any other occasion.

All shots were at ISO 100, and at F9. The tripod was stationary at one spot, at two full extensions of the tripod feet (maybe three feet tall). Shooting this monument at full extension just did not feel “right.” The camera was set on Manual, using AF and AWB. Lens was 18 X 200mm and mostly at 28mm. Timed exposures were from 1 second to 30 seconds (tethered shutter release), depending on the series I was shooting. I only had about 25-30 minutes, so this was a get it and go type of an event for me.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

A visit to Hillyard, with 15 photographers

So what do you get if you mix a visit to Hillyard, and add about 15 photographers? Of course you already know the answer. A very fun experience.

Last Sunday I coordinated a visit to Hillyard by what turned out to be a large group of night shooters. I thought maybe 6-8, but it turned out a lot greater numbers than that.

I met my group of about 15 photogs at Queen and Market streets, and briefed them on what to look for and a few safety issues while they were wandering in the area. At that point, the photographers all wandered away with their tripods and cameras. I normally do not take cameras with me when I do the group activities, but on this occasion I could not resist. My challenge for the evening was to shoot from no higher than 18 inches and to only use a wide angle lens (11 X 18mm). I needed to try and step out of my comfort zone at shooting at full extension on the tripod. I don’t use the center pole on the tripods normally, but the higher extension of the tripod legs seems to be a little easier on the back.

I had spent an afternoon visiting many of the merchants in Hillyard advising them that all of these good photographers would be in the area on Sunday evening. My hope was to generate some interest in having the merchants leave interior lights on, for some background and contrast. It worked for some merchants, but not for others. I was interested in shooting Aunt Beas Antiques with some interior lights on, but she forgot to light it up. As a result I shot it the way it was, from a height of 18 inches.

Next on my list of things to do, was to shoot the Capitol Tavern. Why, you ask? Beats me, but it was something that was closing within a few days, and I thought I might take an image or two of what “used to be.” Nothing special about this architecture, but “it is what it is, I guess.”

My last shots were of a business on the SW corner of Queen and Market. This merchant had advised they would illuminate the interior, but no such luck on this evening. At the height of 18 inches, with a wide angle lens, the angles of this place were nothing short of bizarre. There was really no color at all, so I desaturated and cropped much of what the camera allowed me to capture. This is another one of those images of a location that “is what it is.”

After I finished up with my camera, I took the group to Hillyard Skatepark, where it is TOTALLY DARK. One of the first photogs on scene actually fell completely into the first skating pit. He was unhurt, and I heard no glass breaking, so it appeared his investment was also okay. The goal at this location was to illuminate with various colors, all of the curves in the various concrete pits used by the skateboarders. I had shot this place before by myself, and it was a lengthy process lighting up one area with color and then retreating to my camera to get ready for the next color. With all of the photogs on this occasion, I shot no images, but helped the others get their shots. About half of the night shooters had acquired the Big Max (Brinkmann) handheld flashlights, with the colored lenses. I allowed them to use one of mine, and I basically gave assistance where I could. After about 45 minutes, I had to leave, but all of the other photogs were still at the scene at the Skatepark. I haven’t heard any reports of injuries, so I gather they all made it home intact.

I’ll do this again, for local photogs that are interested in shooting after dark. I think next time, I’ll keep my cameras in the office once again. Walking around and helping where I can is a good time, with all of these good people. It is really fun. Any Spokane area photogs who want to join the email list I have of night shooters, you are most welcome to do so. I guarantee one thing, we will NOT do group shoots in the summer. To me staying up that late is too much like work. So I am likely to do this for another month before we call it quits until fall. If I have to get out for some reason I will always do that, but my affliction with night shooting disease does not always have to infect someone else, at least during the summer months. It’s easy to get over the affliction, you do that by getting out and just doing it.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spokane Night Scenes, at Spokane’s Clocktower

For several years, I wanted the opportunity to go up into Riverfront Parks Clocktower. Over the years I have shot as many objects as possible in and around RFP, as well as downtown. To get up above the streetlights with a completely different set of problems was my goal. Well, finally it happened.

This week I met with David Randolph, from Spokane City Parks. David and I had communicated a number of times via email, so this meeting was our first. Initially I worked through my other contacts at Spokane Parks to get to this point, but meeting with David Randolph was an absolute pleasure. David was incredibly knowledgeable about the Clocktower, and the history of the railroad activities which were there long before 2010.

This week’s shoot in the tower, was totally fun, albeit kinda short. I met with David at 5:45, and we climbed the tower from the inside. David wound up carrying some of my camera gear, as did a second RFP employee who had never been to the top of the tower. I’m not sure exactly how long it took the three of us to climb all the way on top, but scaling the walls using a fixed ladder, took a lot of concentration. Yet, this was the opportunity I had wanted, and scaling a wall with the ladder was not even worth a second thought. I had been tipped off before I got into the tower, about the ladders and the climb necessary to get to the top. At least three photographers that I knew tipped me off as they had been inside the tower to shoot some shots during daylight. Daylight is not when my cameras venture out of the office, so being the first of the photogs I spoke with to get into the tower after dark, was a great opportunity.

First off, at the top, we stuck some earplugs into our ears, to protect our ears from the chimes, and the music that followed the chimes. That took about ten minutes or so, and at about 6:10 I started shooting views of the west. The windows at the top are rather tall when based on the level of the floor. They are very wide from front to back, but to use a tripod on those windows, meant I was going to have to climb up on an inverted plastic bucket, and keep the tripod at the lowest height level that I could. Even with this exercise, the camera was well above my head. I was fortunate to have had live view with the Canon I was using, so I could look up and frame a basic shot before I used a handheld tether to activate the shutter release. I was able to modify the shutter speed manually from my position below the camera, and bracketing the shots was fairly easy to do. I began shooting from the west windows, and then moved to the south facing windows. With about 20 minutes left in my time to shoot, I moved to the east facing windows, facing toward the Doubletree hotel and convention center areas. With about 5 minutes left, I moved to the north facing windows and shot a string of images overlooking the US Pavilion area in RFP. I realize not everyone will know what the US Pavilion might be, but suffice it to say it is the PAVILION area. During Expo 74 when I worked this site during the world’s fair, this was the United States Pavilion. Out of force of habit, I still refer to it as the US Pavilion.

At 7PM, my time atop the Clocktower had concluded. I repacked my cameras and tripod and David and I began the descent inside the Clocktower. David asked me if I wanted to wind up the clock, and I agreed to do so on the lower level where the clock is. During my time in the Clocktower, I was asked to sign in on the face of the supporting boards in the Clocktower. This is a routine for all Clocktower visitors, and so I signed in and dated my name. I did see some entries as far back as 1997, but I am sure there are many entries that are earlier than that.

I concluded the shoot by thanking David Randolph, and in my view, he is an excellent example of a City Employee. Quite simply, he loves what he does, and he loves his job. I was totally impressed by his historical knowledge, which coincided with some of my police career experiences in the early 70’s when I was a rookie cop. We spent many hours/days arresting people in and around the Clocktower area, and it was a dismal place to work on downtown Patrol. It was such an uplifting experience to see the overall rehabilitation of the RFP site for the EXPO 74 world’s fair, and I have loved RFP ever since. In 31 years of doing police type stuff, I have visited thousands of different locations in Spokane, but the one I had never gotten to the top of was the Clocktower. Now, I can say that I finally did. I was not wearing a gun belt and uniform as I had done years ago, but instead I took two Canon DSLR’s and assorted support gear for photography.

What I saw on top of the Clocktower, is nothing short of amazing. The lights, the color, and the activities were breathtaking. Since it was cold, with windy conditions, that breathtaking has a special meaning. Yet, when looking around RFP and downtown Spokane, it was simply beautiful. I shot as many image series as I could, and fairly soon I will be adding some of my bracketed digital files to the Spokane Night Scenes website. Nothing short of another visit will help me capture the color of Spokane, but I am hopeful that I am able to reproduce some of the reasons each of us lives here.

I do not have any links to the following images, and I am unsure which images, if any, will make it online. Further, I am not done editing images yet to come. So, I’ll throw up some low resolution images to give you an idea of views (2 dimensional) in and around the center of our City of Spokane. I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to go up for an hour after dark, into the Landmark of the Clocktower in Riverfront Park. Perhaps some of the images I finally decide to upload to the web, will make people who do not already live here in Spokane, very envious.

Here are some low res images uploaded to the server. In no way will these things ever be able to reproduce the feeling of seeing all of this first hand from the top of the Clocktower. It is, however, the only way for me to try and reproduce what I saw when I was up in the tower.

I owe a great deal of thanks to three people who helped make my visit possible. Nancy Goodspeed, Debby Dodson, and of course David Randolph. These good people are exactly the reasons I always loved to work with Spokane Parks, back in my police career and through my ongoing projects currently. They are very talented, and they are incredibly good at what they do.

Maybe that is something the rest of us can strive for…..

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Tame the light, and you have tamed the night."

Recently I put together a short PDF document for the upcoming seminar of the Photographic Society of America (PSA), Inland Empire Chapter. It was designed to be short, and give a few examples of what can be done with some low light photography. Bad news was, it contained color images. Upon completion I found out everything was only going to be printed in black and white, so I decided to keep it intact, as it was, and allow it to be downloaded for use by anyone. In a week or so when things slow down here in the office, I'll prepare a second shorter night photography tip sheet, with no photographs or visual examples.

The PSA seminar in May is a great tool for photographers who desire some advancd level training. I highly recommend that you consider attending their excellent seminar. Many Spokane Photographers, as well as a lot of regional photographers from the US and Canada attend these seminars. So if you are serious about your craft, this is something for you to sign up for.

I have been working on an event for all of these photographers for May 2010. The idea is to give the seminar attendees an opportunity to use some of what they have learned, at the Lilac Torchlight Parade. What we anticipate happening is that the attendees will be granted access to the staging areas for all of the floats, prior to the start of the Parade. After agreeing to our "rules of the road," and a signature on a waiver of liability, all of the invited photographers will get an opportunity to shoot all of the floats. Should be fun, although I might be in Tennessee during the Parade. Travel or not for me, this is a good project for me to work on, and a great photo op for photographers who have an interest in low light imaging of Parade Floats.

At any rate, the PDF is available for you to download, and it is printable. Yep, it's all free...:-)

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes

Looking for 2010 color and light in Hillyard

So, this was not really an "official," hunt for photographs. I had to take my twin grand daughters home, and on my way back to the north side, I made my way through Hillyard. I was interested in getting some views of the new look in Hillyard, with the installation of all the new streetlights. On the way north, I grabbed a large coffee at McDonalds on Market, and headed into the central business district of Hillyard.

Good news was, I could see that the electricians had made a great deal of progress in installing the new streetlights. Bad news was, none of the lights were illuminated. Nope, not a single one. So, my hopes of viewing Hillyard in all the glory of the new streetlights, was not to be. When will the lights actually be turned on? It depends on whom you speak with. As I began to shoot images in the business district, I had the opportunity to speak with about half a dozen people who came outside the Capital Tavern to smoke a cigarette. The patrons from the Capital were generally full of insightful information about when the lights were to be turned on in Hillyard. I heard "never," and also "maybe in two weeks." So, in filtering all of the new information I was given, I was back where I started, not knowing when the lights would be turned on over in Hillyard.

I did enjoy speaking with the Capital patrons, but I wanted to gauge some light levels with a few camera shots. Since there wasn't any significant change in light levels, I gave some thoughts to putting the 40D back in the car, and heading for home. Instead, I just did a few pivots with the tripod, shooting with the ambient lighting that has been there for quite a number of years. I figured I would just shoot a few scenes that exhibited some color. With a few Capital patrons in tow, I shot a few storefronts on Market Street, shook some hands and put the tripod and the cameras back in the truck.

On my way north, there was a small blaze of color, just north of the business district. It was an illuminated sign, which offered up a chance to shoot something with fairly bright color. I had driven past the sign, when I felt guilty and turned around to go back and shoot some frames of the sign. No real cultural or historical significance here, but color...yeah there was some of that. The sign was at the Bubble Machine Car Wash on north Market.

I have a few goals for Hillyard. One, shoot Hillyard, once the streetlights actually get turned ON. Second, shoot in Hillyard from above ground level, and some adjacent rooftops. Third, take a group of photographers into Hillyard for some experience in shooting with low light conditions.

Here are a couple of frames captured in Hillyard on this evening. Nothing of major significance, but capturing Hillyard after dark, is something I chose to do on this evening.

Bubble Machine Car Wash sign:

United Hillyard Mall

PJ's Cafe Express and Mr. Kens Barber Shop, Hillyard, Spokane, Washington

O'Briens Used Furniture

The thing about shooting traditional, or even what some may consider "mundane locations," is that these places might not be there tomorrow. Look no farther than the former site of the Alaskan Tavern, one half block away from where I was shooting. I did manage to capture that location in 2009, before it disappeared. Maybe that is what a camera is for.

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hillyard Hobo newsletter, Spokane Night Scenes

The Hillyard Hobo Newsletter features a series of Spokane Night Scenes, including a 2009 image of Hill yard's Alaskan Lounge, on North Market Street.

The Hillyard area of Spokane has been undergoing an almost constant re-invention over the past year. The small business owners in Hillyard, lost almost all of their commercial traffic to their storefronts, as a result of the streets being closed for re-paving and design changes. After Hillyard's Market Street was reopened, the streetlights were not installed, even as automobile traffic was opened up on Market Street. As of this writing, it appears that all of the streetlights are now installed, and it is time to revisit Hillyard with a couple of cameras, after dark.

Hillyard is also a location I think I will invite a few other photographers to, sometime soon. I have close to 40 or so photographers interested in night shoots, so I think that my next group shoot should be in Hillyard. The photographers I take can get some low light experience, and a number of images can be taken of the current view of the redesigned Market street and central business area.

In 2009, I captured the Alaskan Lounge/Tavern, without any idea that the Alaskan would burn to the ground. I am glad I captured images of the Alaskan in 2009, before it ceased to exist.

John D. Moore, CPP

Spokane Night Scenes

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Spokane Scenes, keep going away

So, today, away goes the Alaskan Tavern, in Hillyard.

Ironically, this week I have been discussing allowing use rights for a number of Hillyard night scenes, including the one of the Alaskan. That image was a combo of layers, with a desaturated layer at the front, and color images lined up behind it. Regardless, that image is representative of what "used to be there."

I have mixed feelings about the departure of the Alaskan. The first arrest I ever made when I was working by myself, was of a drunk from the Alaskan. He crashed an empty beer pitcher over someones head, and I was just a few blocks away when I got the call. In subsequent years, there were inumerable calls for service from the Alaskan, and another Tavern south of it (no longer here). One brawl with our officers occurred as the Alaskan closed one night, and fights broke out in the streets. I remember going to a 99 call (officer needs help urgently) and every officer in the county headed to the scene. 16 arrests later, order was restored. So, I hate to see old buildings close (or worse), but this one has mixed feelings from me.

It is places like this though, that I am glad I was able to document, prior to a demise. I suppose some people actually enjoyed their times at the Alaskan, so for them this has some emotional meaning and perhaps a sense of loss.

One other location that I shot was also a location that will be missed. Ella's downtown on West First was also a location of note, in an area I spent a lot of my former life in policing at. Ella's was the answer to many police problems in the area, and a great place to "take back the neighborhood," from the crooks that seemed to appear from every crack in the sidewalks." Ella's has also been missed by many, and I legitimately miss that place, as opposed to the other one I spoke of above. I recorded Ella's Supper Club, at:

I hate to see Spokane Night Scenes disappear, but I'll keep shooting them. That way we can at least look back. I'm not sure what memories like these are worth to some folks, but personally I am glad I documented them before they disappeared.

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Night photography in Spokane, an affliction which is contagious

Last night I left my cameras in the office, and met with a number of Spokane photographers, for a series of exercises I had set up for them. Members of the Photographic Society of America, Spokane Camera Club, Inland Outlook Photo Club, and even some non affiliated photographers. I led the group to the location for exercise 1, and for the next two hours, I totally enjoyed this experience.

The second location was the same location I had shot the night before, and the group immediately recognized that this sculpture (Centennial Sculpture) that was floating in the Spokane River, was actually moving constantly. So now the group needed to adjust for motion in the foreground, as well as retain the background, which was not moving. After about twenty minutes, I started painting the sculpture with a red filter on my Big Max flashlight. I switched it to blue after about 15 minutes, and then one of the other photographers took out his Big Max so we could hit the sculpture with red and blue at the same time. Wow, some of these folks, "nailed it." Although I was not able to see the final products, I could see in their on camera screens, that the red and blue lights really got them some great shots. Having a second person to handle some of this activity such as the Big Max, was evident to me last night. Doing it by myself sure has it's limitations.

All in all, hanging out with these photographers was nothing but "fun." Using some rear screen synch exercises was good for all of them, and timing the rear curtain synch shots is sometimes hard to get "just right." It takes a little doing, but I think that the group pushed the envelope just fine.

I'll get another evening set up for a couple of weeks from now. Hopefully we can give Riverfront Park a rest, and I am thinking that the next location for the night shooting photographers might be Hillyard. All of the new streetlights are finally going in, and then I can gather them at the Hillyard Skatepark, for a somewhat complicated effort at painting with color. Should be fun, no matter what.

I have confirmed my access to the Clocktower in Riverfront Park, in March. I'm going up after a sunset, to shoot from the top of the tower, as it gets darker and darker. Should not only be fun, but there might be some fab shots of the RFP area, downtown, and of course the automobile light trails on Spokane Falls Blvd, and Washington/Stevens.

Today I added one more version of a shoot I did this week, at the "Centennial Sculpture." I added one to the website yesterday, and today I added a script to load a second image in which the lights used on the Big Max were amber lenses. A blend of three images, akin to an HDR approach, the second image was taken about thirty minutes before the red one was.

If any other Spokane photographers want to join up with the "night shooter group," you are most welcome. Send me your contact info and I'll add you to the list of photogs getting all of the location and time information. Just get ready for some fun, and maybe some outside the box photography.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What is old, can also be new

So, I had one free evening before I took out as many as 40 photographers, to shoot Spokane Night Scenes. I grabbed the cameras, and headed down to Riverfront Park, to revisit the art/sculpture that has been in the river, for many years. Have I shot this before? "Oh yeah," many times. Yet, this scene just had to be approached differently, and with some color added.

There is no light for this Spokane river sculpture, so I brought my own. I began shooting this scene with an amber lens on the Big Max flashlight, and then switched to blue. After switching again, this time to red, it seemed clearer in the rear screen viewer of the Canon 40D. The metal of the sculpture seemed to glow with the red light on it, and it still appeared that way after the CR2 files were inspected on the computer.

This sculpture continually moves, and is unlike any landscape effort a low light photographer can make. You can shoot using rear curtain synch, but the challenge was to try and get it, without motion blur, using the colors from the Big Max. As I take out all of the photographers tonight, they will find out just how "easy," trying to avoid the motion blur is at this location. Yep, a built in challenge.

Here is an edited version using the red Big Max lens.

I might owe an apology to a guy who was sitting at this location, feeding the ducks. He had at least a hundred ducks feeding when I got there, and as soon as I turned on the Big Max flashlight the first time, all the Ducks he had assembled took off in a big hurry. I'm not sure if the ducks are color blind, but the amber lens on the Big Max, really drove them all away. So, the guy who had been feeding them got up and ambled away from my disruptive activities.

This evening I wanted to look at some sculptures on the south side of the north river channel. West of the performing arts center, there is an invisible sculpture called, "Moon Crater." There are no lights in here, and I almost walked right by it before I saw that something was there. I hit it a few times with the Big Max, but that light was just too powerful. I turned on my headlamp, but that made no difference in lighting the sculpture. So I just shot the "Moon Crater," in the darkness. At about a minute into a BULB exposure, I screened that length of shot, and it was apparent that the sculpture could be seen with just longer exposures.

Here is a cropped version of "Moon Crater."


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Session scheduled for Spokane Night Shooters

This week I have scheduled a night session for the 40 Spokane photographers who have contacted me with an interest in shooting night photographs. Some of the night shooters are members of the Spokane Camera Club, the Photographic Society of America, Inland Outlook Photo Club, and the Spokane Valley Camera Club. A few of the night shooters are unaffiliated with any Spokane Photo club.

This session will be on Tuesday evening, February 9th, 2010. The session will be no longer than two hours (I think), and I have it broken down into three exercises, with one additional exercise scheduled, depending on any available time.

I'll leave my cameras in my office, since I will be trying to help attendees to get their shot. This is not an evening for me to try and get creative, but if I can get others enthused about going out in low light, I'll go away happy.

Details on this shoot is as follows.


Slideshow from last weeks night photo class (FLASH PROGRAM)

This session will "focus," mainly on Motion after dark, and also on Rear Curtain Synch. Examples of Rear Curtain Synch and motion are here:

Meet at the Ice Arena for some short housekeeping items, at the bleacher section, at 5:30 PM. Then off to shoot location 1. Night shooters are instructed to review their cameras owners manual, as well as their external flash owners manual. Research your hardware's capability to do Rear Curtain Synch shooting.

Next night shoot is not likely to be in RFP, and not likely to be on a Tuesday evening. Info to follow on that session.

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In the dark, in Spokane's Riverfront Park

I have been giving thoughts for at least 6 months or so, about the sculpture on the NW corner of the INB Performing Arts Center. In virtually every trip to Riverfront Park, with cameras in tow, I saw this sculpture as being lifeless when the sun went down. Oh, what to do.

Tonight was the night for this project. I took the Big Max flashlight, with the red, blue, and amber filters. I set up with the 18 X 200 (28mm). I rotated the camera around to shoot vertically, and set up the platform and the tethered shutter release. I switched it so all my shots would be BULB shots, and this would let me somewhat free to move the Big Max flashlight around. I moved the platform only once at this location, moving slightly closer about 30 minutes into this shoot, and a slightly different angle.

My goal was to illuminate the interior section of the sculpture, and once the shutter was released, I was able to walk the thirty feet to the west side of the sculpture with the Big Max flashlight. As long as I kept moving I knew the camera would not register me, and the camera could not see the Big Max on the west side of the sculpture. I'm not sure exactly how long I stayed back there, but I turned the light off and headed back to the camera. I was more worried about leaving the camera out there, than anything else.

I went through this drill a couple of times, and switched the Big Max filter to red. I opened the shutter once more (BULB) and off I went, this time with red. I was behind the sculpture when I started hearing loud continuous noises headed closer and closer. I was able to look through the sculpture and I saw three skateboarders doing circles around my camera and the tripod. I jumped out of the west side of the sculpture and headed back toward my equipment, forgetting I still had the red lamp on in my headlamp. My headlamp did register the speed at which I returned to my camera equipment, but I decided to go ahead and use that image anyhow, although you can see the red streaks headed east along the north side of the sculpture. No big deal, and the three skateboarders did not seem too surprised to see me.

Two of the images are online at:

The second image was shot at a different angle than the first series, and it is the second image that my effort to get back to the equipment was registered as my headlamp red LED bulbs can be seen.

I had about 45 minutes left to use for this nights shoot, so I headed to the "Garbage eating goat." This goat is really dark, so I used a variety of angles and levels of lighting to try and get the goat lit up, without blowing out any of the highlights. I used the Big Max minimally at this location ( blue filter,on the ground ), and used the LED bulbs in my headlamp to do the highlights.

This image is located at:

Total last night was 209 images in CR2 + JPEG. Photomatix, PSE 7, CS3, and Topaz Adjust were used for different things in the editing.

I think we live in a beautiful place, even if I had to work for a couple of hours to shed some light on that fact.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Short Night Photography class, Liberty Lake

I have been invited to do a short presentation on Night Photography for the Inland Outlook Photo Club, on Feb 4th, 2010. The short thirty minutes I have been given, will happen at the Inland Outlook Club meeting in Liberty Lake, at 6:30PM (1830). The address of their meeting is: 22510 E Mission Ave, Liberty Lake

The directions given to all the Inland outlook group by their President Dean Huggins is as follows: "If coming from Spokane take the Otis Orchards Liberty Lake exit 296, turn right at the light (go south) which is liberty lake road, go one block to the next light and turn left on Country Vista Dr, (the end of the Albertsons parking lot), go up a little hill and turn left on Mission, the Denny Ashlock building will be on your right set back off the road a bit. It is a brick building; parking lot is on the left facing the building. For those of you that just cannot follow normal directions just go to Liberty Lake, find the Albertsons and drive behind it, you will find us there in the brick building. Dean"

I have created a handout for the short class, which is available online for you to download, and print, if you desire to do so. This download is a PDF file, and available for you at: (2.68MB)

If you have time that evening, and you are interested in this short program (FREE) on night photography, you are certainly invited to attend that evening. Please let me know ( so I can pass along the numbers to the group scheduling this meeting.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Downtown Spokane and Riverfront Park. Once again, a most colorful visit

This has, in the main, been a pretty productive week. I have spent about 5 hours so far wandering around the Arena, Riverfront Park, and also Downtown Spokane. While it may seem redundant to continue to go back to all the usual locations, they look different every single time.

Last night I enjoyed my second evening shooting images after dark, in some very familiar territory in Riverfront Park. I started the night shoot east of the northbound lane on the Washington Street Couplet. I'll get to those images likely tomorrow, but there were other images to take.

My next stop was just west of the Washington Street Couplet, on the north edge of the south Spokane River channel. The "floating sculpture in the water," has been shot by everyone who goes into this park...including me, many times before. There was some contrast left in the darkening skies, so I shot a series of images of the sculpture. Since the sculpture is continually moving, I shot it with Rear Curtain synch, and allowed the bright external flash to freeze the moving river art after a variety of exposures using all BULB settings. An average setting was about 7 seconds, at F8, ISO 100.

Next it was on to the footbridge west of the Washington Street Couplet. My original thought was to grab the river as it flowed under the footbridge, to capture some reflections. After I shot that way for about 15 minutes, I began to shoot with a Rear Curtain synch setup, to see if I could partially expose the vehicles on top of the southbound lanes, as I used BULB to expose the reflections in the water below. My first customer was an STA bus that just happened to be going south in the lane closest to my camera position. The light trails were produced pretty well, and the STA bus also produced reflections on the river below since it was a very high profile on the bridge.

I walked west in Riverfront Park, and observed some very intense red and blue lights that I had not observed before. I walked over to the area east of Avista (Washington Water Power), and found that three of the Avista windows were made up in brilliant colors. I also ran into another photographer at this time, which is very unusual. Dean Huggins is the President of the Inland Outlook Camera Club, and we began to shoot this visual presentation together. Following those images Dean mentioned that we might inspect the river from the Howard bridge, to inspect any reflections from Avista. They were certainly there, and we captured those.

All in all this weeks shoots have been pretty productive. I'll likely be out and about tomorrow evening to get my three night shooting trips completed for this week. Possibly back downtown to all the "usual locations."

One other thing. I am interested in doing a complete nighttime reshoot over in Hillyard, as soon as all the new streetlights have been completely installed. Not sure when that is going to happen, but Hillyard is on the list of things to do, once again.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Color and Motion, after dark

This week I was determined to "slow down, the STA buses. No, they were not speeding, but in the past they were always constantly in motion as they drove completely through an image I was set up to take. As an STA bus cruised through whatever photo I was shooting, there were always colors from the various lights adorning each bus, but they were just that....lights and light streaks.

Tonight's project was to display as much of the bus as possible, as it traveled at a moderate speed. I went down to the area of the Arena, where STA had set up a bus transportation hub, for the 2010 Figure skating Championships. I wanted something recognizable in the shot, so I went to the north side of Mallon, which allowed the Flower Mill to be seen. Then I just waited as the buses came in to load and unload their passengers. As the buses departed, I pressed the shutter release (BULB), and as the bus came closer into the right side of the frame, I released the shutter release which activated the external Canon flash (Canon EX). The shutter was open for an average of 7 seconds before the flash ended the exposure, but for the first time I was able to actually see much of the STA bus as it went through the frame, from left to right. Rear curtain synch is what I call the operation, although others call it a variety of terms.

I was approached during the shoot by a gentleman named Steve (Steve Blaska), who was a very friendly guy. We spoke for a period of time about the STA bus photos I was shooting, and I showed him a few of them on the rear screen viewer of the Canon 40D. Steve handed me his biz card, which identified Steve as the STA Director of Operations. It was fun to take a break from standing around holding the tethered shutter release, and nice to see the reaction from Steve as he viewed a somewhat small screen with his buses going by.

I did put one image online, although I would like to do this project once again. My timing to get the bus in the right spot never seemed accurate enough. I mean how tough can it be to just let go of the pushbutton tethered shutter release? Well, for me, it seemed like I always managed to allow the front end of the bus to get too far to the right of the frame, whereby removing the front end of the bus entirely. The buses were shot as they were starting from a dead stop, so at about 5 seconds into the exposure their speed had really increased. At any rate, I was able to capture a bus, in its entirety, from a dead stop as it went through the entire frame of the camera.

Next up was something more traditional. I had targeted the LED sign displaying info about the 2010 Figure skating championships at the Arena. This sign (SW corner of Boone and Washington) was very blurry, so I skipped shooting the sign. I walked to the east side of the Arena, where I generated a series of images of the east entry area at the Arena. I added one of these images online at:

I'll try and get out again this evening, to search for more color in downtown Spokane, and Riverfront Park. As long as I don't forget to bring gloves this time, it should be another fun photo op.

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes