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