360 Night Panorama of Roy's Motel Cafe, Amboy, California

The famous Roy's Motel Cafe is on a lonely stretch of Route 66 in the Eastern Mojave Desert. Restoration work has been in progress since Albert Okura bought the town of Amboy in 2005. Currently, you can buy gas and beverages here. The famous Googie/mid-century modern sign has been photographed a lot over the years. Stand underneath the Roy's sign on a full moon in this 360 night panorama

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360 Panorama of Madonna Inn Room 143: Rock Bottom

The bathroom in Madonna Inn Room 143: Rock Bottom features stones on every surface and a rock waterfall shower.

The bathroom in Madonna Inn Room 143: Rock Bottom features stones on every surface and a rock waterfall shower.

Room #143 at the Madonna Inn is called Rock Bottom, and features rocks on the ceiling, walls, and floor. What a surreal experience. And the Flintstones never had this much luxury - the bathroom in Rock Bottom features a waterfall shower. Step inside this amazing room in the 360 panorama of Rock Bottom.

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The 40 Best Books That I Read in 2015

If you're looking for me, I'll be in my cave, reading a book.

If you're looking for me, I'll be in my cave, reading a book.

The 40 best books that I read in 2015 in alphabetical order. Some titles are recent, and some are older. Most of these books were new to me, but a couple were re-reads. My top picks are in bold. Links go to Amazon. Enjoy!

Another Happy Day - Jonah Samson

Asylum of the Birds - Roger Ballen

Chewing Gum and Chocolate - Shomei Tomatsu
 

Chuck Close: Photographer - Colin Westerbeck, Chuck Close, Terrie Sultan

Codex Seraphinianus - Luigi Serafini
 



 

The Collected Hairy Who Publications 1966-1969 - Dan Nadel, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Karl Wirsum

Definitely Maybe - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

The Dog of the South - Charles Portis

Drive - Andrew Bush

Eye in the Sky - Philip K. Dick

Forming - Jesse Moynihan


 

 

Hard to be a God - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Hitchcock - Francois Truffaut

Hustlers - Philip-Lorca diCorcia

Invisible City - Ken Schles

Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and 70s - Ivan Vartanian, Ryuichi Kaneko

Journey to Onomichi - Wim Wenders

The Lines of My Hand - Robert Frank

Megahex - Simon Hanselmann

Ninety-two in the Shade - Thomas McGuane

Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood

Pomona Queen - Kem Nunn

The Queen's Gambit - Walter Tevis

Raised by Wolves - Jim Goldberg

So Long, See You Tomorrow - William Maxwell

South of Market - Janet Delaney

Subway - Bruce Davidson
 

Sunburn - Chris McCaw
 

True Grit - Charles Portis

Very Casual - Michael DeForge

Weathercraft - Jim Woodring

Worst Behavior - Simon Hanselmann

Thanks to J.E., J.L., J.J., M.E., S.M. and C.S. for the book recommendations.
 Check out Goodreads to see what else I'm reading.

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Toy Camera Photos and 360 Night Panoramas from the Archives

This blog has been around since 2006. When I transitioned my website to Squarespace last year, I pulled a bunch of older content down for review. A lot of the photography news related posts were ephemeral, but they featured some fun toy camera photos. Thanks to a few rainy days, I've restored some of these posts with the photos only. Enjoy a bunch of Holga, sprocket Holga, Lensbaby, and pinhole photos in the newly refreshed Toy Cameras category.

I also updated and restored four 360 night panoramas. These images benefited greatly from using newer software for RAW processing, stitching, and presentation. Click on any of the panos for a virtual tour.

Dumbarton Railroad Swing Bridge

Dumbarton Railroad Swing Bridge

Mare Island Warehouse Fire

Mare Island Warehouse Fire

Virginia & Truckee Railroad

Virginia & Truckee Railroad

Desert Center Gas Station

Desert Center Gas Station

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360 Night Panoramas from the Archives

I've updated some 360 night panoramas from the archives. The images were re-processed, and the panoramas are now in an updated player. Enjoy 360 tours of a historic WWII air base, statues in Yucca Valley, a Nevada ghost town, Stonehenge-esque mining ruins, and a bus repair facility.

Eagle Field - 360 night tour of a WWII Air Base.

Eagle Field - 360 night tour of a WWII Air Base.

Berlin Nevada Ghost Town - inside the mine supervisor's house at Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park.

Berlin Nevada Ghost Town - inside the mine supervisor's house at Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park.

Desert Christ Park - Statues depict the Sermon on the Mount in this park near Joshua Tree.

Desert Christ Park - Statues depict the Sermon on the Mount in this park near Joshua Tree.

Thompson Smelter ruins - Stare up at the full moon at the Stonehenge of Western Nevada.

Thompson Smelter ruins - Stare up at the full moon at the Stonehenge of Western Nevada.

Motorcoach Repair - A 360 night tour of a California facility that restores vintage buses.

Motorcoach Repair - A 360 night tour of a California facility that restores vintage buses.

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Light painting in the junkyard with Klaus-Peter Statz

Klaus-Peter Statz is a photographer based in New York City who has attended a few of my night photography and light painting workshops. I was impressed with the images that he made at last month's junkyard shoot. Six of his light painted night photos are featured below, along with some notes on the lighting techniques.

Joe: The Williams bus photo does a really nice job of isolating the subject. Can you talk about how you lit this image.

Klaus-Peter: Most of the bus was inside a garage in total darkness, just a small part of the front was lit by moonlight. I wanted to keep the "Midnight Express" feeling and lit the driver side of the interior with a flashlight, reaching in from the outside through a small window. The headlights were lit with a different flashlight, using a snoot. Finally, I used the snoot with a blue colored flashlight to light up the route sign. The cab light illumination was added in post processing.

Joe: This bus image has a wild blur. Did you zoom the lens or bump the tripod? It's a cool effect.

Klaus-Peter: This image is a combination of two frames, a regular long exposure plus a high ISO test shot during which I had accidentally bumped against the tripod. I first wanted to delete the blurry shot, but then played around with it in Photoshop, adding some more blur and came up with this result.

Joe: I like the pastel pinks and yellows of the bus against the blues and greens of the sky/tree. What was your lighting strategy?

Klaus-Peter: This bus was sitting right underneath a strong floodlight that gave it a yellow-greenish cast. I did some light painting on the interior with orange and red flashlights, but was not able to overcome the effect the floodlight had on the outside. I therefore corrected the white balance in post processing to create the pastel colors.

Joe: Great composition, and purple/green is a nice color combo. How did you light this one?

Klaus-Peter: The purple effect was already in the sky, I just emphasized it a bit in post. In order to add the green color I used a green flashlight from behind the bus to lighten up the interior, and added a pop of green to the outside from approx. 45 degrees camera left.

Joe: How did you light this image?

Klaus-Peter: It took me several attempts to get this image lit correctly. The final result is a composite of three images, one using a snooted white flashlight on the headlights, a second one with two pops of a strobe, with and without an orange gel inside the car, and finally the sign that was lit from the far left side with a flashlight. Thanks for helping to direct the lighting from the camera perspective - some shots are easier to achieve with a partner.

Joe: Was the bat-shaped shadow on the ground what attracted you to this composition?

Klaus-Peter: Exactly, the moonlight-created Batmobile reminded me of a similar shot I had done three years ago in the Mojave Desert with a '57 Chevy. It was fun to shoot.

I asked Klaus-Peter if he had a version of the previous image without light painting for the sake of comparison. Shooting one frame without lighting is a great way to see exactly what your light painting is adding to the image.

I'd like to thank Klaus-Peter Statz for sharing his images and light painting strategies. You can see more of Klaus-Peter's work on his website.

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Big M Automotive: Workshop 360 Night Panorama

This 360 night panorama was shot during last weekend's night photography workshop at Big M Automotive. The Big M specializes in restoring 50's and 60's Plymouths and Mercurys. The black 1956 Plymouth convertible was recently restored and driven from California to Pennsylvania and back. The car won a restoration award last Sunday at the Arbuckle Car Show.

I believe the Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible is a 1962, please correct me if I'm wrong. The owner's beautiful red 1957 Fury, and a really nice white Imperial were parked outside the workshop. Big thanks to John for the hospitality.

Technical details: The 360 pano was photographed with a Canon EOS 6D and the 8-15mm fisheye lens at 12mm. This requires 4 shots around and one down (nadir). I bracketed 7 shots at each camera position, 1.5 stops apart.

The 35 images were processed in Lightroom, blended in Photomatix, stitched in PTGui, adjusted in Photoshop, and output using krpano. Aligning the verticals in PTGui proved to be tricky, as the barn's sliding door was at an angle.

Here's a view of the barn from right outside the door.

This image was shot with a Fuji X100s. The low light performance of the Fuji sensor is pretty incredible. No noise reduction was required at all for a clean file. Six shots were taken a stop apart, and processed into a 32-bit HDR TIFF using Lightroom.

Below is a group photo of the 7 lucky photographers who attended the night photography workshop. Thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm. More night photography from the Big M coming soon!

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