Category Archives: Night Photography

Studio Nocturne PR Roundup

Ghost cookies for Studio Nocturne -- by Joe Reifer

Ghost cookies for Studio Nocturne — by Joe Reifer

The big art show I’ve been preparing for is this weekend in San Francisco. If you want people to buy your art, you’ve got to get them in the door. Promoting an art show during Open Studios is a big effort, as there are shows every weekend in October. The group I’m exhibiting with, the Nocturnes, is wise to use Fort Mason — it’s a place where the public can see a wide variety of art all in one location.

Here’s a roundup of some of the online press surrounding the show:

Thanks to everyone for helping promote the show. Other promotion efforts include the Artspan open studios guide, an ad in Artweek, thousands of postcards, and the participating photographers’ websites and email lists. With all of this hard work, I’m sure it will be a good turnout. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area stop by and say hello!

Boneyard bonus round: Film scans

Sitting Pretty -- by Joe Reifer

Sitting Pretty — by Joe Reifer

I have been using Canon digital SLRs for night photography since 2003, starting with the 10D, 20D, and now 5D. The Canon CMOS sensor produces clean files for typical full moon exposures of 6-8 minutes at ISO 100 or 200. The instant feedback and lack of reciprocity failure makes digital a great tool for judging your exposures and nailing your light painting. But sometimes I want longer star trails. While it’s possible to push the 5D into the 15 minute exposure range, I find I’m more productive using the digital camera for shorter exposures, while using an inexpensive film camera for the 20-30 minute long star trail shots.

On last month’s trip to an airplane boneyard in the Mojave desert I brought along a Voigtlander Bessa L that I purchased for $79 brand new, with a Voigtlander 21mm lens. I only shot one of the 3 nights in the desert with the film camera, and it took me another month to finish the roll and get it back and forth to the lab. There were a couple of stunning images that made me want to shoot more film at night. Comparing the look of digital and film at night can also help serve as a guide for post-processing the digital images.

Night photography with digital can often give you a “day for night” type of look straight out of the camera, with light blue skies. Sometimes quite a bit of post processing is necessary to give the images a real night time feel. Film can often render a darker sky with a long gradation between tones that is more pleasing than digital. In a future post I will go over how to post-process digital images to give them more of that film look and night vibe.

Night Photographer: Andy Frazer

From inside Stockton -- by Andy Frazer

From inside Stockton — by Andy Frazer

Andy Frazer wrote a lovely post about the new iteration of my blog over on his night photography blog. Andy is a talented photographer and nice chap. One of the cool things Andy does on his blog is to profile other photographers, so I thought I would return the favor.

I’ve really enjoyed watching Andy work in the field, doing night photography — he has very clear ideas about the light painting effects he wants to achieve, and will patiently work a scene until he gets it right. Andy is quite skillful in controlling his lighting, and applying an interesting mix of colors. He even gave me a small pack he cut of his favorite gel colors, which has stayed in my camera bag and been very useful. And speaking of useful, Andy is the guy who shows up early to the shoot and scouts things out in the daytime, and then comes through later in the shoot with a thermos full of hot coffee.

Andy made a great short film about night photography called Night of the Living Photographers which you can view online at Better yet, the latest version of the film will be screening at Studio Nocturne this weekend at Fort Mason in San Francisco. I’ll be exhibiting 12 images right next to where Andy’s film is screening — hope to see you there!