Monday, November 9, 2009


Turn out the lights and step out into the night
And the world is busting at its seams
And you're just a prisoner of your dreams
Holding on for your life `cause you work all day
To blow `em away in the night
"Night" by Bruce Springsteen

I'm not usually out at night where I have the time to do something for myself, so I have taken the opportunity to try something new. I have been playing around with night photography while my daughter is at her life drawing class. The last time I did night photography it was a failure. There was a total eclipse of the moon and I set my 4x5 up in my parents' driveway (this is a long time ago) and focused on infinity and left the lens open, covering it with the lenscap and making an exposure every few minutes or so... I can't even remember.

Burton Barr Central Library, Phoenix, 2009, by Richard M. Coda

I have always wanted to photograph this unique looking building but never had the time. One night, after an event at the Phoenix Art Museum, which is a block away, I saw it lit up and thought it looked more unique... almost alien-like. I arrived at just the right time... everyone had just left work so there were no cars or light trails to be bothered with. You can actually read some of the book spines in this image! I used the 8x10" camera and TMax400 film. The exposure was 53 seconds at f/32. The hardest thing about night photography is focusing.

Star Spangled Banner, Phoenix, AZ, 2009 by Richard M. Coda

I had passed this very large billboard many times during the day. There is no illumination on the flag side. There are lights on the opposite side, however. This billboard sits on the line inbetween a hair salon and a Chinese Restaurant. When I arrived there was a parking spot in the perfect location to shoot from, which I took. Again, using the 8x10" camera, I wedged my tripod between my car and the car next to me, hoping that the person would not leave soon. This is a very active parking lot at dinner time. Many cars came and left during the time I was there. I had the camera pointed upward so I wouldn't have to deal with headlights coming right at me. Now, as there is no illumination on the flag side this image was extremely hard to focus. After 10 minutes of trying to focus with the light dwindling by the second, I decided to focus on the middle and just stop down. I ended up with an 18 minute exposure at f/45-2/3. I think the image has promise. These are just negative scans. Hopefully I can get to printing them soon and make a really nice print.

I have one other night image but I will keep it for the next post as it is also an Inspirations post.

No comments: