Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Forget it, Jake. It's The Nocturnes"

Don't know what it is, but a lot of items "noir" came across our desktop this past week. Always a fan of Film Noir, ecspecially in its postmodern 'neo-noir' reincarnations (LA Confidential, Chinatown, etc.). First came this blurb about the film "Nocturne" on the excellent Noir of The Week (NOTW) blog.

Later on (and probably thru some tangental googling), I stumbled on the Zimbio site, with its section devoted to Film Noir, and an interview with the same Ian Hill who did the Nocturne review above. Best soundbit of the interview seems to be Mr. Hill answering the question: "So, what is film noir?" Answer: "The best answer yet seems to be much like the Supreme Court Justice's on pornography: 'I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it'”

Finally today, in the Podcast I receive from Brooks Jensen of LensWork magazine, there was a discussion on lighting and a recommendation for the film "The Big Combo" and how that can help anyone seriously interested in b/w photography! Also, the NOTW review is here.

All good suggestions for a Nocturnes weekend "noir fest!"

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Submitted for your approval . . ."

I dunno - maybe it's a knee-jerk reaction to the general din of the holidaze muzak (too many years spent in the retail arena, I'm afraid) and the unavoidable end-of-year lists/awards/tributes, etc. - but I'd like to mention a song that, IMHO should receive an award for "The Most Energetic Twenty Seconds Witnessed in a Pop Record" (METS-WIPR), of late. The song, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" by a young (barely out of H.S.!) Power Punk/Pop band (makeup by Green Day?) from Las Vegas, Panic! at the Disco, contains what maybe the perfect chorus in a Pop Song:

"I'd chime in with a "Haven't you people ever heard of closing a goddamn door?!"
No, it's much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality.
I'd chime in, "Haven't you people ever heard of closing a goddamn door?!
"No, it's much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of . . ."

The band gets a minor award, of sorts, for including the phrase "sense of poise and rationality" in the lyrics to this frantic composition (and, is that a Glockenspiel in the mix, as well!?).

Pour the champagne, Pour the champagne! - Pure Pop for Now People.

View the video at

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed; photo copyright Rhapsody Online)

Monday, December 25, 2006

An American Master

Jeez - I've GOT to get more serious about these posts - maybe find out about these events, airings, etc BEFORE they happen! Anyway, last week or so PBS aired a very interesting show about Rod Serling, on of The Nocturnes' faves. "Rod Serling: Submitted For Your Approval" concentrated a lot on his early days writing and basically shaking things up in U.S. Broadcasting during the 1950s (think Cold War, McCarthyism, etc.). Always struggling with conservative, fearful network execs, he finally resorted to fantasy/science fiction to get across his messages about serious issues. Mini "Morality Plays," if you will. Enter the Twilight Zone (featured DVD below - October 11, 2006 blog).

Favorite sound bite by Serling - from the episode's promo: "I found that it was all right to have Martians saying things Democrats and Republicans could never say."

Definitely catch it, when it airs again - done by Thirteen/WNET (New York) - the show is part of the American Masters Series - fascinating stuff - I recommend the one done about Alfred Stieglitz. BTW, Annie Leibovitz is to be featured on January 3, 2007 at 9 pm (check local listings, as they say).

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Friday, December 08, 2006

"Interiors: The F-Market Line"

Work (six prints) from Tim Baskerville's series: "Interiors: The F-Market Line" can be viewed in the Hallway Gallery at RayKo Photo Center - 428 Third Street, SF - thru December. BTW, there is an opening tonight (Friday 12/8) from 6-9pm, for the Winter Selection Exhibition in the main gallery, so it might be a good time to drop on by and see the fantastic facility the people at RayKo have developed!

Also, there's a big show (30 prints approx.) of the Streetcars happening at Fort Mason Center, Landmark Bldg A (Administration), January 2 thru February 16, 2007. There's a nice write-up of the work in their monthly calendar for January - look for it! The online version is now up on the Fort Mason Web site - read all about it!

As part of a comprehensive 10-year project, TimBaskerville continues to photograph and exhibitblack and white photography of the interiors ofthe restored historic streetcars operated by theS.F. Municipal Railway (MUNI) and the MarketStreet Railway, a nonprofit organizationsupporting the preservation of rail transportation.The light, fine detail and elegance found in theinteriors of these proud old cars represents a modeof transportation all but gone from the hustle-bustleof our modern age and is captured in the series, "Interiors: The F-Market Line."

(Source: Third-Person "Mystery Shopper")

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Old School

Twice, in the last few weeks, I have been referred to as "old school" (and I'm just certain the 'pointer-outers" meant that in the best possible way!) - once by a parking lot attendant (who I'm sure was skimming off the parking revenue, by not charging me for parking) - I gave him half the normal parking fee as a tip, saying: "What goes around, comes around." He replied: "Oh, Old School!"

Then (and this is not the 2nd 'old school' reference), upon re-reading Joe Reifer's blog posting on the "great sharpening debate" in which Joe says: "I appreciate humorous anecdotes from old school curmudgeons [Ed. Note: referring here, I think, to Brooks Jensen of Lenswork] as much as the next guy. Maybe even more. I’d actually like to be an old school curmudgeon myself one day." Well, that got me thinking - Joe, it's not too late to start on that path - and some training might be in order. The logical starting point would be to google anything on "The Curmudgeon's Hero" - Walter Matthau - especially his work with Jack Lemmon in the "Grumpy Old Men" series. Maybe even rent one of the flicks this weekend!

General tutorials to get you started . . .

BTW, Matthau was once described in the English press as looking like "a bloodhound with a head cold."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sharpen This!

We were duly impressed with Alumni Joe Reifer's review of the text: "Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2" that appeared recently on Mike Johnston's Blog, The Online Photographer, as well as the response by another Nocturnes alum, Richard Sintchak: "These books, and the different aspects they cover, are the what the zone system, developer process and darkroom process were in the pre-digital age. You can dive in as deep as you want or just wade into the shallows up to your knees. But as in the past, it seems the waders are generally the ones who seem most frustrated in why their work never seems to go over the top or be all they want it to be."

I agree with both contributors in theory, but being a fierce "non-tinkerer" (more interested in the process than the product) I am more inclined to comment along the lines of the blogger "Photo-essayist" who commented on TOP Blog that he just wanted "to go throw cold water on my face." Adding that: "I, too, will pass on Fraser's book. Does anyone else wonder how it is "progress" when we increasingly make everything more complicated?"

Brooks Jensen, Publisher of LensWork takes a similar stance in his "Audio-Blog" - he nows call them "podcasts" (Oh-h-h boy! Got pods?) - pointing out that photography has become "an obtuse and arcane pursuit" in terms of technology. We agree with Mr. Jensen that photography should be about the photograph - and how it affects our emotions, thinking, and how we communicate with each other.

"The arcane raised to new heights -- or lows, you be the judge." (Brooks Jensen)

Coming from a publishing background myself and having spent WAY TOO MUCH time in front of a variety of computers (various platforms, too) and far too many vers. of PhoShop (starting with Photoshop vers. 2.0.1: in 1991), I feel I've lost a crucial sanctuary - photography (for that's what we came here for, no?) - from all that "stuff."

Here is the link to Brooks's commentary ("A Book I Won't be Purchasing" - Copyright, LensWork 2006) - BTW, if you haven't listened in on any of Jensen's photographic commentaries, you might might visit the LensWork Web site and try some out. You can also subscribe to receive them in your email - they're free, too!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Like rolling off a Blog . . . (part two)

From within the Blogosphere - first off, we got the nod from Andy Frazer on his blog - a while back.

Then Michael Johnston, on his excellent Blog, The Online Photographer suggested that people who wish to study the rich field of NPy, should "not miss The Nocturnes Gallery." The post included an image by our own Adam Moore.

Recently, Thomas Hawk blogged The Nocturnes as "one of the best night photography resources on the internet" - in his post, reviewing the work/site of u.linder.

Photo Copyright u.linder
The Landscapist recently suggested that you check out The Nocturnes, if you are likewise fascinated with Night Photography!
Guess we'll be here for a while!

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Not Ready to Make Nice

Image Copyright

Read yesterday's review by Joel Selvin of the SF Chronicle of the Dixie Chicks controversial film, "Shut Up and Sing" at SFGate

Great review (obviously preaching to the choir) - loved the part where Mr. Selvin included the following movie advisory - "Advisory: Newsreel footage of actual politicians is included. " - now, that IS disturbing imagery!

And in related news - Public approval of George's War in Iraq now at a record low of 31% - according to the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll -

Also, visit The Nocturnes Web site - - a Call for Entries for our latest (and most political) online show: "The Nocturnes: Not Ready to Make Nice" has been posted -

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Night School

Here is a project dear to our hearts (we organized a series of photo shoots at night a few years back for a possible show - "Night School" - and I provided the above image of the Angel Mural, done in a darkened hallway at Richardson Hall, "painted with a flashlight"). "Uncommon Knowledge: Closing the Books at UC Berkeley Extension," a film by former UCBx staffer, Eliza Hemenway, enjoys a Special Preview Screening at the Roxie Film Center in San Francisco, 3117 16th St., San Francisco One Night Only! Thursday, November 16, 6:30 PM. Hemenway's haunting film documents the abrupt closure of UC Extension's Laguna Street campus in San Francisco.

Guest Speakers include Producer and Director Eliza Hemenway, Best-Selling Author Gray Brechin (Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin) and SF City Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

Sounds like an evening not to be missed!

To view the trailer on Youtube:

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

But, seriously foks - Midwest Midterm Midtacular

Special election coverage by "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" in the nation's most hotly contested swing state (Oh!-way-to-go-HIO), starts Monday October 30 and continues through Thursday, November 2, 2006.

Also, a half-hour election night special airs live from COMEDY CENTRAL's World News Headquarters in New York City with up-to-the-minute results of the day's races from across the country.

On Tuesday, November 7th, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Indecision 2006 Election Night" premieres at 11:00 p.m. ET.

And, "The Colbert Report" goes live with its own half-hour election night special to The Nation on Tuesday, November 7 at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Visit for more details

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A title no Nocturne should be without . . .

"Night Gallery: The Complete First Season (1969-1971)" has been released on DVD, to the delight of fans of Rod Serling (who wrote "The Twilight Zone" hit series for CBS in the early 60s).

The pilot episode features the initial work of a young director, Steven Spielberg!

We think it's worth a view - or two.

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Riding the Yellow Trolley Car"

As you know, when we conduct our various activities in the SF Bay area, and elsewhere, we like to give the participants a little background on the specific locale that we are lucky enough to be photographing, exhibiting work of, teaching at, etc. It has to do with a reverence for location - Night Photographers (NPrs) are not the paparazzi! Sorry, Paris (Hilton).

A visit to the "Partners in Preservation" program - - recently
brought home that idea, and we were amazed at how many
of the historic locations - all Bay Area - listed we've
been involved with, over the years. From Angel Island
(where we conduct our Annual Photo Camp) to St. Peter's
Chapel, on Mare Island, the Berkeley City Club (we are
offering a first-ever NPy course on the Berkeley
Campus, this fall), and of course the historic F-line
Streetcars, which I have photographed extensively over
the past ten+ years - all our potential recipients for
a grant from the sponsors of this program. Other sites
(sights) we have photographed over the years, and
therefore honor, include Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Station, the Haas Lilienthal House in SF, and South
Murphy Windmill and Spreckel Temple of Music (the
'Bandshell'), in Golden Gate Park.

If you love the Bay Area and its rich historical,
artistic, architectural, and cultural heritage, you
have chance to help these various sites, by casting
your vote for your favorite Bay Area landmark. A $1
million grant is at stake!

Thru October 31, you can vote once-a-day for the sites
you care about. Go to

We'll not state any preferences here - we love them
(Note: "Riding the Yellow Trolley Car" is the name given to William Kennedy's collection of essays, interviews, and reviews - in it, he equates an elusive yellow trolley car with the slippery road to writing fiction - or any creative endeavor.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Paris la Nuit

Photo: Ed Alcock for The New York Times

This article, from the New York Times Travel Dispatch, features an audio/slide show of "Paris Under the Stars" -

You will probably have to sign up with the online Times - it's free, tho.'

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Blackie of Tiburon

So now, we're recommending children's books? Actually, I just listened to an interview with Christopher Cerf and Paige Peterson, authors of "Blackie, the Horse Who Stood Still". The connection between the story of this beloved horse who "mostly stood still," the "slow growth" movement, and the preservaton of Open Space (a beloved topic here at The Nocturnes) is undeniable.

The true story of this horse who stood still in a pasture brings a tear to the eye and is worth having a look at, I think - for the backstory, alone!

Read more at SFGate:

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Like rolling off a Blog . . .

So, yesterday, under the heading “Another Night Photography Blog?” - we got the nod from Andy Frazer on his blog - - guess we've arrived, no?

Photo by Andy Frazer

It was my intent, right up front, to mention some key Night Photographers, Web sites, and blogs that anyone visiting here should check out, but Andy ‘scooped’ me (not unusual) again! Andy's blog and Web site - - were up at the top of that list.

Thanks are always in order . . .

(Note: Only THREE Blogs, Andy?)

Altered States - September 30 Presentation

Hmm-m - smells like NPy spirit, to me! (ed.)

"California's spiritual landscape is as diverse as its natural surroundings. and acclaimed cultural critic Erik Davis’ 45-min. slideshow, The Visionary State, weaves voice and image into a compelling narrative of religion, architecture, and consciousness, from neo-paganism to televangelism, UFO cults to austere Zen Buddhism. Davis brings together the immigrant and homegrown religious influences, part of the region's character from its earliest days, drawing connections between seemingly unlike traditions and celebrating the diversity of California's spiritual composition. Michael Rauner's evocative photographs depict the sites and structures where these traditions have taken root and flourished. PLUS Aron Ranen’s, Powerand Control: LSD in the ‘60s, a peripatetic journey to discover the secret history of psychedelics, with Ram Dass, Krassner, and MK-ULTRA experts." (SquidList)

September 30, 2006
08:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Venue Information

Other Cinema
992 Valencia

SF CA 94110

Additional Event Information 648 0654

Also, of note: An interview with erik Davis at

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed - thanks to SquidList)

Monday, September 25, 2006

September 29 - Exhibition, Lecture, Booksigning - SFAI's Photography Dept's 60th Anniversary

Founded by Ansel Adams, directed by Minor White, and staffed by such luminaries as Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Lisette Model, and Edward Weston, the first fine-art photography department in the US was created in 1946 at San Francisco Art Institute (then called the California School of Fine Arts). In honor of the 60th anniversary of the Photography Department, SFAI presents a series of events including an exhibition, lecture, alumni day, and the launching of The Moment of Seeing: Minor White at the California School of Fine Arts, published by Chronicle Books. Several alumni from the first decade of photography classes, 1946–56, will be attending the celebration and exhibiting their work in The First Decade: 1946–1956, Alumni Photography from SFAI, on view in SFAI’s Diego Rivera Gallery September 25 - 30.

September 29, 6:00pm

The Moment of Seeing: Minor White And The California School Of Fine Arts
A lecture hosted by Deborah Klochko
September 29, 7:30pm, SFAI Lecture Hall

September 29, 9:00pm, SFAI Café

September 30, 10:30–2:30pm, SFAI, panel discussion and lunch with RSVP to Open to the public.


(The Nocturnes NightNews feed - thanks to SquidList)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Welcome to The Nocturnes Night Photography Blog

The Nocturnes is an organization dedicated to night photography. Founded by Tim Baskerville in 1991 in San Francisco, it has grown to become the premier source of information and education pertaining to night photography, as well as an international community for night photographers. "Our mission," states Baskerville, "is to promote night photography, so that people come to think of it beyond the visual cliches of neon lights, Christmas tree lights and fireworks." The purpose of this Blog is to manage the many newsworthy items regarding (or not . . . ) Night Photography (NPy) which we uncover or happen onto, to introduce news items (and people!) of note that might not readily "fit" into the day-to-day information workflow of The Nocturnes Web site, and to broaden our scope to matters of community, politics, the environment, spirituality, and art in general - always, with a "nod" to NPy and the obvious musical references/preferences - it IS The Nocturnes, after all.

Q. Now, whose turn is it?
A. It's The Noc-turnes!

See you all, real soon!

Susan Nichols, Tegwen, and Tim Baskerville

(Tim Baskerville received his B.F.A. in photography and liberal arts from the University of San Francisco. He has been photographing at night for more than 25 years, and currently teaches night photography at U.C. Berkeley Extension in San Francisco and Berkeley, U.C. Santa Cruz. and the College of Marin. He has taught at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, Boston; RayKo Photo Center, San Francisco.