Thursday, December 31, 2009

Famous Blue Raincoat

"It's four in the morning, the end of December
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better
New York is cold, but I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton Street all through the evening

"I hear that you're building your house deep in the desert
Are you living for nothing now, hope you're keeping some kind of record."
(Famous Blue Raincoat by L. Cohen)

("Oh what can I tell you / What can I possibly say?")
Every once in a Blue Moon . . .

"Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own."
(words by Lorenz Hart, music by Richard Rodgers)

I had to chuckle recently (attending the Emigre "Look Back" opening at Gallery 16) at the presentation and talk of the so-called "legibility wars" in typography in the 1990s (with a name like 'Baskerville,' you were expecting . . . what?) and the upcoming (at the time) full blue moon for this December 31 - with a moniker like 'The Nocturnes,' you were expecting . . . what_2?

Anyway, included here is an announcement sent out (via US Postal Service!) to the 'usual suspects' (circa 1996, in the period between the orginal Nocturnes exhibit - 1991 - and the inaugural launch of The Nocturnes Web site) with proof that the 'legibilty wars' reached as far as the nocturnal lunar surface! (you can CLICK! on images for more 'legibility')


See the third Blog entry below for more about Emigre, and read more about Blue Moons here.

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Friday, December 25, 2009

St. Stephen's Day Murders

This, from the Bells of Dublin, an album of Christmas songs and traditional carols by The Chieftans, with various guest artists:

"I knew of two sisters whose name it was Christmas,
And one was named Dawn of course, the other one was named Eve.
I wonder if they grew up hating the season,
The good will that lasts til the Feast of St. Stephen.

Holiday Dream Date by Tim Baskerville

"For that is the time to eat, drink, and be merry,
Til the beer is all spilled and the whiskey has flowed.
And the whole family tree you neglected to bury,
Are feeding their faces until they explode.

"There'll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias,
Mixed up with that drink made from girders.
’Cause it's all we've got left as they draw their last breath,
Ah, it's nice for the kids, as you finally get rid of them,
In the St. Stephen's Day Murders."
(Lyrics by Declan MacManus [EC, to his fans] and Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains)

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Monday, December 21, 2009


Three images from Suite: Dream Dates are included in Selections 2010 - ArtSpan's prestigious biennial juried exhibition - January 7 - 22, 2010 at California Modern Gallery, 1035 Market Street in San Francisco.

(Badwater, Study 1 / Dream Date #9 / Porter Brothers Store, Rhyolite)

The work of 20 San Francisco Open Studios artists were chosen for Selections 2010: Steven Allen, Tim Baskerville, Flora Davis, Monica Denevan, Jennifer Ewing, Mark Faigenbaum, Rebecca Fox, Art Hazelwood, Marvin Johnson, Sandra Kelch, Mike Kimball, David King, Brian McDonald, Erika Meriaux, Sarah Newton, Mirena Rhee, Thierry Rosset, Ron Moultrie Saunders, Schnetzler Photography [part of our own Studio Nocturne group!], and Gavin Worth.

Reception on January 14 from 6 - 9pm

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Emigre at 25

From the Press Release:
"The design work of Emigre will be on display at San Francisco's Gallery 16 from December 18, 2009 through January 30, 2010.

"The exhibit, which coincides with the recent publication of Emigre No.70: The Look Back Issue (Gingko Press), features a selection of work spanning the entire Emigre enterprise, including a collection of press sheets of Emigre magazine covers, promotional posters for Emigre Music and Emigre Fonts, as well as books [Ed. Note: see the highly recommended Trilogy of Palm Desert, Joshua Tree, and Cucamonga - all about Southern California and the desert], prints, photographs, and much more. A series of six specially designed large-sized digital prints to celebrate Emigre's longstanding relationship with Gallery 16 will also be on view.

December 18, 2009 - January 30, 2010
Gallery 16, 501 3rd Street, San Francisco, California.

Opening reception and book signing December 18th, 6-9 pm."

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon . . .

"Pick up your hat, close up your flat,
Get out, get under the moon!"
(Larry Shay (m), William Jerome (l), Charles Tobias (l), 1928

Tonight is December's FIRST full moon, followed by a second (a "Blue Moon") on December 31, 2009 - enjoy it! The song is a performance by Helen Kane with Nat Shilkret & his Orchestra, July 16 1928, in New York.

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Of interest to Mare Island Nocturnes . . .

Today's SF Chronicle gives an update on redevelopment of Mare Island - and a sort of cautionary tale for the citizens of San Francisco.

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Random Notes (but no more than two . . .)

Legendary bassist Scott LaFaro is featured in the Holiday 2009 issue of BassPlayer magazine, as well as the December issue of Jazz Times.

With a life cut way too short (auto accident in 1961, age 25) Mr. LaFaro. nonetheless became a huge influence on future bassists as diverse as Charlie Haden, Miroslav Vitous, Jaco Pastorius, Jack Casady; and is credited by many (like the late SF Chronicle's Jazz Critic Ralph J. Gleason) for giving bass players a "voice," heretofore unheard.

Also released this fall: a book by LaFaro's sister ("Jade Visions: The Life and Music of Scott LaFaro"), and a CD of a Practice Session with Bill Evans ( The essential record of LaFaro's brilliance as a bassist, and of Evan's trio-work remains the 3CD set: "Bill Evans, The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961."

Yet another "Dream Date?" (see below) - this video of "29 Palms" in which Robert continues the chase of his desert muse.

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

("29 Palms / I feel the heat of your desert heart / Leading me back down the road / that leads back to you")

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Other Dream Date . . .

Doesn't the setting for this video (one of my faves) just look like something out near Tecopa or Shoshone in the Mojave? Anyone recognize it? - the video is from 1983, I believe.

BTW, Joe Reifer, guest instructor for our recent trek to Death Valley, has posted some images, found items, and commentary from the trip to his Web site and Blog. My images from the trip will be posted shortly - soon as I scan the film!

Is it time to go back, yet?

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Night Photography (in five words or less)

"Behind The Wall of Sleep"
GP - with The Smithereens!

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

("And she stood just like Bill Wyman . . .")

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Night Photography - CD SetList

"I came to the conclusion some time ago that the desert is paradoxical - what's true one year might not be true the next."
(from David Darlington's book "The Mojave: A Portrait of the definitive American Desert")

Dream Date #8, Death Valley

Really gearing up for this year's trek down thru the Central Valley to that greatest of Deserts, the Mojave - and our Death Valley NPy Workshop! I have the setlist for the 10-hour drive (over two days) all set up - many of the connections made are obvious (songs like Wild Horse Road, Next Best Western, Kern River, Willin') - other titles, CDs are more oblique, for sure: (Powderfinger, Sketches of Spain, Ultra, Barber's Adagio) - but hey, it's my setlist for a Dream Date!

Northline - soundtrack to the book by Willy Vlautin, Paul Brainhard
California Bloodlines by John Stewart
Feast of Wine by Calexico
The Joshua Tree - U2
Any Day Now (Songs of Bob Dylan) by Joan Baez
The Caution Horses by Cowboy Junkies
Music for the Native Americans - Robbie Robertson
Invisible 5 - critical enviro-audio tour of Interstate 5 by Kim Stringfellow
The Shepherd's Dog by Iron and Wine
Ultra by Depeche Mode
Courier by Richard Shindell
Spirit Horses - R. Carlos Nakai, James DeMars
American 5: A Hundred Highways - Johnny Cash
Chinatown - The Be Good Tanyas
Wrecking Ball - Emmylou Harris
Eponymous album by Cry Cry Cry
First Love, Last Rites by Cockrobin
Sketches of Spain - Miles Davis
Barber's Adagio - Various Artists
The Story by Brandi Carlisle
Unearthed, Vol. 5 - Johnny Cash
The Phoenix Concerts - John Stewart
West of the West - Dave Alvin
Now Again - The Flatlanders

Oh! And there's still time to late-register for the Full Moon Night Photography Workshop held in Death Valley, October 30-31 and November 1, 2009 - details at - call or fax in registration for this great trip! We need to hear from you by Monday . . .

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Night Photography (in five words or less)

"And breathe . . . just breathe"
Anna Nalick's "Breathe (2 A.M.)"

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We're full of good ideas . . .

Coinciding with the Ken Burns' documentary on the National Parks, ABC News picked the "Top Ten" parks, ranking our own favorite, Death Valley National Park - wait for it! - #1! Ranking right above Yellowstone, the first National Park! Their description follows the pic below - from Rhyolite Ghost Town (done on our last trek down there) just outside the Park's boundaries.

From ABC News:
"Death Valley National Park This might be a controversial pick for the top spot on our list. But there is a reason: Death Valley's vast size and remoteness make it feel isolated. You aren't going to trip over busloads full of tourists here. You aren't going to need to fight your way to the canyon railing to get that photo op. Some days in Death Valley, you are lucky if there are other cars on the highway with you.

Death Valley is about 140 miles long and has 3.4 million acres of desert and mountains, making it the largest national park in the contiguous United States.

It is the hottest, driest and lowest place around.

The park, about a two-hour drive from Las Vegas, is best visited in the spring when wildflowers can bloom or the winter when it is cool enough to walk around. By May the valley is too hot for most visitors, yet throughout the hottest months, visitors from around the world still flock to the park. Lodging and camping are available, but only the most hardy will want to camp in the low elevations in the summer. Most summer visitors tour by car to the main points of interest along the paved roads but do little else due to the extreme heat

In July of 1913, the temperature hit a shocking 134 degrees in the valley. It hasn't been that hot since, but other days have come close. Back on July 6, 2007, it touched 129 degrees. At that point, what's the difference? The summer of 2001 came with 154 consecutive days where temperatures reached 100 degrees. And 1996 was the hottest summer on record with 40 days over 120 degrees. Wow.

But if you can stand the heat, the park is simply spectacular. The park has many different attractions, including vast sand dunes and high peaks overlooking the valley.

But the real highlight is Badwater Basin. At 282 feet below sea level, is not just the lowest place in the park, it's the lowest in North America. It's a surreal landscape of vast salt flats. Walking across it - in cooler weather - makes visitors feel like they are walking on the moon. Or at least some unearthly place.

Nearby, is the Devil's Golf Course, an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. The area is so serrated that it was once said that "only the devil could play golf on such rough links."

If you prefer some simpler links, the Furnace Creek Golf Course provides a more traditional game. It also happens to be the lowest in the world."

BTW, we have extended the registration period for our annual trek down to Death Valley (October 30-31, and November 1, 2009) to this coming Monday, October 5th. See below or follow this link.

(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Best ideas . . .

Ken Burns' best idea yet - the new PBS series, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." On most PBS stations, starting this Sunday September 27 - check local listings.

Along those lines, another good idea . . . There is still a great opportunity to photograph at night with The Nocturnes, in the California desert, coming up, October 30, 31 and November 1, 2009. This workshop will be held in the spectacular, surreal, extreme landscape of Death Valley National Park.

Badwater, Study 1, Death Valley by Tim Baskerville - from the Dream Dates series

Death Valley, at more than 3 million acres, is the largest National Park in the contiguous United States. From Telescope Peak (11,049 foot) on the west to Dante's View on the east (5,475 foot and offering a vista of nearly all of Death Valley), the park features spectacular desert scenery, unusual wildlife, and is an area of great geological, historical, and cultural interest to many. Badwater is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (282 feet below sea level). The average high temperature during the day in November is a very mild 76 degrees, followed by cooler nights at around 50 degrees!

This is the dramatic landscape we will find ourselves visiting this November, during the Full "Frost" Moon - to photograph the nocturnal beauty of Death Valley! We will photograph around Furnace Creek Ranch, and such sites as the Ghost town of Rhyolite, Zabriskie Point under the light of the full moon, and the majestic Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells, near the north end of the Park.

Absolute drop-deadline to register with us AND reserve accomodations down at Furance Creek is September 30th - more info here with a registration form here.

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Simply . . . transformative

"With the eyes of a child
You must come out and see
That your world’s spinning round . . ."
("Eyes of a Child" - Moody Blues, 1969)

Looking both very 'other-worldly' and a bit like a scale model of some kind of fantastic magical sculpture/structure, check out Jamey Stillings' nightwork of the Colorado River Bridge, Hoover Dam Bypass Project - at his Web site - CLICK! on Projects (at bottom of page) and then Colorado River Bridge.

From his introduction to the series: "Watching the bridge's construction, especially at night, is both magical and inspring. This series combines my photographic and aesthetic sensibilities with a reawakened sense of childhood curiosity and awe."

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"Log on to the Mystery Tour . . . "

The numerology of today's post (note the date) and a series of addresses, releases, and deliveries have given pause to us, here at The Nocturnes.

- Today marked the long-awaited release of "The Beatles: Rock Band" video game (see commentary below)

- Digitally remastered versions of the entire studio catlog of the Beatles were released today (after a 22-year wait). Available at your nearest Starbucks, Quiznos, Ace Hardware (the usual suspects) - oh-h and some record stores, too!

- Today Apple Computer did NOT deliver the Beatles catalog to iTunes (now iTunes 9).

- Leica formally introduced the M-9 (there's that # again!)

- President Obama delivered another 'teachable moment' (and a scolding) - no. not to elementary-school students - but to the American poeple and the foes of his Health Care Reform plan.

- Now, another "teachable moment" - from a photographic perspective. In the New York Times
coverage of "The Beatles: Rock Band" Seth Schiesel waxes pretty eloquently about the release (and not from a boomer, reverential frame of reference): " . . . no video game has ever brought more parents together with their teenage and adult children than "The Beatles: Rock Band" likely will in the months and years to come." But, our favorite obsevation by the author is this one: "Yet there is something about video games that seems to inspire true anger in some older people.Why is that? Is there still really a fear that a stylized representation of reality detracts from reality itself? In recent centuries every new technology for creating and enjoying music - the phonograph, the electric guitar, the Walkman, MTV, karaoke, the iPod - has been condemned as the potential death of "real" music."

Now, here I'll translate, for all you photo-types out there: "In recent centuries [mid-19th, 20th, and now 21st] every new technology for creating and enjoying photography - the glass plate, safety film, 35mm film, early Leicas, in-camera metering, SLRs, Canon A-1, Olympus OM-2, electronic exposure control, Pho'Shop, all things d-i-g-i-t-a-l - has been condemned as the potential death of "real" photography." Or, something like that.

Seth goes on to conclude: "But music is eternal. Each new tool for creating it, and each new technology for experiencing it, only brings the joy of more music to more people. This new game is a fabulous entertainment that will not only introduce the Beatles’ music to a new audience but also will simultaneously bring millions of their less-hidebound parents into gaming."

Lesson learned?

(". . . number nine, number nine, number nine . . . ")

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Need a few more Nocturnists . . .

Image by former CofM student Roberto Renzetti

Looking for a few more people to round out the Night Photography Course I'm teaching over at College of Marin, Kentfield Campus. You'll need to hurry, tho' - deadline to register is THIS WEDNESDAY, September 9, 2009. Visit the College of Marin Web site for registration and more information. Class runs Fridays from September 11th thru October 23rd. Locations include some of the most scenic spots in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Presidio and the Marin Headlands.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Simulacra and Night Photography

Today, we'd like to highlight Massimo Cristaldi's images of votive altars in Sicily. In a recent "Lens" feature of the venerable Photo Blog of the New York Times, James Estrin writes: "Simulacra of simulacra," is how Massimo Cristaldi describes his photographs of small roadside votive altars in Sicily — "overwhelmed by galloping globalization and by general indifference."

See more at Massimo's Web site.

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Even though . . .

"Smile, though your heart is aching;
Smile, even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile, and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shining through for you."

Smile recorded by Nat King Cole (1954)
Music by Charlie Chaplin, from film "Modern Times" (1936)
Lyrics by John Turner/Geoffrey Parsons

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Massachusetts Requiem

"And the lights all went down in Massachusetts
And Massachusetts is one place I have seen.
I will remember Massachusetts..."
(Massachusetts - BGs, 1967)

Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009
(Three perspectives, from Photographers - in this space, at The Online Photographer and at The Landscapist)

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Night Photography (in five words or less)

"I faked a little Chopin . . ."
(Chopin's Prelude Op. 28: No. 4
- From the 1970 film "Five Easy Pieces")

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fiery Nocturne

Photograph by David Yu

Today, in the "City Exposed" (Style Section/Back Page) feature of the San Francisco Chronicle - with their new color printing capabilities - we saw this image, emblazoned on the page. Chron Staffer Mike Kepka writes about Poi artist Isa Isaacs and Photographer David Yu's recent project: Photographing the fire spinning performance in front of various San Francisco Landmarks.

FYI - the story is available online with audio (imagine that!) here.

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

("I think I've gotten three second-degree burns . . . in nine years of spinning." - from audio clip)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Night Photography (in five words or less)

"Fly me to the moon . . . "
(Nat King Cole)

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Night Photography in San Francisco - A Teachable Moment

Looking for a few more people to round out the 3-night Workshop I'm doing for RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco. Starts THIS THURSDAY, August 6 and continues on the 13th and 20th. You can call RayKo at 415.495.3773 for more information, and to register. SOMA locations include Yerba Buena Gardens (normally "off-limits" to Night Photographers, their tripods, and myriad flashlights after dark), and along the Embarcadero.

(From the desk of The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man; for The [not so] Daily Nocturne)
Night Photography (in five words or less)

"The wild and windy night . . ."
The Beatles (clip where Paul turns 'here' into a four-syllable word)

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Friday, July 31, 2009

Night Photography - The Ecotone

Lake Mountain, 2008 - Copyright Jarrett Murphy

"Nice, clean painting-with-light images of the kind of work most people can live with . . ." - assessment by Tom Paiva of the work of Jarrett Murphy - recently added to The Nocturnes O. Winston Links page, and a featured artist at PhotoEye's "Photographer's Showcase" this week. Subtle lighting - almost sculptural - effects, shades of Gregory Crewdson brought to the nocturnal landscape.

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

("To draw people back to reality, it must become hyper-real." - from the Artist statement at PhotoEye)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Night Photography (in five words or less)

"Nightswimming deserves a quiet night . . ."
R.E.M. (in this clip, lookin' like a Blue Nocturne)

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lunar Photography

"So the great affair is over / but whoever would have guessed /
It would leave us all so vacant / and so deeply unimpressed /
It's like our visit to the moon / or to that other star/
I guess you go for nothing / if you really want to go that far"
—from "Death of a Ladies' Man," Leonard Cohen (1977)

This was the day in history, forty years ago - mentioned in this
earlier post - when Americans first stepped onto the surface of the moon - to make a few photographs, with a Hasselblad or two.

As Mike Johnston of TOP points out: "The moon was the ultimate Everest—we planted a flag and then hightailed it back to where we belong, for no real reason but because it was there. But what a thing it is to have done!" [exclamation point, mine].

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Friday, July 17, 2009

Night Photography (in five words or less)

Case Study House No. 22
(Julius Shulman 1910-2009)

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Quite a different type of Full Moon
Night Photography

It's been noted (everywhere it seems - from the Blogs, to Fox, and NASA itself) that today is the 40th anniversary of the launch (MTV moment here) of
Apollo 11, with Armstrong and Aldrin's moonwalk occurring 4 days later, in 1969. NASA is streaming real-time audio transcripts of the mission and there are new (X-treme sharpening in play?) images from back in the day - it's like Woodstock: "Where were you. . ." You can even learn about some of the camera gear the lads used (and left) up there!

Which bring us to this little item - R.E.M. performing with Bruce Springsteen (!) at a Vote for Change concert in Washington, a while back.

Michael cleaned up pretty nicely, don't you think?

("If you believed . . . ")

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Continued Nocturnal Wanderings
of Lynn Saville

"In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down,
And cut him 'til he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
'I am leaving, I am leaving.'
But the fighter still remains."
("The Boxer," Paul Simon/Art Garfunkel)

Fulton Landing Warehouse

As Arthur C. Danto implies in his Introduction to Night/Shift - to appreciate Lynn Saville's new book, we first might look at her previous text, Acquainted with the Night. Which is a nice way to look at an artist’s work, we think – to get some sense of continuity, change, progress – the larger view, as it were. Luckily we have the vast resources of The Nocturnes Night Photography Library at our beck and call – so here we go! It’s no secret that Ms. Saville’s first book of NPy is a long-time favorite of ours, for I’ve included discussion of it in my History of Night Photography lectures (and, no, NPy wasn’t invented at!) since its publication in 1997; along with two other landmark monographs of the 1990s - both b/w photography, as well – Luca Campigotto’s Venice Night and Alan Delaney’s London After Dark.

Much of the work in Acquainted with the Night appears to be shorter exposures, maybe even handheld, offering an immediacy, a reactance, almost a voyeuristic thrill to the scenes we are witnesses to. The book is a contemplative look into the mysteries of the night, coupled with timeless passages of poetry dealing with various aspects of the nocturne.

As Mr. Danto notes, Night/Shift presents a seemingly "abrupt discontinuity" in the continued nocturnal wanderings of Ms. Saville. The Shift most evident is the presence of color - Acquainted with the Night was all black-and-white NPy with plenty of supporting text, including a foreward by Bill Moyers. In contrast, Night/Shift "reads" more like a typical artist's monograph: large-sized, full page plates in vivid color, simply adorned with titles, many times on otherwise blank, facing pages. With the exception of the introduction and a brief commentary by Ms. Saville at the end of the book, no other text appears, relying instead on the images (with brief, mostly geographical descriptions for titles) to tell the story. A story we all know, filtered anew thru that unique lens, the eye of the photographer: lonely walkways at night, forbidden, forlorn passageways (to what? - more darkness?) abandoned sites amidst the glow of one of the world's great metropolises, solitary quiet moments amid the constant hum of the city. One other comparison/contrast: while I still consider Acquainted with the Night to be a memoir of discrete New York moments, that text did include images from other locales (I recently noted Dingle, Ireland!) - with the new book, there is no denying the source of Ms. Saville's nocturnal attractions – this is a "greater New York" tome.

In her commentary, Lynn points out that most of the work in Night/Shift was mostly done during twilight (either evening or pre dawn – straying again from most of the work in the previous text) - that elusive period which "is a kind of fluid boundary between daylight and full night." And, in a recent interview with
Double Exposure she tells us that she photographed the images in this book with medium format film cameras - we assume another departure from its predecessor: most likely 35mm film cameras.

While Mr. Danto states that the images of Night/Shift remind him of “the Paris of Atget” - I would like to point out another possible point of linkage - between Lynn Saville's work and “the New York of
Jan Staller,” another New York nocturnal who has been drawn to photograph the great urban center at night. Again, we know the story – but the Shift comes about with the uniqueness, the interpretation of the quietude - that is Lynn’s alone.

"Then I’m laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone
Going home
Where the New York City winters
Aren’t bleeding me,
Leading me,
Going home."
("The Boxer," Paul Simon/Art Garfunkel)

Ken at George Washington Bridge
In addition to the above images, some particular highlights for this reviewer include:
On page 9 – Smith and Ninth Streets (elevated station, hauntingly lonely in its simplicity)
Page 13 – West 42nd Street (and the cover of the book)
Page 18 – Kentile Floors (also the back cover of book - subtle pastels and chain link fences – the best of the NPy world!)
Page 59 – Pepsi-Cola Sign (my fascination for the back of neon signs is validated!)

More images from the book (as well as other earlier work) can be viewed at Lynn's site and the Paul Kopeikin Gallery site.
Please consider purchasing the book thru this link or in the Books Section of The Nocturnes Web site.

The next Lecture and Book signing will be held Wednesday, July 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, Tribeca, 97 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007 – more details can be found on Lynn’s site.

Lastly, Lynn has some 20 x 24 inch Chromogenic Prints from Night/Shift on view at Yancey Richardson Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, NYC, NY - thru August 28th. Summer hours there are Monday - Friday, 10-6pm.

(From the desk of The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man;
for The [not so] Daily Nocturne)

Night Photography (in five words or less)

"Because the night . . ."
(Patti Smith)

From The [not so] Daily Nocturne

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Zircon-encrusted Nocturne . . .

The other day on the radio there was a segment, "The parade of States" - featuring songs that mention or allude to the various states of this frail union. Included some obvious selections: "Sweet Home Alabama" (Lynyrd Skynyrd), "Carolina on My Mind" (James Taylor), "Private Idaho" (B-52s), and "Massachusetts" (Bee Gees); but also some more obscure, darker choices: "Texas" (Chris Rea), and "Montana" by Frank Zappa. This last one, long a fave, sent me scurrying to YouTube for a performance video - and, great luck! - found this from Swedish Television (1973).

Forgot what a snappy dresser Mr. Zappa could be!

The [not so] Daily Nocturne, July 4th Edition

("Well I might / Ride along the border / With my tweezers gleamin' / In the moon-lighty night")

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Hound of The Baskervilles III

"Baskerville shuddered as he looked up the long, dark drive to where the house glimmered like a ghost at the farther end."

Moving on now, with these images, to a little darker scenario - considering the recent spate of Blog commentaries (on
The Online Photographer and The Landscapist Blogs) re: whether or not "the gear describes the vision" or is it something else. I know first-hand that when I was first learning, "cutting my teeth" on the nuances of photographing the nocturne (with transparency film - remember that, kids?) - as I tell my students: "after awhile it seemed that the materials described the vision" (limited tonal range, the need to avoid blown-out highlights, etc.). Now, how is that any different in the digital age - with its multitude of choices - color or b/w, a selection of white balances (color balance in film terms), adjustable ISO (ASA) settings (with ever-improving quality at high ISO speeds)? The medium (film) is simply replaced by the gear, it would seem - hardly a shock there, in our frantic, technology-driven society.

"Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!" (Dr Mortimer)

About the time I was pondering the above photographic conundrum (I mean, the G10 can't walk the dog!) I was listening to this fascinating story on NPR about our human lives with canines (some 10,000 - 15,000 years, now) - interviews with Stanley Coren, author, "The Modern Dog: A Joyful Exploration of How We Live with Dogs Today" and Cesar Milan ("The Dog Whisperer") - about how things have changed markedly in the last 15 years in the relationships we have (and the care we give) with dogs. Susan and I like to kid that Tegwen likes to think of us as her 'management team" - a well-meaning, but not particularly efficient one!

"A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog."

Enjoy these images (up to 1 second in length exposures) - for, much like Conan Doyle's serialization of the book - more, darker ones to follow . . . (in The [not so] Daily Nocturne)

("So, the dog's and human worlds are really intermingling . . . " - from
TTBOOK story)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ruby Nocturne (but no more than two . . .)

Night Photography news/views from The [not so] Daily Nocturne:

First of all - this Paris performance (1969) by the Thelonius Monk Quartet: "Ruby, My Dear" - 'nuff said?

Page Two: this image - below - from The Nocturnes' good friend, Troy Paiva (whose second book, "Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration," was selected as the Best Special Trade Photography Book of the year at the recent New York Book Festival) - here exploring the connections 'tween NPy, music, irony, and the color red (originally pointed out courtesy of Andy Frazer's Blog). BTW, by now his Web site should be revamped with a new look - check it out!

Do check back in again, for these NPy/musical connections . . . (in The [not so] Daily Nocturne)

(Oh, Ruby, don't take your love to town . . . )

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Hound of The Baskervilles II

". . . I counsel you by way of caution to forbear from crossing the moor in those dark hours when the powers of evil are exalted."
(Hugo Baskerville's document, read by Dr Mortimer)

"They say it is the cry of the Hound of the Baskervilles.’"
(Holmes, to Sir Henry after hearing the sound).

Continuing now, with the investigation (elementary?) of the text, the G10, the question of how much blur/noise/etc. is too much, and the hazards of working with a canine model, Eschewing a tripod, working hand-held, with shutter speeds hovering 'round one-half to one full second (or two) in length, likewise concerning oursleves very little with substantial depth of field (not out usual best practices) - with these images we started honing in on certain elements of the 'near nocturne' - all the while recalling passages of this most famous work by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

"Life has become like that great Grimpen Mire, with little green patches everywhere into which one may sink and with no guide to point the track." (Dr. Watson)

More to follow . . . (in The [not so] Daily Nocturne)

("But now we have to prove the connection between the man and the beast.")

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Revolution WILL be tweeted . . .
(with apologies to Gil Scott Heron)

Amazing scenes, crowds, and bits (tweets) of stories coming out of Iran, post "election." Does everyone see the irony in Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reluctantly responding to a twitter-fueled "not-exactly-flash-mob?"

Read all about it: here, here, and here.

Stay tuned (we should all . . . )

("The revolution will be no re-run, brothers / The revolution will be live.")

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Magical Mystery Tour

An interesting column/pop quiz by Jon Carroll in Friday's San Francisco Chronicle - available online at SFGate, and worth a read, I think - and no way related to this earlier post in this space.

So, which one is it?

("Roll up . . .")

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Hound of The Baskervilles

"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

- From "Silver Blaze" (1892) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Beginning this past January, and continuing thru late April (when, for us, the 'twilight hour' moved beyond a workable time-slot), I was in the habit of walking Tegwen (Golden Retriever) AND the G10 (Canon) 'round Mare Island - moreover, photographing Tegwen while learning the capabilities, limitations of the G10 (a great little camera, BTW!). The wintry, wet and windy conditions, the fact that we live so close to the wetlands (read: bog, moor, or moorland), and some of the reasons stated in the previous blog post got us thinking (uh, oh!) - about one of our favorite (too obvious?) works of literature, One we think is very suited to long walks in the countryside, 'round the periphery of the bog. Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles," long an inspiration for us, contains many memorable passages that drive home that almost primal attraction of NPy and the mysteries of the nocturne. And of course, nothing says mystery and heart-stopping, murderous terror in the night like a Golden Retriever, right?

{:<)} .

Working within the camera's range of slo-o-w-w photography (up to 15 sec exposures, max) and an uncooperative (tho' still devoted) canine model we set out into the twilight and beyond, to see what these 'puppies' could do. Giving in to some slow shutter speeds (not paying too much attention to focus/sharpness/etc.) and some deliberate camera movement seemed OK - a scene as you might experience out on the darkened moorland with a 'hell-hound' on your trail (Wow! - managed to work a Robert Johnson reference in there . . . !) . Some of our results follow. Quotes, except where noted, are from the text of "The Hound of The Baskervilles" (1902) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

"Dr. Mortimer turned the manuscript to the light and read in a high, crackling voice the following curious, old-world narrative:-
"Of the origin of the Hound of the Baskervilles there have been many statements, yet as I come in a direct line from Hugo Baskerville, and as I had the story from my father, who also had it from his, I have set down with all belief that it occurred even as is here set forth."

"Baskerville was in the habit every night before going to bed of walking down the famous Yew Alley of Baskerville Hall."

More to follow . . . (in The [not so] Daily Nocturne)

("Life has become like that great Grimpen Mire . . ." )

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Stormy Nocturne

With the return of precip to northern California (rare in June!) we're thinking a lot of those long walks from the past winter - the rain-slickened streets, fast-moving storm clouds, abrupt bursts of rainfall, wild looking skies - mostly done around twilight and a little later . . .

. . . And this video by Clannad with a young upstart named Bono. Back in the day, one could imagine Máire (of the family Ní Bhraonáin), Bono, and their respective bandmates sitting 'round the turf-fire, after a hard day walking the bogs and famine roads (filming music videos!) in the West of Ireland, drifting in and out of bits of conversation in Gaelic. Of course, this was before Bono decided to save/direct the world's billions of people (and U2's billions of €uros!).

While not in a league with Joe Reifer's (he belongs to a league? - who knew!) infamous walks - one covered the length of Mission Street, another all of Geary Street/Blvd, and the current "Every Street in Albany" (hm-mm, maybe we should have a William Kennedy quote here) - these evening walks on Mare Island provided relaxation, exercise, reflection, and a time/space to ponder new connections between twilight, photography, literature, the Celtic world, the canine world, and how the medium/gear shapes our message.

More about this, to follow.

(In a lifetime . . . )

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


We would like to celebrate/share the release of New York Photographer Lynn Saville's new book of Night Photography - Night/Shift. Published by Random House/The Monacelli Press, this hardcover text includes 80 color photographs, with an Introduction by Arthur C. Danto, art critic for The Nation.

A book tour is currently underway with appearances around NYC on June 5 at ICP, June 12 at Bookcourt, and July 15 at the B+N, Tribeca - details can be found on her site.

Also look for a review of the book in this space in the near future!

BTW, did you know that Lynn was the Juror for The Nocturnes 2000, our first online
exhibit in 2000 (and back when Lynn was mostly doing b/w work!) - my, but how The Nocturnes family has grown . . .

(From the desk of The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Piglight Piglet

This image from our latest San Francisco NPy Workshop, where we introduced the newest member of Team Nocturne - Lighting Specialist, Level One, Piglight Piglet! Not only does he come with his own internal light sustem, but he has a lot to say.

(Oink . . .)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Words . . .

"Singing words, words, between the lines of age."
- Words by Neil Young

So, what happened to Conscientious, Jörg Colberg's weblog about fine-art photography (linked, over on the right side of this Blog)? For a brief period last week, we asked the same question.

Turns out to be a (not-so-short, I'm sure!) "three-day meltdown" of his hosting service. Temporarily, there is Conscientious In Limbo, where we found this post today (Saturday, May 9) in which the author discusses artist statements, words, "crits," and who defines one's work. We fully agree with this statement from the blog: "Listen, if you can't tell what your work is all about, someone else will define it for you."

Good to see you're still Conscientious, Jörg!

(" . . . I'm sitting here hoping this water will boil.")

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Rancho Nocturne

Entrance to Rush Ranch by Tim Baskerville

Next week (Thursday, May 7) The Nocturnes offer a special one-night NPy Workshop at the 2,070 acre Rush Ranch Open Space, out by Grizzly Island on the Suisun Marsh in Solano County. This is a benefit for the Rush Ranch Educational Council - read more about Rush Ranch and the Solano Land Trust here, and The Nocturnes Full Moon NPy Workshop here.

There are still a few spots open for the 'shop!

(From the desk of The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Harlem Nocturne

Sam "The Man" Taylor's rendition of "Harlem Nocturne," composed by Earle Hagan in 1939 for the Ray Noble Orchestra and recorded by Mr. Taylor in 1955 for MGM.

(Just honkin' out your daily Nocturne . . .)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just "Nocturnes"

Catchy Title #2! - see Blog from last year here. Now, discover this new text - "Nocturnes" - by German-born, Paris-based Jürgen Nefzger - available thru The Nocturnes link to Amazon

While you're waiting for your copy of the book to arrive, pay a visit to Jürgen's Web site to see this sequencing of images from the Nocturnes series, as one makes the journey from the top of nearby mountains, down to the pavement and architecture of the night in the city of Clermont-Ferrand in France.

(". . on the lookout for the first glow of dawn that will not break.")

Friday, April 17, 2009

Random Notes - again, no more than two

Music ("Strange Overtones" by Brian Eno & David Byrne) and video by Jon Yeo for tomorrow, April 18, which is national Record Store Day. If you can find an independently owned record store, support it! Find out more about this event and for a list of participating stores in your area see

Me? I plan to visit my local Rasputin's.

(These beats are 20 years old . . .)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Blonde Nocturne - but no more than two

The lyrics quoted in the footnote of the post below: "Hey there, you with the stars in your eyes . . . " are from the classic pop tune "Hey There" recorded best by Rosemary Clooney (you know, George's aunt!) and a #1 on the Billboard chart in 1954.

In keeping with the smokey Blonde Nocturne theme, see Duffy - you may know her as the Anti-Amy ["Whine"-house] here - I'm not so sure about the video production of "Warwick Avenue" - one extended, closeup, static shot - but she is surely chanelling someone from 60s Motown there - the tune is reminiscent of tracks by Smokey Robinson or the Temptations.

(Or are you not seein' things too clear?)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Star Parties

The San Francisco Amateur Astronomers are sponsoring three upcoming star parties, out at Lands End, San Francisco, part of the "100 Hours of Astronomy" event this week. See The Urban Astronomer Blog (which, BTW will now have a link on our Blog - see to right) for all the details.
As Paul Salazar (TUA) points out, people outside SF can check the "100 Hours" website for events in their area.
(Hey there, you with the stars in your eyes . . .)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kind of Blue Nocturne

"Everybody knows what Kind of Blue is." (Ron Carter)

A poignant little note here, we think. Year 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the recording of Miles Davis' landmark work "Kind of Blue."

We referred to this recording in the original prospectus for the "Blue Nocturne" and the newly acquired CD has been in constant rotation of late.

To commemorate this event Columbia Records last year released the 50th Anniversary Edition (multi-disk) and just this year a "Legacy Edition" (two less disks the Anniversary version). We been stewards for two album (elpee) versions of the recording, at least one CD release, and now the Legacy edition. Just a C-note (and that's not a musical reference in this instance!) away from acquiring the full 4-disc Anniversary edition! Now, if you REALLY want to support The Nocturnes you could check out our Wish List (Navbar to the right) - it's listed there.

("I can see for miles . . .")

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Blue Nocturne

Bonneville Speedway, Study VI by Adam Kuehl

Our latest online exhibit of Night Photography is now available for viewing here. Why not have a look or two and let us know what you think, by leaving a comment below.

(From the desk of The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

What I LIKE about the Internet, Part Two . . . or Three

On a rainy Sun[NOT]day in Northern California - nothing quite like the warm tones of Jack Casady's bass (dubbed "Mission Control" by the members of Jefferson Airplane) and some Hot Tuna. "Hesitation Blues," circa 1970. This gem, courtesy of the Internet and YouTube.

I guess when they did the on-screen credits, they knew Jack needed no introduction . . .

(Tell me how long, do I have to wait . . .)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Call for Entries

Please, DO ENTER! The invites all interested artists to enter our latest online Night Photography Exhibition, Blue Nocturne. This competition is open to all Night Photographers (NPrs), all photo media - and film cameras are OK, too! We ask only that your final outcome would normally be a fine photographic print - b/w, color, alternative, fuzzy focus, whatever - presenting mysterious, riveting nocturnal imagery.

A Blue Nocturne is the visual equivalent of the "high lonesome," the rhythms of the Delta, the Crossroads, and the Ghost of Robert Johnson (again, with the music references!), as well as the "tungsten-blue" palette of some of the best in NPy. It's work that exists in a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440-490 nm, and is "Kind of Blue," too! It's the cold, steely hue of a noir crime scene, and shooting "night for day." It's the near-frozen atmosphere that gives us Northern Lights in those extreme northern latitudes of the planet. It's homage to the color of the oceans of that same watery planet; and the color field and the abstraction of neon on rain-dampened streets. It's what you think a Blue Nocturne . . . is.
Altar of Repose, Copyright Stu Jenks

The Juror for Blue Nocturne is none other than Fezziwig Blogger, Stu Jenks - a returning Juror, whose work can be found at his site. Two (2) Awards will be awarded at the Juror's discretion - a Best of Show and an Honorable Mention; and the amount of prize money awarded is dependent on the number of entries received and selected for exhibition.

But you'll need to hurry, tho' - the deadline to submit entries is February 28, 2009 - all the details are here.

("Blue Nocturne, on a lonely highway . . . ")

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

After Dark

Long time Nocturne Tom Paiva shows recent large format Night Photography of the SF Bay Bridge Eastern Span reconstruction. Also included - new urban industrial night images shot in the past year.

February 18 - April 30, 2009 at the LunchStop Cafe, in the Joseph P. Bort Metro Center, first floor. Reception is this Thursday, February 19, 2009, from 4:30 to 7pm. Details in the PDF for the show here.

(From the desk of The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Randoom Notes

Only amateurs need apply . . .
Simon Norfolk's appraisal of the current WW economic crisis, from a photographer's point of view - first seen on Conscientious

UPDATE . . . And the NYTimes would seem to agree:
"The Boom Is Over. Long Live the Art!"

Only one space left . . .
While viewing Joe Reifer's recent successes in ghost-tracking out at the Albany Bulb - we found an announcement for the second Pearsonville Night Photography and Light Painting Workshop, which he and Troy Paiva are conducting - WAIT! - now I see there's a waiting list!

A few more spaces here . . .

BTW, if you can't make it in to the Workshop (above), you might consider checking in with The Nocturnes the same weekend - we're holding one of our highly-sought-after AlumNight events (more like an open house) out on Mare Island. We also have a few spots open - details here.

And here, you can still see . . .

Some of Joe Reifer's earlier work at the Bulb on The Nocturnes site. As a Curator's Choice award winner in the show This is Not Your Father's Nocturne - check it out here.

(From the desk of The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man)