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Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
#3046429 05/29/20 06:25 PM
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It’s (almost) the weekend. You finally have some time away from your job. You’re ready to hop in the car with your camera gear, ready to drive a few hours at night listening to weird music and get good and dusty. You’re ready for night photography.

But it’s cloudy.

Should you pack it in and fire up Netflix? Maybe not.

Photofocus article: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?

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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3046468 05/29/20 11:33 PM
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Beautiful images, all of them.

I used to photograph pretty ladies in California and I was always happy if it was overcast because the light is flattering and easy to work with.

At night it creates some awesome shapes. That lightning strike is wonderful!


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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3047109 06/02/20 10:25 PM
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Thanks. I was really fortunate with the lightning strike. But not because of the lightning strike so much as how clear it was to the back of me. The moon illuminated the canyon beautifully, yet I had all those wonderful storm clouds in the front of me. Perfect!

Photographing pretty ladies anywhere sounds like a lot of fun, but yes, the clouds act like an enormous diffusor. Fantastic!

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3047634 06/05/20 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Thanks. I was really fortunate with the lightning strike. But not because of the lightning strike so much as how clear it was to the back of me. The moon illuminated the canyon beautifully, yet I had all those wonderful storm clouds in the front of me. Perfect!

Photographing pretty ladies anywhere sounds like a lot of fun, but yes, the clouds act like an enormous diffusor. Fantastic!

Yes, sometimes everything just comes together. As one of my photography teacher said our class "You have to be ready to be lucky."
His lecture that day centered around a photo he had taken of a mid 50's station wagon, fire engine red, that had crashed through the white cement block wall on the side of a rural grocery store.
He had his camera with him and got the shot.

3 days later I was riding my bike through a Fresno neighborhood and came upon a tall, lanky gentleman wearing blue overalls. He was riding a tiny girl's bicycle down the street, pink with a pink plastic "woven" basket containing plastic flowers attached to the tiny handlebars. His legs were sticking out almost verticle, bent back in at the knees and he was pedaling away. There was nobody else around and I saw him ahead of me way before I got to him.

It looked for all the world as though he was using the bike as a form of transportation, even though walking would have been much more comfortable, nearly as fast and far less conspicuous.

And, I DIDN"T HAVE A CAMERA WITH ME!!!!! I left one at home, with film in it, ready to go. Didn't feel like carrying it around. It had a zoom lens, I could easily have taken several photos of him and zoomed away on my bike. But, I was not 'ready to be lucky."

I haven't learned that lesson but at least now I have a $30 Android phone with a camera with me most of the time.

As for pretty girls, you are WAY past good enough to find models that will pose in exchange for images. Think of them both as personalities and as a flexible, mobile sculpture that can communicate in our common language. I got started by introducing myself to college instructors teaching Dance and Theater and offering to shoot dress rehearsals. Eventually that became publicity shots and I started to get to know the students.
That evolved into setting up shoots with various indiviuals. There are other ways to go about it but that did work well and was much less awkward than just asking random strangers and it bypasses the concept on Model Mayhem and other sites that most models want $50 to $100 an hour to model.

Just a thought, you have a great thing going already!!!!


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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3047891 06/07/20 05:15 AM
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Thanks for the tips and stories, which I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the bicycle rider that "got away".

I suppose I am rather busy right now because I am writing for Photofocus and working on my second book of night photography, both of which are fun and exciting. That will keep me busy for now along with the rest of life.

Some day, I am thinking of offering night photography portraits for people getting married. I don't wish to do weddings (I've done three of them and I don't care to do a fourth!), but that sounds like it might be fun. But not for now.

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3047896 06/07/20 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Thanks for the tips and stories, which I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the bicycle rider that "got away".

I suppose I am rather busy right now because I am writing for Photofocus and working on my second book of night photography, both of which are fun and exciting. That will keep me busy for now along with the rest of life.

Some day, I am thinking of offering night photography portraits for people getting married. I don't wish to do weddings (I've done three of them and I don't care to do a fourth!), but that sounds like it might be fun. But not for now.

I shot a few weddings, never again. I've known people who made a living shooting weddings. I can't imagine doing that, a nightmare of endless stress.


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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3047944 06/07/20 11:04 PM
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It's awful, and not just the litigation. Bizarro requests and people barging in trying to get their very far removed relations to pose for free and all sorts of demands. And I can't imagine ever doing this with a second photographer and an assistant to "herd cats". Yeesh.

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3047948 06/07/20 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
It's awful, and not just the litigation. Bizarro requests and people barging in trying to get their very far removed relations to pose for free and all sorts of demands. And I can't imagine ever doing this with a second photographer and an assistant to "herd cats". Yeesh.

The last wedding I will ever shoot - I went 2 days before the ceremony to the location with the bride and groom to be. It was the home of the Mother of the Bride - aka Bridezilla.
They showed me where the ceremony would take place, where the guests would sit and let me choose 2 spots where I could get the best angles for photos of the ceremony.
There was a swimming pool in the yard, the ceremony would be on the edge of the pool on one side and the guests would be seated on the other side of the pool. My spots were behind the guests. Being 6'3" tall, I would be well above the seated guests and have good angles. We had it all figured out, everybody was happy and I went home feeling like this would be very doable.

I arrived on time the day of the wedding. The entire area on the far side of the pool was filled with chairs and no, they would not be moved.
By the time the wedding actually began, the sun had gone down and it was dark They had some lighting for the ceremony but it was not enough to shoot.

I had not brought many rolls of high ISO film, just enough for the reception party afterwards. Luckily I had borrowed a set of Norman studio lights, a power pack and 3 heads. I set that up off to the side of the pool, the only place left where I could stand and shoot. I got a groomsman to trigger the strobes while I stood at the ceremony area with my flashmeter.

I shot the wedding, got what I could but a disaster is a disaster. The Bride and Bridezilla wanted to blame me for everything, they were furious - raving about lawsuits and other stupid crap.
The groom understood and failed to cancel the check I was given and had already deposited. They didn't get a refund.

There is no way that it was worth it, a total nightmare. My last nightmare wedding.
Pretty girls are WAY more fun!!!!! Cheers, Kuru


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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048211 06/09/20 08:48 PM
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That sounds horrific. I've only agreed to do weddings from friends, so I haven't gotten too much horrible behavior, although from guests, I would get really pushy people who would keep wanting to have me photograph people who weren't really in the wedding ceremony. I did one or two, hoping they would get off my back, and then they kept asking, so I began asking them for money. They disappeared in a hurry.

I do enjoy the more photojournalistic sorts of approaches when they are possible, though.

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048258 06/10/20 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
That sounds horrific. I've only agreed to do weddings from friends, so I haven't gotten too much horrible behavior, although from guests, I would get really pushy people who would keep wanting to have me photograph people who weren't really in the wedding ceremony. I did one or two, hoping they would get off my back, and then they kept asking, so I began asking them for money. They disappeared in a hurry.

I do enjoy the more photojournalistic sorts of approaches when they are possible, though.

I've been the "undercover sneak shooter" at friend's weddings but I don't have an official standing at that point and stay well out of the wedding photographer's way.
I am looking for things that the photographer might miss because they don't know the people they are working with. I got a priceless shot of the groom-to-be talking to his dad, the official photographer was working on something else and didn't know what was happening. No blame on him, you can't be everywhere.

The after reception party can yeild some great moments too.

That is zero pressure, I've promised nothing and have no commitment. Then it is fun!!!!


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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048274 06/10/20 02:16 AM
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Agreed. It's a LOT more fun then.

I was put in the very awkward position of trying to get shots that the hired wedding photographer was trying to get, so the guy really resented it. But my cousins said that my photos came out better than the other. This is particularly strange since I had a vastly inferior camera and didn't have the benefit of all the nice lighting equipment.

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048282 06/10/20 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Agreed. It's a LOT more fun then.

I was put in the very awkward position of trying to get shots that the hired wedding photographer was trying to get, so the guy really resented it. But my cousins said that my photos came out better than the other. This is particularly strange since I had a vastly inferior camera and didn't have the benefit of all the nice lighting equipment.


Gear? Foof!
All good gear means is somebody had a good credit rating or grandma died and left them a pile of money.

I worked for a couple of years in photolabs. one as a custom printer for Type R (positive to positive). I saw all sorts of things, great photographers with great gear, great photographers with not much gear at all and crappy photographers with great gear. If you are good (and you are!), you'll make good photos. If you aren't good, buying a $2,000 lens for your Hasselblad won't help at all.

Same with music, a good friend of mine has probably $15,000 worth of boutique hand-hand wired Dumble clones and top of the line Heritage guitars and he can just barely play guitar.
I plugged his cheapest guitar into his cheapest amp and played circles around him without even trying. There are certainly better guitarists (and photographers) than myself but they could probably do the same thing to me except I don't have a lot of expensive gear, mostly. So they would really be scraping the bottom of the barrel to get a lower amp than a $40 Peavey and blow me away with it!!! laugh


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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048433 06/10/20 10:23 PM
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I am one of those. I have a nice guitar and cannot play it really well. The music and parts are really good, but my parts that I play for ambient music are very very very very very very very very very very very simple.

I came up through the ranks. I had very modest gear when I first began getting into night photography, and now, while my gear is old (both my DSLRs are four years old), it is still arguably very high quality gear. I bought all of it used, which is the only way I can afford stuff like this. My computers, lenses, car and other expensive items are all purchased used.

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048446 06/11/20 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
I am one of those. I have a nice guitar and cannot play it really well. The music and parts are really good, but my parts that I play for ambient music are very very very very very very very very very very very simple.

I came up through the ranks. I had very modest gear when I first began getting into night photography, and now, while my gear is old (both my DSLRs are four years old), it is still arguably very high quality gear. I bought all of it used, which is the only way I can afford stuff like this. My computers, lenses, car and other expensive items are all purchased used.

Of the hundreds of guitars that I've bought and sold over the years, i can only think of one guitar and 2 amps that I bought new.
I've bought and sold a pile of cameras and lenses over the decades too, I bought one camera new, a Canon Rebel T2i with the kit lens. I still have it, my only camera at he moment. Other than the kit lens, all my lenses were used when I bought them.
I've never bought a new car. I will drive a used car until it dies and then get another one.

I have bought a fair amount of studio gear new but most of it used. I've made lots of money buying guitars, amps and cameras used and selling them for a profit. Sometimes I keep them. It is absurd how cheap stuff can be sometimes.
I am a huge fan of shopping in thrift stores, one big reason is that no criminal is going to donate their stolen goods to a thrift store so it's always a "clean" buy. The main reason is the absurd prices that I've stumbled onto. I also like the randomness, stuff will sit in pawn shops for a while, stuff on craigslist disappears quickly if it's too cheap but you can walk into a Goodwill and a worker will set a treasure down right in front of you.

My best two deals by far - Fresno Salvation Army - I bought a Gurian acoustic guitar for $65, it needed some repairs but was very repairable. I sold it on eBay for almost $1,300. Bellingham Goodwill, I bought an Ernest K. Kaahi ukulele, all flamed koa and "rope" binding and soundhole inlay - $5. I got $500 for that, in repairable condition. I could go on and on - 6 Pentax lenses (still have the 50 1.4 and the 28 2.8 - pick of the litter) for $65 including tax. I sold the 45 2.8 pancake lens for more than that, it just wasn't very sharp. All of them would have fit right on your Pentax camera.

If your music is good, it is good. I was hired to play bass in Bo Diddley's band for one show, he was not very good on guitar at all. He wrote Who Do You Love, one of the best one chord songs ever written and remains an influential and important figure in the history of rock and roll. It doesn't matter at all that he wasn't very good because he was GREAT. That was a high point, so much fun to stand next to a legend and watch him hold the audience in the palm of his hand.


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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048482 06/11/20 08:07 AM
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I received several reviews in local music magazines around Los Angeles throughout the years that centered on my guitar playing, which is sort of funny because I was generally more known as a keyboard player.

One of them said something to the effect of me being "the best sounding s**tty guitarist in Los Angeles". grin

Believe it or not, I actually really liked that. Most people thought it might be a back-handed compliment. I thought, "Ideally, that's where I'd like to be right now."

I think the other one said something like "the king of delay" or something like that. No, that's not me. That's probably The Edge. That guy's the king of delay.

Here's some of my music where I am playing guitar:
So Far - Nectarprhonic (I play all electric guitars, but unfortunately, not the acoustic, which is beautifully played)

Undone - Nectarphonic (psychedelic song)

Reign of Colours - Nectarphonic

Used stuff:
I purchased a Pentax K-1 for $880 about six months ago. That was pretty good. I got a $175 rice cooker for $5. That thing is amazing. Rice always comes out perfect and never sticks, and it heats them from all sides of the pan somehow.

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048519 06/11/20 05:21 PM
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Nice, thanks for sharing!!! I like the sound and the style, cool band.

I've always thought of The Edge as "Mr. Andy Summers Wannabe Jr." Credit where credit is due I guess.

This is recent, Dr. Walker wanted submissions for a new Psychedelic Kitchen submission and I felt like tossing him a goof so I slapped it together. There is a wah pedal and one mastering plugin, otherwise no effects at all.
4 stereo tracks, all done in about 40 minutes.
https://metapop.com/opossum-apocalypse/tracks/that-itch/130532

This is really old but showcases my Floyd Rose phase pretty well if totally self indulgent. 4 track cassette and a Drumulator (ugh!). The noise/hum is pretty horrendous - Mesa Boogie going direct with plenty of distortion.
https://metapop.com/opossum-apocalypse/tracks/there-go-elephants/142050

Last but not least, a birthday present for my favorite waitress a few years ago.
https://www.reverbnation.com/opossumapocalypse

I played everything on everything. Now I am working on my original songs, I've got about 30 - everything from Ray Stevens-ish country to hard rock and atmospheric psychedelic.


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Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048774 06/13/20 05:03 PM
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I just heard the first one, interesting, and I would not have probably figured out how you did that. More later....

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048775 06/13/20 05:09 PM
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I like Grace and Opposum Apocalypse too.

Re: Why should you do night photography when it's cloudy?
KenElevenShadows #3048783 06/13/20 05:41 PM
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Thanks Ken,

I loved the guesses that it was a synth!!! The Ebow is a mighy but overlooked thingie for creating pads and ambient spacey weirdness.

Since there isn't much in the way of transients, a pitch shifter plugin can transform a single note into an orchestral "collage". I didn't spend the time on That Itch but it would be easy to make it into something else entirely.

I left it simple on purpose to see if anybody had any idea. Dr. Walker was gob-smacked by such primitive, analog weirdness.

I wrote Grace after my brother called me and told me Mom (Grace) had passed on. I created it on a baritone ukulele but moved it to a nylon string guitar for better intonation. Glad you enjoy!!!

Opossum Apocalypse was one of those "what can I do with all these toys" sort of a spontaneous romp. All the synth, sampler plugins were played on a Fishman Triple Play on guitar, another fun toy.

Cheers,
Kuru


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