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August 12, 2011

I don't know if it is just being lazy or if it is joining the 21st Century, but I've started putting my newest images on flickr. Look for the links to the   flick r   LunarLight Photography photostream for images from 2011 onward. There you will find the results of my continuing experiments with the small digital point-n-shoot camera as well as the "Train Tube" series and the usual assortment of "ambient night" images. Someday perhaps I'll overhaul this site again and incorporate it all into the main page structure .

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August 4, 2010

The little pocket-sized digital cameras have come a long ways since their introduction a decade or so ago. Recently I acquired one as a gift. It is so small it can get lost in a pocket and can be hard to hold still. But it is incredibly convenient! I took it along on a weekend getaway to the California Central Coast a couple of weekends ago and had a lot of fun with it. One night, while under the influence of a really good dinner with a glass of excellent local Syrah, I set the thing on a railing and tried to do some night photography with it. The results were ok, but they became art when I decided to process the image in a way that turned the background dark noise into a tapestry. The results are very painterly. Have a look and let me know what you think:   Moro Bay, 2010 .

May 31, 2010

I've been making up for lost time! Actually, to have something to do while recovering from the flu, I've completely overhauled the   Railroad Photography site on and have updated the night photography   Recent night photos page . That gets most of the most recent stuff out there to see. Some of it still needs some tweeking, and there is more yet to post. I've gone through the whole network on the site and purged old files that were hogging server space without being used, so now there is room to expand again! That is a nice thing to have out of the way. Look for more new stuff in the not-so-distant future.

May 26, 2010

It has been eighteen months since the last update to the LunarLight Photography website. As my children have become teenagers and I have become involved in Boy Scouts, other priorities have kept me away from art photography. That is not to say I have done none at all, though the opertunities have been fewer and the time to process images and maintain a web site has been scarce indeed. However I am currently working on an update, and with any luck there should be some new images and revised galleries in the next week or so. Check back and see what turns up! One thing to note, though, is that I am not offering any images for sale at the moment. I just don't have time to work with the labs and get the images shipped. Sorry about that.

November 14, 2008

To misquote an infamous wag, "work is the curse of the amateur photographer class!" I suppose in my case I should add, "and raising a family" to the "work" part. And may be I should toss in high gas prices. Oh well, no need to whine and gripe too much, life does have its kinks in the road. In the past several months, the only time I've found for creative photography has been a few hours here and there after everyone else is asleep on my son's Boy Scout Troop campouts. Fortunately the troop has been going to some interesting places when the moon was right, so a few images have been captured here and there. On one recent trip, I had a chance to work in a theme I've been toying with for a long time - placing a hill or butte in silhouette against stratus clouds that are under-lit by a distant city. This is another place where getting the exposure right is critical, since the sky is so bright but the ground must be black, and any point of light from mid-ground streetlights or buildings needs to be kelp below the level where it starts to flare too much. Two images in particular from this recent trip turned out very nicely. They are presented on the   Recent night photos page  . Have a look!

July 12, 2008

The warm monsoon nights of summer in LA have returned. I find it is hard to sleep through the night in such weather, and typically I get up sometime between 3 and 4 for a while before going back to bed until the night is past. But that hour can be time well spent if I remember to leave my night photo rig set up by the door waiting for me. This morning I stepped out in the driveway to find the morning paper already delivered and resting in a wonderful position within the patterns of light and shadow cast by a street light and a tree. Twenty minutes later I had the final image recorded on the CF card and was headed back to bed. Thus the second year of the Torrance Night series has gotten into gear at last. I really like doing this: it scratches the itch without having to spend several hours in the car driving out to the desert, and there is something about the mundane objects to be found in the street around my home that makes creating a transcendent photograph of them interesting.
However, I'm still working on the Wind Turbine series. I bought a camera-bag backpack and am planning on hiking into the Oak Creek Pass field the next time time is available and the mood is right for creative work. And then there is the ghost-train or train-snake project too. Over the past month I've had the chance to work in all three areas as well as just some fun stuff while on vacation. It gets posted to the   Recent night photos page   if it turns out good enough to share. Have a look!

May 18, 2008

I've neglected updating this log for the past few months. The day job had me really busy for a while there, including a couple of trips to Denver. In March I made it to Garnet at the foot of San Gorgonio Pass for one last evening at the old railroad signal bridge before it was razed (that event finally happened yesterday). That was good to do, since my efforts there a little over a year before were rudely interrupted by a dead camera battery and insufficient foresight to have brought another one.

Today's update to the New Work gallery includes another in the Wind Turbine studies from Oak Creek Pass at a new site I intend to return to at the next opportunity. Recent night photos page .  I'm very much liking the Canon 40D for night work.

February 22, 2008

The Moonlight Planning Calendar for 2008-2009 and brightness predictions for 2008 in Los Angeles have been added to the Moonlight Brightness Predictions page

February 21, 2008

I had a chance to go deep into the Mojave Desert with my new camera and a 24mm f/1.4 lens this past weekend. The results definitely have the "ambient night" feel, and I am pleased with them. They can be seen on the recent night photos page .  There are also a couple pictures from an evening at the Getty Center back in January. I'm working to update the Lunar Planning Calendar and brightness predictions - they will be up soon.

January 19, 2008

Another trip up to the wind turbines of Oak Creek Pass has yielded three new images. Conditions were favorable for star trails and moonlight landscape, though the moon was a bit too high in the sky and it could have been a bit less bright. However these images are closer to that image in my mind's eye that I strive to render into a photograph. Have a look at them on the recent night photos page

January 13, 2008

After many years of finding other things to do, I managed to get back to Death Valley at the turning of the new year. It was mostly a family trip, a chance to hang out with my wife and kids, do some exploring and have a good time. I did manage to get the camera out of the bag a couple of times, though. And what a camera it is - Santa Claus brought me a new Canon 40D and an ultra-wide angle lens. I have a lot of learning to do. But for now there are a few new images on my new Landscape Images page .  Have a look!

November 25, 2007

Last night I had the opportunity to work among the power wind turbines in Oak Creek Pass once again. A bank of high ice clouds came across the sky early in the evening, making the light diffuse and hard to work with. However by exploring on foot around the top of the pass I was able to find a couple of nice scenes that fit what I was looking for - to place the turbines against a distant landscape of urban light, juxtaposing power generation against its usage as it were. I hope to continue working in this theme as time (and the freedom to travel) allows. You can see the results from last night on the recent night photos page

October 14, 2007

I've been making progress on the Torrance Night series. While I intend to get out around town to find subjects, I've surprised myself by finding so many subjects very close to home. So far I have not yet even left the street right in front of my house! It all goes to show that photographic seeing is as important as intent. Soon I expect to exhaust the fifty feet square area I've been covering, and then I'll have to start walking around the neighborhood. The results so far are on the recent night photos page .  Come back to see the project progress over the next few months!

September 23, 2007

Fall is finally approaching, and with it the longer nights that make night photography possible. In fact, it is because I work during the day and want to do photography that I started this vein of work; when days are short and nights are long, the nights are the time best available for finding subjects for the camera. Last year at this time, I began thinking about a series on my local area, even though urban night work has not been my principle vision. Yet one must take the options that are offered, and while I'd rather be out roaming around in pure moonlight beneath a star-filled bowl of sky, the corner of greater Los Angeles in which I live is the easiest thing to access. So a few days ago I started The Torrance Night Series. You can see the growing collection of images from this effort on the recent night photos page .  The plan is to do an image every few days as time permits, to learn the subject and to keep the night photography skills well honed. I see it as like the scales I do on my guitar to keep the hands supple and the connection between mind and hand keen. Thus a new voyage of discovery has been joined.

September 9, 2007

I've managed to fill up another web server! So new night images are being added to a new page on a different account (thanks to my wife who has lent me her web space!). The newest images on the new recent night photos page   are from our recent family vacation to Virginia City, Nevada and northern Sierra Nevada. I didn't expect to capture much on this trip, but the digital camera was faithfully used to record unexpected scenes in the towns of Virginia City, Bridgeport, and in Rock Creek Canyon where we camped for five nights. Sometimes the best trips are those that present the unexpected to a relaxed and prepared mind. Have a look! Though for now the page is under construction as I'm only slowly getting the images processed for viewing. Somehow I need to finish painting the dining room along with doing the fun stuff . . .

August 15, 2007

My web site counter recorded hit number 20,000 today. Thanks for lookin', everyone!

This evening I added to the digital night photo notes page   a paragraph on a technique for capturing lightning while controlling urban light on the clouds.

August 14, 2007

Somehow or other, I let a year go by between updates to the Railroad New Work Gallery. ,  That error has now been amended. There are now images from the road trip to Winterail in March, the trip to GorgeRail in May and a recent trip into the Mojave Desert for monsoonal lighting and a chance to just *get hot!*     One moonlight image from that trip has also been added to the Night Photos New Work Gallery.   I hope to add more when I get the chance. I also updated my biography page. ,  I'm not sure why I did that, but I like the result.

July 5, 2007

I have added over a dozen images to the Large Format Gallery ,  including those submitted to   MagnaChrom   but not used in my article published there in the July issue (Volume 1 number 5). I've started to organize that page to group the images into the various projects I've worked on over the years.
In addition, I've finally uploaded the first cut at my technical discussion on   Night Photography with a Digital Camera .  I intend to expand on the topic and provide images to illustrate the issues discussed there as time goes on. But at least I've finally gotten this far with it! It helps having a day off of work the day after a party when there is no pressure to do anything else.

June 3, 2007

One thing I have been wanting to do for a long time is to scan a few of the hundreds of 4x5 negatives I've exposed over the years. Working with 4x5 has not been my mainstay, but has been reserved for those times and subjects that lent themselves to the more contemplative approach demanded by a large format view camera. As time has gone by, I've been thinking of returning to that format more, since my style these days better fits its mood, and frankly I'm getting a bit tired of the instantaneous mass imagery that digital 35mm tools provide. So, I have launched onto a new trajectory, both by supplying the on-line large-format art photography magazine   MagnaChrom   with a set of images for their upcoming night photography issue, and in setting up a new gallery on this web site set aside exclusively for large format work. You can visit that new gallery here:   Large Format Gallery .  There will be additional images added to this gallery as I get them scanned and "printed".

May 26, 2007

I finally got around to updating my catalog of 4x5 images over the past few days. Of course, when one does that, one finds images on had forgotten about. One night image from the White Mountains trip two years ago is well worth sharing. I've added it to the Recent Night Photos   page. There will be other 4x5 night images added over the next few days as I finish the catalog update.

May 23, 2007

Just returned from a week-long 2400-mile road trip to The Dalles, Oregon, to attend the GorgeRail Railroad Photography Show. I spent over $300 for gas along the way, but it was still cheaper than flying to Portland and renting a car, and we saw some great scenery along the way. The GorgeRail show was a lot of fun. I got to meet some great folks from that area, and saw some very good railroad photography. My multimedia presentation "Halcyon Days on the Harbor Sub" was well received there. I took a number of photos along the way, and will get some of them up on the web site soon. This trip I used 35mm slide film again as well as 4x5 film and 35mm digital.  

April 29, 2007

After chomping at the bit for the past four months, I finally got the chance to spend time out under the moonlight again last night! It was only a brief trip to spend a couple of hours getting more familiar with the Oak Creek Pass wind turbine site, but it did help further the ideas I've been playing around with for that place. Two images from last night have been added to the Recent Photos page: Recent Night Photos  

April 3, 2007

I've completed the first cut of "Halcyon Days on the Harbor Sub", my multimedia show on the BNSF Harbor Subdivision, and the disk is currently moving in the US Mail to Aaron Hockley, the show's producer up in Washington State. There still remain a number of detail cleanups for the final cut, but that is well in hand. I am really looking forward to a week-long road trip up the length of California and past the east side of the Cascades Mountains to the Columbia River in mid-May to attend the show. Once again, I will get to pass through the country I road my bicycle through on the Shasta Cycle ride, as well as see some new country. My shutter finger is itching!

Also, the AVA Publishing book: Basics Photography volume 2: Lighting by David Prakel is out, and my image "Star Trails and Trees in Moonlight" is featured on page 67 as the illustration for the Natural Light - Night section. Pretty cool !!

March 1, 2007

In response to a couple of queries: I've not been out doing photography lately since I managed to badly sprain my wrist while on the January moonlight shoot, and I've been working on a multimedia project for GorgeRail 2007 in May. The wrist is a lot better, and as soon as I get this multimedia project done (in late March) I'll be ready to make up for lost time. Talk about Cabin Fever!

January 19, 2007

Recent additions to the Recent Night Photos   page include windmill studies from November, two images from a trip to Palm Springs in December, and two images from Sullivan's Curve in Cajon Pass from January 2. I am looking forward to more work with the windmills in San Gorgonio Pass and Oak Creek Pass in the coming months, returning to a theme set aside over a dozen years ago. However the main effort at the moment is going into building another multimedia presentation, this time for the Gorge Rail Show at The Dalles, Oregon in May. This is another railroad themed show, and unlike the project last year this show incorporates my work along with that from several other photographers of the railroad scene. The work goes well. On top of that, several requests for moonlight brightness predictions have come in and are being worked, and I have been requested to finish the promised page on Digital Night Photography. And then there is the Cub Scouts, family and the day job . . . That ought to keep me busy for a good while!

October 14, 2006

We had a heck of a lightning storm last night. I set up the camera under our big pine tree in the back yard and captured a few frames of lightning bolts, and then combined them into a composite image. See it here in Recent Night Photos  .

October 11, 2006

The full moon of early October brought a trip to the giant wind turbine "farm" in the eastern approach to San Gorgonio Pass. The triangle between Cabazon, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs is home to several hundred of the big machines. Their motion and rithmic geometry stands in strong contrast to the desert and mountains that surround them. I have been fascinated by them for a long time, and have been hoping to make a photographic study of them for a long time. I photographed some of the first windmills near the town of Mojave below Tehachapi Pass back in 1993, and still think some of that work was amoung my best in terms of composition. It also provides another strong motion source that isn't railroads, which while still are a favorite subject, are not the only subject in town. The Recent Night Photos   page has the first presentable image from this study. The same trip also had me collecting images for Day In North America, sponsored by CTC Board Railroad Illustrated. I am currently going through the images from DINA to see if three of them can be selected for submission for possible publication in their magazine's upcoming DINA issue. I've made it into two prior DINA issues!

In another venue, Kevin Scanlon is currently hosting one of my images on his "The Photographer's Railroad Page"   web site. Give his site a visit! There are several very interesting night works hosted there from a variety of photographers of the railroad night scene.

September 7, 2006

Two new photos from a fishing trip to Rock Creek Lake in the Sierra Nevada are now available for viewing on the Recent Night Photos page. As with the work from August of last year, these photos make use of lunar twilight rather than direct lunar illumination. This allows the stars to come out more clearly yet provides just enough light that the digital sensor can record texture in the earth landscape. The result is the closest I have yet come to making a photograph that really resembles the personal experience of being out in the night. It has both a sense of calm and majesty that no flash-filled image can produce.

August 16, 2006

This summer has brought a lot of travel and adventure, and the camera has been faithfully employed at every opertunity. Late June brought a trip up the Inside Passage to Skagway, Alaska and Carcross, Yukon Territory, followed by a week of exploring the volcanos of Washington State. After that, I spent two weeks in Denver on business, but had the opertunity to do some moonlight work out on the plains east of there. The results of that effort can be seen in Moonlight Gallery 0 . Next was a week-long trip to Michigan for family history research and the Henschell Family Reunion in Grand Traverse County. Last but not least, this past Saturday saw a dawn-to-dusk trip to the west slope of Tehachapi Pass to photograph trains in the classic California dry grass and oak tree landscape. The results of that trip can be seen in the Railroad New Work Gallery . I think I have enough to keep me busy in the digital darkroom for quite some time!

June 21, 2006

It is Summer Solstice!
Moonlight brightness predictions added for July 2006: Seattle, Skagway, Denver.
Also by request Cumberland Falls, KY for August, September & October 2006. Moonlight Brightness Predictions page.
Heading to Alaska Friday!

June full moon spent in Cajon Pass but the moon wasn't right for the image I had in mind. So I just played around with some short exposures (1 second to 1 minute) to get a better feel for the results of such with slow moving trains. Cajon Sequence

June 6, 2006

I have run moonlight predictions for Los Angeles, California, for June 2006 through December 2007. I have not received requests for anything else lately, so that's as far as that has gone for the moment. Drop me an email if you want brightness predictions for any other location. Moonlight Brightness Predictions page.

Early July will see a trip to Alaska and Washington State. The June full moon may bring another trip to Cajon Pass to get another moonlight ghost train image I've been thinking about - the time to do that is now before the hillsides around Sullivan's Curve get torn up by construction of the third track in the area. August I'll be in Michigan for a family reunion and to get night photos at ancient relative's graves. That should be an interesting experience - the fireflies at night in the grand River Valley can be beautiful.

April 28, 2006

The web site hit counter recorded its 15,000th hit at 10:07 this evening.

I recently added a couple more recent images to the Railroad New Work page . One of them, showing a train ghost image in moonlight at the railroad tunnels on Cajon Pass, is something I've been planning for a while, and it turned out really good. The smooth shaped transparent mass of the train set in a rugged terrain evokes the feeling I had in mind perfectly. This capture is also very timely, since the tunnel portal will soon vanish as the line is rebuilt over the coming year. This time, at least, I got what I wanted while it was still possible to do so, instead of missing the chance and then kicking myself all around the room with remorse, as usually happens. I posted this image on early last week and it received lots of encouraging attention, including a rating of 6.07/7 for Originality and 5.86/7 for Asthetics, and has been viewed nearly 30,000 times. Not bad!

April 7, 2006

Uploaded new Lunar Planning Calendar page for 2006-2007. See moonlight brightness predicts page of the moonlight photography section of the web site.

April 3, 2006

I have updated the Railroad New Work page with several images taken between November and February. I've also added a page to the Railroad New Work section to present images from the recent trip to Winterail . This gets things up to date with the images. Next I plan to add a page to the technical section on using a digital camera for low light photography. There is much to share in that regard, including some basic information gleaned over the past year using my Canon 20D.
Full moon this month will see a trip to Cima, hopefully to link up with a couple of people who also do night photography work along the Union Pacific Cima Subdivision. The moon will be waxing gibbeous, making light painting effects from engine headlights brigher than it would be during a full moon. The more I do this stuff, the more I want to stay away from the days right around full moon, since that light is flat when the moon gets much more than a third of the way up into the sky.

March 17, 2006

My seven minute multi-media presentation "While You Lay Sleeping" was a huge hit at the Winterail Railroad Photography Exhibition. To my ultimate consternation, the audience, a crowd of about 1100 people that filled the auditorium at the Stockton Scottish Rite Temple, started to loudly applaud before the thing was even finished, making it hard to hear the ending that I worked so hard to get right. However, that was only because the show was such a success that they started applauding at the first credit frame, and I had intermingled credit frames with the final three images - something not to do next time. But before my friend Bob starts reminding me again that this was something that set the bar for railroad night photography a lot higher, I will admit that it got the attention of several people whose opinions matter, and it took me almost an hour to make it out the door afterward what with my being stopped in the hall by all sorts of well-known and highly talented people from the railroad photography scene. It has taken me most of the week to soak in what has happened. Fortunately, I had a couple of days to slowly drive home with Bob afterwards, stopping to do a lot of photography along the way. However, trying to play Boeing Spacecraft Thermal Control Chief Engineer this week has not been easy after having such a huge artistic success in the other world.

I have started processing up a dozen or so new images from the road trip to Winterail, and will get them up on the Railroad Photography page as soon as I can. However, at the moment, I'm also working on my application for the Boeing Technical Fellowship Program, and that has a nearby due date and so takes priority.

February 21, 2006

Five new photos from a recent trip to Denver are now available for viewing on the Recent Night Photos page. This includes the first of several planned images from the area around Big Ten Curve in the Jefferson County Open Space between Golden and Boulder. The photos taken the evening of February 10 were made under conditions that eventually froze my camera so that it stopped working, however working with fresh snow in the moonlight was an amazing experience. Three nights later (after the camera warmed up and proved to be working well despite the abuse I had given it) I returned to the area for "Midnight at Little Ten Curve", an image I've been planning for several years. All told, I'm pleased with the result. The other two new images on that page were taken from my hotel room window with the camera balanced on an ice server.
Production of "While You Lay Sleeping" is complete, and I am eagerly anticipating its debut at Winterail on 11 March. I'm glad to be finished with it and back making images with the camera again. A side benefit of preparing images for the multi-media project has been a number of improved versions of images for this web site. I'll be finishing the image formatting and loading them to the server over the next few days.
Full moon of March I'll be in Stockton for Winterail, and plan to do some moonlight photography in the area. April full moon I hope to be back by the Salton Sea.

January 14, 2006

Production of "While You Lay Sleeping" in in the "final tweeks" stage. This past week I recorded the final audio track in a friend's home music studio, borrowing his services as a sound engineer as well. The results are pretty good, if I should say so myself, actually sounding like a live performance and not just a dry overly-precise one. Also, the final image scans have been processed and put in place, leaving the remaining task of slight adjustments to images for balance and to the image timing relative to the music. I received my pass to Winterail too. Amazing as this may seem, this whole thing is coming together, and "While You Lay Sleeping" will be presented to theater full of people on the night of March 11 in Stockton. And to think that twelve years ago I had given up on the night photography as I couldn't see a logical use for it.

January 4, 2006

This morning I loaded moonlight brightness predictions for Los Angeles and Portland, Jan-June 2006. Need to do the rest.

Multimedia production for Winterail 2006 is nearing completion. It is looking pretty good, but file size is being a problem. Somehow Windows XP doesn't like downloading files over 1.1 GB from a CD-R to hard disk, while Mac has no trouble handling files up to 4.5 GB.

November 17, 2005

This past full moon saw a trip to Afton Canyon in the Mojave Desert once again. After a year of dwelling on the best camera angle to use on the railroad structure called the Third Crossing of the Mojave River, located deep in the canyon amidst brightly colored rock, I chose that spot to apply what I've learned from the Bristlecone Pine trip to the recurring theme of motion with a train as the subject. The results stand for themselves, look here   for yourself.

I spent most of October delving into the archives, looking up old images to use in a multi-media project. Titled "While You Lay Sleeping", this project includes older images along with newer ones that employ a technique I've been working on to make image sequences that are very much like movies built of time-lapse images. With any luck, this project will get presented next March at the Winterail Railroad Photography Exhibition in Stockton. For the project, I've also written music for acoustic guitar, and soon I'll be recording it at a friend's studio. The credits read "Photography and Music by Kit Courter".

September 9, 2005

The long journey to learn how to capture the feeling of ambient night in a photographic image has taken a new turn with my recent trip to the Bristlecone Pines in California's White Mountains. This location has long been a favorite of mine, and I have spent a lot of time there in the past. At an elevation in excess of 11,000 feet, the night stars are just astounding, and the view from that ridge out west to the Sierra Nevada and east across most of the State of Nevada can be a humbling experience. Years ago, I tried to do some night work there, and the results were promising but nowhere near what I had in mind. With the advent of high-sensitivity digital sensors, coupled with a fast lens, the vision I had has now come within reach. The trick is to capture the stars, and then to provide just enough additional light to add foreground and midground to the scene. This requires being very careful with the amount of light used to light the foreground, with a small low-power LED flashlight being a good tool. This is very low light photography, working with ambient light levels that are around 30 stops less than daylight! You can judge the effectiveness of my first attempt to apply this approach in the newly added LunarLight Photography Moonlight Gallery 0. I'm still working on the images, so don't be surprised if they seem inconsistent and change on you if you come back and look at them again later. And I've had to put this new gallery out on the server since I seem to have filled up my Earthlink space allocation again! Perhaps this winter I'll get off my laziness and get that problem taken care of. Night Photography - Midnight on White Mountain. .

July 11, 2005

I took several hundred pictures of trains while on the road to and from the Spiral Jetty. As time permits, I've been sorting through them, processing down the better ones and adding them to the "Recent Pictures" part of the railroad photography section. Click on this link to go directly to Railroad Photos - New Work Gallery. .

July 2, 2005

Four images from the recent road trip to Smithson's Spiral Jetty on Great Salt Lake have been added to Gallery 1 of the Moonlight page. These images are very significant for me, in that they demonstrate the ability to capture the feeling of ambient night as I experience it - Natural light, often just star light. That, combined with a the coming to fruition of a long desire to "do something arty" with the Spiral Jetty, has left me feeling like I finally am getting to where I want to be with night photography. It has only taken 30 years to do it, and having the sensitivity of digital equipment to handle the low-light work, but I'm thinking I've finally arrived at something very close to the vision I started with all those years ago. Click on this link to go directly to Moonlight Gallery 1.

June 16, 2005

I've added to the moonlight brightness predictions page specific predictions per request for the vicinity of Canberra, Australia. I've also added predictions for this month's full moon for Great Salt Lake, where I hope to be working with the camera this next Sunday through Tuesday nights. Spiral Jetty here I come! I've been waiting to do this one for years. Click on this link to go directly to Moonlight Brightness Predictions.

June 1, 2005

Too many other things going on lately, and not enough photography. I intend to make up for lost time soon, though. June 18 - 24 will bring a trip to do Art with Art: a moonlight trip to Smithson's Spiral Jetty at Rozel Point, Great Salt Lake, Utah.

April 30, 2005

Recent updates to the site include a new picture on the main page, a whole lot of new photos added to the New Work page on the Railroad section, and a price list to support the business end of things. March saw the first time I used a digital camera for night work, with the addition of an animated GIF mini-movie to the Railroad section from that experience. The whole idea of night sequences is one I've been wanting to pursue for a long time, and the digital camera appears to be the right tool to accomplish it. Toward that end, I've spent the past few full moons calibrating the digital camera for use in dim moonlight, and along the way I've discovered the Standard Model for moonlight brightness (the so-called Lunar Phase Law) needs correcting around lunar quarter phase. I suspect this is due to the rough nature of the lunar surface. The Lunar Phase Law assumes only diffuse reflection from a perfect sphere, and has already proven to need correction near full moon due to "the opposition effect". I plan to publish the necessary quarter-phase brightness corrections in the technical section of this site when I am satisfied the results are correct. Though I can say that it appears the Lunar Phase Law is in error by about 2/3 stop at quarter phase. There may be a delay in completing this project as my laptop is dying and it may take me a while to get a new one up and properly configured to support all my ongoing projects.

February 27, 2005

Update to moonlight brightness predictions. The planning calendar now shows lunar phase and zenith-moon brightness at midnight from Jan 2005 through June 2006. 2005 detailed brightness predictions are on-line for Los Angeles and Portland, and I'm working on Quebec, and a few other locations. Drop me a line if you need these sooner than I seem to be getting them out, and I'll kick myself into a higher gear.

I have also updated the Links page, reorganized with some new additions worth a visit.

No new moonlight photos this month. I just bought a Canon 20D digital back and I'm spending time getting to know it before going into the field. Besides, all this rain has been keeping me inside, and I've been using the time to sort and catalog old negatives - hundreds and hundreds of rolls of negatives - until I'm going absolutely nuts!

January 10, 2005

I've just finished a major update to the moonlight and night images section. The index pages now make use of frames and upload far more quickly. I've also organized the images in order of date, in order to show how the ideas and craft developed over time. I've added several previously unseen images to the collection to round out the set. However, the limitations of server space required I take down my portraits gallery to make room for the new night images.

A few weeks ago, I rebuilt the railroad photo pages as well, and will continue to evolve them to make use of the space available on the server. It turns out the banner adds added by the server look horrible when the pages are set up around frames. I am cogitating over what to show on Trainweb.

December 15, 2004

Added two night photos to the Moonlight and Night Images page. Both of these use urban light as the key light with moonlight providing only a shadow fill. I wasn't sure I liked them when I made them, but as they have grown on me (and are also very different from anything else I've done), I've finally decided to share them here.
I tried to use the October full moon for a return to Cajon Pass, but got fogged out. I'm planning to try again in December. There are two images that are based on good ideas but were done with lousy film, and I want to do them over with the current methods and materials to see if I can't do better.

September 14, 2004

After years of ignoring it, I have finally dragged out the old 4x5 again, and am once more resolved upon using it for night work. An early-September trip to Kings Canyon National Park saw me taking along the 4x5 and leaving the 35mm equipment at home. I have had to borrow a friend's scanner to do it, but the first of the images from this trip is now on the Moonlight and Night Images page. And I have learned again what I knew ten years ago - the results of using the 4x5 for night work are very much worth the one-to-two hours (!) it takes to set up the field camera in the dark while waiting for the moon to rise! Aligning and focusing a view camera using only the tiny lunar disk as a target, and then framing the image on the ground glass when you can barely see anything on it at all, is altogether a maddening experience. But you have to be mad to begin with to want to do this stuff anyway, so no loss there. More images will be added when I get the scans processed.

Also, I have posted to the server my technical paper giving a detailed mathematical algorithm for calculating moonlight brightness from lunar phase information, and correcting for various secondary factors. This is the results of many years of research and test, and is the basis for my successful moonlight brightness predictions. I tried to get The Astronomical Society of the Pacific to publish it, but they weren't interested. So I'm making it available here. See the link on the Moonlight and Night Images page.

August 9, 2004

There are two new sections on the Railroad side of the site, both collections of images from my first few years working with black and white. And I'm working on updated moonlight predictions for late August and September in preparation for a couple of photo road trips. With any luck, there will be some new moonlight pictures to share soon! I have been working on some light painting techniques as well, calibrating the exposures and working out how to apply it in the field.

June 27, 2004

The Moonlight Brightness Predictions now include predicts for a ten-day period around each full moon for the rest of the year, as well as a couple of other times when I plan to be out doing nightwerke. The script sure has simplified the task of getting these things done - the whole thing took an evening, and now I don't have to do any more for the rest of the year (barring requests, which come from time to time).

June 21, 2004

June saw two moonlight trips: Afton Canyon on the first, and Santa Rosa Mountain on the 5th. Some photos from both trips have been added to the Moonlight and Night Photos section.
I have come up with a new format for the moonlight brightness prediction tables that takes up a lot less server space! Predictions for BOTH full moons in July and a period in August are now up on the Predicts page. I have also added a Lunar Phase Calendar that gives moonlight brightness assuming a zenith moon at midnight on every night for the rest of the year. Note that this wont give you precise data from which to calculate exposure times, it is meant as a planning tool only.

May 29, 2004

Added three images to the moonlight gallery. These are new scans of older images.
Monday night will see my cameras set up at Afton Canyon for the full moon.

May 12, 2004

The moon will be nice over Memorial Day Weekend this year. Moonlight Brightness Predictions for the full moon of late May - Early June have been uploaded to the Predicts page. I have also added one photo from a trip to the Salton Sea during the early May full moon.

April 29, 2004

Moonlight brightness predictions for the first week of May have been posted on the technical information page. I added better links on the moonlight gallery to the technical info pages too. And I have begun a long-desired upgrade to the BNSF Harbor Subdivision page. This will include a brief story about the interesting operations on that line from 2000 to 2002, and will feature better image scans and some new images. I also plan to show some images of today's operations.
I'll be at Bertram on the Salton Sea for the moonlight on May 2.

March 28, 2004

Added new web page in the Railroad section that takes a cut at documenting some of the destruction delivered to the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway by Tropical Storm Kathleen in 1976. Also added three new night images to the Moonlight page.
I have also generated the moonlight brightness predictions for April, and these are available on the predicts page. I'll be camping under the full moon this month east of the Salton Sea.

February 22, 2004

Four new moonlight images from a recent trip to Salton Sea have been added to the Moonlight page. One new 4x5 B&W image from that same trip has been added to the Landscapes page. Also, moonlight brightness predictions for March have been posted to the Predicts page in the technical section.

January 25, 2004

Added preliminary reciprocity failure correction factors for Fuji Acros 100. More testing is needed.

January 20, 2004

Added the "Rule of Three 4's" to the technical section - yet another common rule of thumb for taking pictures under full moonlight. Also added note on the response "Midnight at Lower Klondike Loop" has had at

January 9, 2004

Added moonlight brightness predicts page for February 2004. I am working on a script that makes producing these predicts pages a lot easier, which makes it more likely that new ones will be posted frequently.

December 28, 2003

Updated my Bio page - something I've been meaning to do for a while.

December 19, 2003

Added moonlight brightness predictions for the days preceding the full moon of January 2004. See the Moonlight Brightness page in the Technical Info section for the link (I haven't had the time to add the link to the other pages yet). The old predicts page has become an index listing the new prediction pages as they are posted.

December 11, 2003

Preliminary reciprocity failure correction factors have been posted for Kodak 160T transparency film - see the Reciprocity Failure Correction page in the Technical Info section. More testing needs to be done on this film, however the results look fairly reliable, so I don't mind sharing them in their current state.

December 7, 2003

Uploaded updated technical information pages, including the new discussion of moonlight brightness. Working on an update to the Atmospheric Attenuation discussion. After that, all the technical info pages I intend to include will be there, though the content will continue to evolve.

December 4, 2003

Added four images to the New Work page of the Railroad Photo section.
Recently, another recent moonlight photo was added.
I'm looking for a place to publish the paper on determining moonlight exposure times. The paper is nearly finished.

November 16, 2003

The first photo using the new NightLandscapeV5.0 method is now available for viewing on the Moonlight Landscapes page. Every photo made using the new method has been perfectly exposed. Needless to say, I am really jazzed about this!
While the moon was masked by clouds on the coast, out in the desert there was plenty of moonlight. I saw the eclipsed moon rise from a hill in Yuma, Arizona, and did moonlight work at a number of locations. More will be posted when I get the time.

November 5, 2003

The new technical page on light and camera settings is up, though I keep diddling with it. I need to revise the technical page on Atmospheric Attenuation, since I have a whole lot of info gleaned from many sources that has turned up lately.
Unfortunately, it looks like the November 2003 full moon with eclipse will be a bust here in So Cal, since there is a pacific storm that should roll in right on time to spoil it.

October 25, 2003

Over the past week, several things have been done. The Moonlight and Night photography page has been restructured so that new work is featured at the top of the thumbnail table, and several new images have been added. In addition, most of the New Work page in the Railroad Photography section has been rolled over into the Railroad Archives page, and a new group of images is now presented on the New Work page. Besides that, I've gone back to working on captions again to help keep the Anne's of the world happy. I am still working on the paper about predicting moonlight brightness, and am working on a new technical page on how I think Light Values and Exposure Values should be used (countering some stuff I've run across on the internet of late that just doesn't make sense to me). More to come!

October 17, 2003

Added a new moonlight image from the October full moon trip to the Anza Borrego Desert. This was a test of the new moonlight brightness calculation technique in NightLandscape 5, and it appears to be far better than anything I've been using up to now. Planning another trip to Anza Borrego for the November Moon!

October 6, 2003

Working to improve craft and technique while waiting for the darned clouds to go away! Added a note on progress with film testing on the Reciprocity page, and noted things to come on the Moonlight Techniques page. I have also recently added several new photos to the LA Harbor Railroad Photo page, including the one that was recently published in CTC Board Railroads Illustrated (though I have to remember to add that to the Magazines page!).

September 13, 2003

Thanks to Todd Clark, the available web space on has expanded from 2 to 10 megs. I have used the added space to put the LA Harbor Railroad Photography page back up. Now to expanded it! Thanks, Todd !!

September 10, 2003

My Artist's Resume has grown a little, with the publication of one of my photos in CTC Board Railroads Illustrated. I'll scan the slide and include the image on this site when I get it back from the publisher.

Site News: August 3, 2003.

Added some captions to some of the moonlight image display pages. Need to do more captions, according to Ann, who is usually correct about such things. Besides that, I've been searching the literature for actual moonlight brightness measurements to better benchmark the testing I've done. I've also found a good page on atmospheric effects, and will incorporate the info found there. There should be more added in late September, after the September full moon, and after a planned three week road trip. Look for some major updates this fall.

Site News: June 7, 2003.

Completed data reduction from Fuji Provia 100F Reciprocity Test #3. The data for Provia 100F is now good out to 15 minutes indicated exposure. The Reciprocity Failure Correction page on the Moonlight Photo site has been updated with the results from this test, and has been overhauled generally besides.

Site News: June 1, 2003.

Added images for Alpine Tunnel to the Summer 2001 page on the railroad annex, and restructured the page to better lay things out chronologically. However, in doing so, I filled up my Trainweb server space allocation! So, for now, the LA Harbor page has been taken down to free up some space. That is just as well, as upgrading the LA Harbor page was going to be the next project anyway - what was there was mostly just a place holder. It will be back soon with better images and layout.

May 28, 2003.

The site is currently going through a major upgrade and revision. All the railroad pages have been moved over to, since they have generously granted me 10MB of web space for my rail-related topics. That has freed up the existing space for expanded landscape and moonlight photography sections, including an expanded technical section. Look for things like film test data and other useful long-exposure photography information there, with more to come in the near future. The first of the new Poetry section is also up and running, with more to follow. Check back from time-to-time and watch this project grow!

May 27, 2003

There are now 9 poems on the poetry page, three from each of my book-length collections.

May 21, 2003

Having fun experimenting with formats for the new Poetry page. Coming up with something that looks good and yet maintains the typography of my typographically challenging poems is being a challenge in itself.

May 19, 2003

Added several old favorites to the Moonlight Photography Gallery.

May 16, 2003

Added pages to the Moonlight Photography Techniques section, including one for Atmospheric Attenuation Effects, and another for Film Reciprocity Failure Correction. The latter includes the results from my recent tests of Fuji Provia 100F, which has remarkable properties.

May 14, 2003

New railroad photography page is up and running. The old one is still hanging around, but will be retired soon. The amazing thing is that even 10MB isn't enough space to hold all the railroad stuff. Thus the Harbor Sub page is now hosted by Trainorders (Thanks Todd!)
Besides that, there is now a page for our Summer 2001 Summer Road Trip to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. There are several good images that came out of that trip, from the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway, San Luis Valley, and the UP in Utah and Nevada. Though I still need to add images from the famous DSP&P Alpine Tunnel, as well as a couple of those lightning photos from Dinosaur National Monument.

April 26, 2003

Planning major site expansion. has agreed to host my railroad-related pages! Wow, 10 more Megabytes . . . Thanks, Trainweb!

More to come when I get the time!

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Update: May 26, 2010