Night Portraits of Night Photographers

I think it’s important to show your work to your peers and get feedback, especially when it’s new work you’re experimenting with. In this spirit, I thought I’d share a few night portraits I’ve been experimenting with.

At this year’s Night Photography Festival in Mono Lake, CA, I had a blast teaching an advanced class and making images side-by-side with so many people. But it was all the guest speakers, instructors and fantastic night photographers all in one place that was so unique about this gathering. Lance and I reserved Bodie State Park for two nights instead of one this year so that our group of 40+ could have ample time exploring and making images in the king of all ghost towns. Despite having this exceptional nighttime access to such an extraordinary place, I felt compelled to make portraits of the photographers themselves instead of the ghost town.

Now I’m no portrait photographer, and I don’t have any experience doing this, but I wanted to explore this idea of making portraits of night photographers in their habitat. These are 1-2 minute exposures by moonlight where I’m adding light on the subject with a flashlight (not a flash!). Since I prefer side-lighting from two sides with a handheld flashlight, it was challenging for the subject to keep still during the light painting and throughout the rest of the exposure.

As it turned out, other photographers started adding their own light while my shutter was open and some became a collaborative effort. So a tip of the hat to Lance Keimig, Troy Paiva and Tom Paiva for their added light and all the subjects for their collaboration and enthusiasm with this – it was a blast working with all of you. Perhaps those of you that know their work can pick out their handiwork?

I’ve included the names of these photographers below their portrait. They are all much more experienced photographers whose work I admire – please Google their names and check out their work if you aren’t familiar with them. And feel free to leave comments below.

August 20, 2011 · filed under: commentary , general announcements

12 Responses to “Night Portraits of Night Photographers”

  1. Mario Rubio Says:

    Good night photographers I can see there!
    Greetings from Spain!

  2. Nora Says:

    Scott, these turned out great! I especially like the ones taken in Bodie.

  3. Seth Says:

    Great portraits! I’m interested to know how there is no movement with the stars if these are 1 or 2 min exposures?

  4. Scott Martin Says:

    Thanks guys! They are all from Bodie except Russell’s from Mono Lake. The full resolution prints so that the stars do move in a line. These are low enough resolution that they look like star points. Star points would be nice but I need the 1-2 minute exposure for the ambient moonlit exposure.

  5. Marty Says:

    Very cool!! The images look fantastic. Great idea!!

  6. Rusty Jackson Says:

    Well done Scott. I didn’t know Gabriel was there too. Next summer for sure.

  7. Didi Medina Says:

    How is the subject so sharp on such a long exposure?

  8. Scott Martin Says:

    While the exposure was over a minute the flashlight splashed on their bodies only took a few seconds. Still, there were lots of outtakes!

  9. James Says:

    These are great. In what phase was the moon in during these images? Thanks.

  10. Scott Martin Says:

    Thanks! Full moon during these images – makes for quick 1-2 minute exposures with added light painting. The shadow is from the moonlight. Cheers.

  11. Alanna Says:

    What kind of flashlight(s) did you use to expose the people? Did you need to move it around a lot or did you hold in one place?

  12. Scott Martin Says:

    Thanks for your comment! I paint slowly with flashlights instead of using flash. These “brushstrokes” are much more controllable and help create the look you see here with minimal spillover. I use the Streamlight flashlights mentioned at the top of my links page.

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