Night Photos

June 30, 2017

A few years ago, painting had begun to feel like work. It was all the rigor and detail they demanded, the way they could take so long to complete, the uncompromising methods. Studio time was burdened and heavy. I was looking to bring back the joy. These night photos are a painter's way of letting go of draftsmanship and control in preference for the auspicious mistake. 

Escaping the isolation of the studio, I wrangle a friend or two with the persuasion of free drinks and the spirit of collaboration.  We select a location in nature marked by amplified beauty yet easy to get to. We apply bug spray and forge a plan. For the next 3 to 20 minutes, it’s long exposure theater improve. A flashlight becomes the painter’s brushstroke, highlighting and drawing forth forms revealed by moonlight and the ambient light of humanity’s electricity reflected off the clouds.  We move about with lights, a little scared, a little excited, trying to be lit, or not, counting out loud, careful to light without over exposing. Once shot. the camera needs to cook the file the same amount of time as the exposure. So we hang out as anticipation builds, a childlike appreciation for surprise and the pleasure of creating. Hands down, each photo is as compelling as a birthday present. 

Under the Blessed Moon

In June, Buddhist’s celebrate the holy day of Saka Dawa on the full moon. They honor the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha who had grown weary and tired of the suffering of life ad so renounced his kingdom and family. He went forth in solitude, a seeker who sat under a tree next to a river until enlightened understanding dawned within him.

This photo was shot on Saka Dawa in Garrison, NY. It is a long exposure of approximately 7 minutes. Three people teamed together to make this happen. One person stood by the camera to call out 30 second intervals while the other two illuminated the tree and path with flashlights. The bright light of the moon enhanced the cloud coverage which gently blurs along its path of motion over the time of the exposure. The image was enhanced in Lightroom. 


In Zen Buddhism, the Enso circle symbolizes non-duality and the moment when the mind is free to let the body create. Like spring’s abundant energy leading to the full bloom of tree blossoms, our creative energy surges when we allow for movement, space, wisdom and joy to permeate. 

In this case, I created an Eno circle of hands by lighting them in 6” intervals in a circle around my body. I used the warm light of the mag light to illuminate the building and my body and the cool light of the LED to light the tree. In order to avoid harsh shadowing,  I lit the tree in the round by walking back and forth, lighting the tree from top to bottom several times. This image was approximately 7 minutes and was enhanced in Lightroom.  


Humans have always used the natural world to demarcate gathering places, sacred land centers, and community gathering areas. People gathered at these natural places to share and disseminate knowledge, to perform ritual, create treaties and alliances, and mingle families. North American Natives bent trees in recognizable shapes to designate burial grounds and trade routes.  

This image was taken in Garrison, NY. I set up the tripod on a dark and misty night, far away from the tree which is the focal point. Then I walked to the tree and lit myself as three characters under the tree. Over the course of the long exposure, the camera picked up the landscape by ambient light, human made night light permeating the atmosphere while the mist softened the edges of trees and ridges.  

Three Muses

The Muses are blessings with good ideas that visit you when you open your heart, listen and appreciate their guidance. They are ripe with inspiration, new ideas, options, experiments, and risky notions. They keep the creative life moving forward, one decision at a time. Mostly, they come in whispers and it isn’t until you’ve brought their song into form that you can appreciate it’s value.

This image was photographed in Garrison, NY with the intention of capturing the beauty of the old autumn tree before it dropped its leaves. I set up the camera at a good distance, opened the shutter and recorded the surface of the ground and my walking path by swinging my flashlight back and forth. I then illuminated myself in three positions at the base of the tree. Finally, I spent time lighting the tree itself before returning to the camera, lighting the ground behind me in the same manner as earlier.

Night Reflection



Our nature, ever changing, vacillating between pleasure and pain, good and bad, is more of a map of opposites than any one characteristic. Like the day shifts to night and back to day, our inner experience is marked by tidal movements. We are not real so much as reflections of ever changing experience.

This photo was taken under the full moon on a windy night on Mt. Beacon in NY. We hiked up at sunset and stayed on as the moon rose. This exposure was about 5 minutes. The trees were blurred by the wind, the sky and landscape were brightly lit by the moon. The model was illuminated from two directions, casting two strong shadows. The final image was enhanced in Lightroom.


Fourth of July Promotion

buy 2 night photos and get one free 

Choose your three favorites and email with titles and sizes to take advantage of the sale. All photos are printed at the Highland Print Studio in Cold Spring, NY.