Night Light of the North Coast: Photography Exhibition at Arts & Drafts

It may be a little early for a 2018 retrospective, but December is approaching, and that month will feature an exhibition of my nighttime photography of Humboldt County at Arts & Drafts in Eureka. So I thought I’d share here a little collection of some of the images that you may have seen here before, and which you will see in physical form when you stop by. Many more are in the show.

I have long been drawn to photographing light in the dark of night. Light is different at night, coming from unusual sources and often in unexpected colors. Whereas the day is filled with light, at night it pools and flows here and there, its sources shining like jewels. The long exposures that the low light requires can provide me the opportunity to paint a scene with my own strokes of light, or to capture the majesty of the Milky Way. Or both.

My interest in night photography began when I was a photo student at HSU in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. I did a lot of painting with light, and was fascinated with catching star trails with long exposures that lasted from many minutes to a couple hours. Back then all of my post processing was done in the HSU Art darkroom where I would fuss over color balance, exposure, and contrast with chemicals, papers, filters, and enlargers. Since then I’ve developed new skills and now I dial in my images using software.

When I first got into nighttime photography, film was not sensitive enough to light to capture the Milky Way with great detail without leaving the shutter open for so many minutes that the stars grew long arcs. Star trails can be fascinating, but during such long exposures the Milky Way becomes a cloudy, indistinct blur. I typically shot with Kodak Ektar 1000 for its high light sensitivity. But while ISO 1000 was relatively sensitive for color film at that time, digital sensors these days are far more sensitive to light. The greater light sensitivity of today’s sensors allows me to use shorter shutter speeds, often 30 seconds or shorter, which keeps the stars from moving too much.

The images in my show come from a place within me that is still drawn to that special beauty of the night, and from some inner desire to share what I can create from it.

I recommend coming to see the photos in person.

The Show:

The show is up at Arts & Drafts, 422 1st Street, Eureka through December.

The Opening is during Arts! Alive, Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 6-9 PM.

Arts & Drafts is open during evening hours.

To see previous entries of “Night Light of the North Coast,” click on my name above the article. If you’d like to keep abreast of my most current photography or peer into its past, you can follow me on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx . I update my website less frequently, but you can contact me there.

The Milky Way meets the glow of an oncoming car amid giant redwood trees outside the entrance to the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove on the Avenue of the Giants.

The crescent moon sets behind Camel Rock, while the Milky Way rises from the Pacific outside of this hidden cave near Camel Rock, Humboldt County, California.

Historic Fernbridge beneath sweeping clouds and a patient cosmos.

Beneath the Milky Way, the covered bridge on Berta Road off Elk River Road serves dutifully outside of Eureka, Humboldt County California.

“She’s Free” Never before seen on Redheaded Blackbelt, this image is from somehwere up on Bear River Ridge Road, May 2018. Model: Morgan Crowl.

This snowy pre-dawn scene was just outside of Kneeland, Humboldt County, CA. at 05:00 on February 21, 2018. It was my first Milky Way shot of 2018.



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