Resource Magazine Article, PhotoPlus, and some fun upcoming events

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Night Photography with Gabriel Biderman by Billy Murray-1

I’m thrilled to be featured in the latest issue of Resource Magazine.  The Biz section focuses on educators in the industry and I gotta say, it was the coolest interview I’ve ever done.  I met up with writer, Billy Murray, one night this summer – it ended up being a mix of one-on-one workshop and just hanging out and talking about creativity.  Billy’s weapon of choice is the pen, so he was blown away with the type of images you can capture when you let those long exposures rip for more than a fraction of a second.  The above photo was one of Billy’s first successful shots taken that night.

Resource Magazine Fall 2014 Issue Cover

The main spread in the Fall Issue of Resource Magazine focuses on YouTube icon and renowned filmmaker, Casey Niestat.  I’m a big fan of Casey, and was psyched to slurp down some Vietnamese food with him and (founder/president of Resource Mag) Alex during one of the videos they were making for the issue.  I’m inspired by Casey , who continually questions the rules that most of society accepts.  His classic videos – iPod’s Dirty Secret and Bike Lanes were pivotal in changing Apple and NYC’s policies.

 You can order the Fall Issue to be delivered or purchase the interactive online version.

This week is “Photo Week” in NYC, as the largest photographic tradeshow in the States – PhotoPlus Expo – comes to the Javits Center.  PPE is a great place to network and meet and geek out with friends!  The expo hall features all the latest gear from vendors from around the world and hundreds of influencers in the industry offer lectures, portfolio critiques, and lead photowalks.

You can pick up a free Expo Only pass until October 28th by registering here.

B&H kicks off this famous photo week by hosting their annual Maine Media Workshop Party at a special after-hours party!   Come see Gabe wear his famous clown tie and mingle with the who’s who in the photo community!  There will be a photo booth, Canon will have a print station, and you’ll have a chance to win some very cool prizes.  Plus did I mention how cool it is to party at B&H once the store is closed?  In order to get past security – you’ll have to RSVP here.

If you can’t come to the party – make sure you get those free expo passes and come check out the show.  I’ll be at the B&H booth (455) Thursday and Friday – we will be handing out our famous Show Specials and candy!  I’ll also be speaking with Jill Waterman and Matt Hill on Saturday November 1st from 10:15am-12:15pm.  Yes, I know that is an early time for any night photographer to be up but  a cup of coffee and our lecture Night Photography:  Step by Step is a great combo to start your day!  After the lecture, I’ll be signing copies of my book, Night Photography:  From Snapshots to Great Shots on the Expo Floor.  This is the first year that Photo Plus has featured an official Book Signing and they have gathered some amazing artists.  So come by and say hello to me or one of your favorite photographers!

PPE_Book Signing[7][3][13][1]



The Process of Poring

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The process of poring over your work is full of nostalgia, criticism, angst, and pride.  As an artist, you need to spend time with your work to see what sticks.  Some images that were important to me last year don’t have nearly the same hold now. We constantly create to inspire and inspire to create. Back in January, Tony Rizzuto, from Photographer’s Breakthrough, asked if he could feature me as their February Breakthrough Artist.  I’ve long admired Tony’s imagery and educational work.  He started Photographer’s Breakthrough over a year ago with fellow creative Elizabeth Stone.  It is an amazing online resource to get feedback, listen to critiques, and gain inspiration.

Photographers Breakthrough

I can’t remember the last time I was interviewed, and I was definitely a little bit nervous.  Luckily they sent me their questions via email and I was given a week to reply!  I was asked to submit 40+ images broken into 3 different themes.  The 3 themes I chose all had to deal with Time. Night Visions focuses on my fascination with the night sky. Time Exposed explores the movements and magic of the long exposure – with a heavy focus on my pinhole work. Moving Portraits, a new project, hasn’t been featured on ruinism before.  This is my take on the smaller snippets of time.  I combine these little flip book photos to create mini video vignettes of moments that we might normally pass by.   Soon after all the words and pictures were sent off to Photographer’s Breakthrough; another good friend, Eileen Rafferty, asked if she could feature my work in the winter issue of her magazine, Butterflies and Anvils.  I met Eileen about the same time I met Tony at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography.  Eileen is an inspirational educator that is very fascinated with the process of creativity. Eileen had recently come to speak at the B&H Event Space as well as be featured on B&H’s Photo’s Real Exposures.

B&A Winter

I have been a big fan of Butterflies and Anvils – Eileen’s photographic journal about inspiration and art.  I’m proud to say that I have all 8 issues of this quarterly magazine and was honored to have my work featured in the latest issue. Because I had recently subjected myself to this “poring over” process with Photographer’s Breakthrough, I felt an incredible comfort with my work and where I was going.  Of course that can change on a daily basis, but once Eileen and I got chatting about my images and the process of photography, you couldn’t shut us up!  We talked about various projects, tools, and inspirations for over an hour and a half. Once we had the words, we discussed what photographs would fit best.  I’m very interested to get the magazine and to see how Eileen edited the work.  She did send over the first page of our interview which can be seen below.

Butterflies and Anvils Issue 9 Winter 2013

Issue 9 Winter 2013 of Butterfly and Anvils will also feature more visions, creative writing, seasonal flavors, and general musings on the artistic path from Eileen and her friends.  Issues are printed on demand through HP’s MagCloud and cost $20. HP uses a heavy stock paper and the quality of the journal is very high.  Once you order Butterflies and Anvils, it typically takes 7-10 days to get in the mail. I should have mine next week! So please check out Photographer’s Breakthrough and Butterflies and Anvils and let me know what you think. If you are a Creative, don’t forget take some time to really go through your work.  Make some prints, share them online, hang them on the wall and live with them. Look at what you did 10 years ago, 5 years, last year, and last month. What images still resonate? Keep poring and keep creating.

Night Photography Seminar at Photo Plus

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Will you be in New York next week for the largest Photo Trade Show in the US – Photo Plus?
If so – you should join me and 3 other incredibly diverse photographers for a 2 hour seminar on Thursday October 25th from 4-6pm.
Whether you are new to the night or want to improve your technique, you are bound to gain more inspiration and knowledge from this hand picked panel of night photographers that I am very honored to be a part of.

The seminar is called – Mastering the Night:  From Gaining Access to Choosing Gear to Perfecting Technique and More.

I’ll be breaking down what gear works best to successfully create an image in the many different night environments.  My day job at B&H lets me test a ton of toys and I’ll be bringing that knowledge to the table.  I’ll share with you the benefits and drawbacks to the latest crop of DSLRs and Evil cameras as well as the viability of film cameras that can create longer exposures than digital SLRs.  There are so much gear for photography, but I’ll shine a light on the key accessories that you’ll definitely want to have in your bag when the sun goes down.

Steve Duncan, urban historian and photographer, who documents the unseen infrastructure of metropolises all over the world will be sharing his images and adventures.  He will give us insight into gaining access from unthinkable locations as well as how to safely navigate through tunnels, towers, and aqueducts!  If you haven’t seen the 30 minute film on Steve called UNDERCITY by Andrew Wonder – watch it now.  Urban exploring is dangerous enough, but to film Steve as he leads us through abandoned subway stations, canals, and climbs to the top of bridges is simply mind blowing.


Linda Rutenberg, a professional fine art photographer, author of 5 books, and teacher for the last 30 years will bring us gently back to earth.  Linda’s Garden at Night series is ingenious.  By choosing the night time to capture some of the most famous gardens in the world  we are shown a very special time when “plants and flowers possess a kind of luminescent elegance, reflecting light from their surface”.  Her images are surreally sumptuous and she will be sharing her soft lighting tips as well as her story on seeing a project through from inspiration to completion.


And finally, moderator Jill Waterman, author of one of the best books on night photography – Night and Low Light Photography will showcase  recent work from the night photography community before opening up floor to discussion.  Jill is the senior editor of the ASMP Bulletin and Editor of PDNedu. Her global series on The New Year’s Eve Project depicts how humans all over the world have been celebrating.


I want to thank Jill for organizing this very unique class – Night Photography has been one of the fastest growing photographic genres over the last 5 years and part of the beauty is the unseen mystery of the night.

So come take the next step and be inspired to see better in the night!

King Jagiello and the Big Guy in the Sky

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Central Park is like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story.  You can enter many ways and each one will lead down a new path to a different ending.  On a night that I wanted to shoot Cleopatra’s needle, one of the oldest artifacts in the US, it was a later adventure with King Jagiello that left me wondering about the magic of photography.

I was shooting with a good friend of mine, JC, whose just the kind of guy you want around when the zombie apocalypse comes.  There’s never a dull moment with the big guy, who is a retired cop, an incredibly talented photographer, and has a sense of honor to family and friends that is second to none.

We composed and recomposed around the “Victor over the Teutonic Aggressors at Grunwald” and tried to figure out why a statue to the King of Poland from the 15th century was so prominently displayed in the park.

During an 8 minute exposure, I noticed an airplane was going to fly into the composition.  Not wanting the lights of the plane to create “airplane trails”  through the image, I held my hand over the lens, careful not to bump it, until the plane had flown out of the view.  Typically I’ll use a black card and hold it over the lens, a technique I’ve successfully used with long exposures and fireworks, but I didn’t have one this night.  Any light source  – a streetlight, car light, flashlight, or cellphone that comes into direct view during the capture time – no matter how far it is, will be etched into the image.

When I reviewed the back of the screen I was flabbergasted.

Where had this ghost come from?  I was shooting low with a 50mm lens, but somehow JC and I had wandered into the frame.  He’s the spirit on the left and I’m the crazy looking cloud on the right.  I had only seen a few stars in the sky, it is the middle of Manhattan, but the sensor definitely recorded more than I had seen.

Notice the star trails are fragmented.  This is because I covered the lens for probably 15 seconds while the plane passed through.  My hand “stops” the exposure for that time, but the earth continues to rotate. When I reveal the exposure again, the stars have traveled further along creating a gap in between.


And this is why I love photography, especially during the night,  when we can play with time.  There were several mistakes made during this photographic adventure but they were perfectly placed and brought a completely different ending to a story that I “read” many time before.


Happy Birthday JC, the big guy in the sky, glad to see you got my back.

A Letter to Grandma

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Phyllis Freeman Gustafson was my Grandmother.
She was also known as Bubbie, Mom, Auntie Pessie, and a dear friend to a lot of people.
To me, she was Cape Cod.

One of the first times that I met her was after my first airplane flight at the age of 5.  My Mom and I just moved from the West Coast to as far as you could go on the East Coast, Dennisport Massachusetts. The memories are flooding back.

We were surrounded by water on the peninsula turned isthmus, known simply as the Cape. And it was the water, the sea, the warmer Atlantic Ocean that fueled my Grandmother.  We practically lived at the beach during the summer, collecting silver dollars, shells and hunting for hermit and horseshoe crabs. The Cape’s high and low tides push and reveal the underbelly of the Sea. During low tides Grandma would lead us as we would walk or float out to the distant sandbars. And there we would rest, in the middle of this temporary island, with the shore now in distance along the horizon line.

Our visits out to these sandbars were never too long, the tides quickly changed their minds and reclaimed the land they revealed.
Thinking about this now, it is easy to make allusions to sandbars and the style of photography that I love.  Long Exposure Photography reveals the unseen time:  the seconds, minutes and hours that can evolve in a single exposure.  Star trails, moving water, and time can not be seen with the naked eye but it can be captured with a camera.  However, each capture, each picture, is a one of a kind.

I took 8 shots of the lower left image. I varied the exposure between 4 and 8 seconds, and each time the water and sky moved differently, thus creating a unique photograph every time.

Grandma Gus was a high energy woman, to say the least.  She spoke her mind, whenever, wherever, and pushed you to be. That push frustrated a lot of her family and friends at times but probably because we didn’t know what or who we wanted “to be” yet.  Once we had an idea, she fueled it ~ bringing us to museums, sending books, or taking us on inspirational trips.

When I graduated college, majoring in Theater, she got me a camera. We all know the road that has led me down.
And when I moved from the East back to the West and was going through some tough times, she flew out to see me. She saw that I did not want or know how to process what I was going through,  So she took me to the Ocean to see the unseen. It was the first time that Grandma Gus touched the Pacific Ocean. Walking through the water at Ocean Beach in San Francisco is not a popular thing to do, the water is constantly cold, no swimming out to sandbars here! But Grandma took off her shoes and didn’t think twice.
I had the camera in my hand and took one shot, the one you see above.

I love you Grandma, you were always there for us, even when we didn’t think we needed it.
I’ll miss you dearly but will carry your spirit as it continues to push me along..

I invite anyone who knew Phyllis Freeman Gustafson to share a story on this blog. In this little way we can keep a record of her life and inspirations. If you would like a free copy of the 8×10 photograph of Phyllis walking along the Pacific please contact me.