My visual, audio and literary stuff is free here, but my hold-in-your-hands books, prints, and CDs cost real money. If you want to buy something tactile from me, contact me at stujenks at gmail dot com, or message me on Facebook. If you simply want to look and read for free, that's fine too, but don't hesitate to send me your sofa change. My snail mail address is P.O. Box 161, Tucson, Arizona 85702. Keep those cards and letters coming. And sofa change too. Love and light, Stu.
I've been asked to write for B & H Photo, regarding safety and etiquette when shooting nocturnal photography.
I've made my mistakes in the past. Yes I have. (See the chapter in my book "Flame Spirals" regarding the shooting of “Owl's Head Flame Spiral.” I had a white gas incident where I used too much of the fuel but I had a fire extinguisher at hand. And luckily within seconds, the flames dissipated. Dumb.)
I learned and grew from those mistakes. (See "Altar of Repose" where I created the illusion of the flame spiral, made with a Zippo lighter, being much closer to the lace than it actually was.)
I also changed lighting instruments over the years to be less dangerous. (See "My Ghost Likes To Travel" or "Abajo Mountain Hoop Dance" that were created with large hula hoops with Christmas lights attached.)
And of late, I've gone lighter, making it easier to hike into the wilds or around the cities. (See "Paris Hoop Dance," "Catawba Falls Hoop Dance," and “Avebury Hoop Dance” where I now use swinging strings of battery-powered LED Christmas lights.)
That's the progression of how my lightning instruments have changed in my 20-year career, but it just talks to how I make stuff. It doesn't speak to how to be a good person as I make stuff.
Here are some simple rules that I try to live by when shooting at night.
Rule One:Do no harm. Don't hurt the plants and trees, disturb the rocks, or make a mess on the streets. Go in, get the shot you want, and then leave the land or the cityscape as you found it.
Rule Two:Don't be a jerk. This is a big one and those of you who are jerks don't think you are. But you are nonetheless. You getting that cool shot at any cost. Good folk with morals and values feel guilty when they hurt the land or are loud and obnoxious around other people or burn an old abandoned store to the ground just to get that cool steel wool shot. Many photographers and people in general, feel no shame these days. We live in a very self-centered, shameless culture now. I don't know what to say to change that. Jerks are jerks. Some people just have to get The Shot. Whatever. I'm telling you, your photos are not as important as you think. Nor are you. For the good folk out there, (and I would include most everyone reading this article), just be the good man or woman you are. Be respectful. Be quiet. Be kind. Be generous. Be nice. Not only will you feel better, but your photographs will look better.
Rule Three:I quiet my mind as I unload the truck to go shoot at night. I say a little prayer. I take a deep breath. I close my eyes and meditate for a couple of seconds. I open my eyes in the full moon light and see what I see. I think. I feel. I plan. I throw away that plan and do something else. I breath. I breath again. I take a better photograph than the one I first had in mind. By quieting my mind, I open my eyes.
Rule Four:Bring at least two extra camera batteries. Bring at least two flashlights.
Rule Five:Hiking boots with hopefully good ankle support. Really. Even in the city. I mean it.
Rule Six:Don't fall off a cliff while shooting a shot. (See "Ghost Horses.” Dancing with that hula hoop of light was a little dicey there for a moment. It was a long way down. I almost went. Glad I didn't. My motto now? Don't die dumb.)
Rule Seven:As you load up your vehicle at the end of a shoot or sling your bag and tripod over your shoulder as you prepare to leave, turn back to where you've taken your photos and thank the land. Say it out loud. Say "Thank you." You, as an American, are living in a relatively safe country, where you can walk the city and trek into the woods and out into the desert, and shoot these images without the fear (mostly) of being shot and killed yourself. So show a bit of gratitude and thank the land that gave you this image and this experience. For me, it puts food on my table, but also puts joy in my heart.
Hope this helps, buckaroos. Be good out there shooting at night. Remember, the condition of your body and soul are more important than the pixels stored in your camera.
"Sunset Crater Angel Ghosts, Arizona" (c) 2016 Stu Jenks.
Everything you see here is on the digital RAW negative. No fancy Photoshop was done besides some color saturation changes. And the Angel Ghosts were drawn with a string of battery powered Christmas lights. Enjoy y'all.
I was just at a Starbuck's buying an Egg Nog Latte, when a homeless woman came in and asked the clerk, "Do you have anything for just a dollar?"
I'm not struggling like her obviously, but as my father used to say, "It's not what you make but what you spend." And having my own business, Fezziwig Press, costs money and my little company isn't making enough money right now.
So I'm doing an Amanda Fucking Palmer thing. If I don't ask, you don't know to give.
Fezziwig Press and I have been struggling financially for the last year or so. Namely, I'm not quite breaking even, still a few hundred dollars in the red each month, even with my part time counseling gig and all. I'm making some sales with image rights, book sales, music sales, etc, but not like I did five to ten years ago. So I'm putting out the artistic begging bowl. And I'm giving shit away.
The Transpersonal Papers (1861-2010) was released in 2011. Cost a boat load to produce but I only sold seven ebook copies. (Thank you to the seven, by the way.) So I'm offering it today, to you all, for free.
If you like The Transpersonal Papers, or the StuBlog, or my work, I ask that you give a little money to my Paypal account. My log-in is my email address, stujenks at gmail dot com, spelled like you normally would type it. Donate to my Paypal, or buy some books, or send money to P.O.Box 161, Tucson, AZ 85702. Whatever you like. No expectations, but if I don't ask, you don't know. And of course, if you don't give, that's perfectly all right too. We're all tight these days, don't I know. Or you just might not like my stuff that much. It's all good, as the kids say. Except for my ever-shrinking savings account.
I hope you enjoy the photographs and the stories in this book. Perhaps someday I'll have enough money to print it as a large coffee table book, like it was originally envisioned. Perhaps not, but you can have it right now for free. Enjoy.
And as a special free treat to those who buy Step Zero, I'll send you a pdf of The Lost Images of Step Zero, a hundred plus images that didn't make the final edit, but are a nice adjunct to the Step Zero experience, whatever that means. Just send me a Facebook message or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send the PDF right to you.
So push those buttons and buy those books, boys and girls, for baby needs a new pair of shoes.
From The Lost Images Of Steps Zero PDF:
Top to bottom, "A Rose For Chessie, California", "Matt Antone's Ginger, Arizona", "The 41 Nights, Arizona", and "Michael and Chessie's Moon, California".