The International Nightscapes Exhibit showcasing Bob Chilton’s photography will be on display at the Uptown Downtown Art Gallery & Studio in Rockwall next week.
The exhibit will begin on Aug. 26 with a reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. that is open to the public.
Chilton’s nightscapes were shot around the world and taken at night.
“You get a lot more saturation at night. You get a lot more contrast at night. You get more unusual situations at night,” Chilton said.
Chilton said one reason fine art photography is captured at night is due to the lack of people. He said cities, like Prague, are tourist hubs for about three months a year. During those three months, he said, Prague is visited by about three million tourists — which is fine for tourist photography. However, Chilton said most fine art photography such as shots like his tend to be “peopleless scenes.”
“Avoiding them is a major effort and one of the ways you do that is you shoot at night,” Chilton said. “So, you go out at about midnight and you avoid the crowds and you get a special look at things.”
Chilton does not take only nighttime photos of cities, though. He has also traveled to parks and different parts of the country to take nature or celestial photos.
Chilton once traveled to Utah for a celestial photography workshop. While there, Chilton said the workshop members focused on the computer generation of editing from 4 to 6 p.m. Then, they would meet up around 10 p.m. and shoot until 3 or 4 in the morning.
But the workshop didn’t run smoothly, and demonstrated something Chilton said fine art photographers have to develop: patience.
“Unfortunately, the first night there was cloud cover. In the second night, there was cloud cover. Went out the third night and there was cloud cover again,” Chilton said.
Chilton said the third night was the last night of the workshop. The instructor ended up calling a friend who lived about 100 miles away where there were breaks in the cloud coverage.
Chilton said they drove about 100 miles to Goblin State Park to take photos of the Milky Way.
“We set up our gear and set up our lights and waited for clouds to part. We waited. We waited. We waited,” Chilton said.
Finally, at a quarter to 3 a.m., the clouds parted and Chilton had 20 minutes to shoot the Milky Way.
“So, it took four days, three nights to capture that one image,” Chilton said. “You have to develop a lot of patience when you’re doing fine art photography. It’s so unlike the selfie generation that’s going on today.”
Patience is only one part of the fine art photography process. Chilton said both capturing the image and then editing the image are important aspects of the process. But, what most people don’t realize, according to Chilton, is that capturing the image requires education and technique.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you’ve got a wonderful eye’ — well, people aren’t born with that eye,” Chilton said. “They have to develop that eye and they have to study to get the composition right, the lighting right.”
Editing, on the other hand, is a small point of contention amongst photography circles. While some photographers believe the image should be left raw and untouched, others, like Chilton, view editing as one a way to enhance photos, bringing them closer to the eye’s perception, and creating an additional art platform.
Editing has also become extremely common amongst photos today.
“I would say somewhere around 95 percent of the photographs you see around the walls of locations today are edited,” Chilton said. “That’s where the artistry comes in.”
Chilton said he loves the photography learning process and that editing is a big part of learning.
“I’m firmly convinced that you could start studying Photoshop now and for a hundred years you would never understand it all,” Chilton said.
But photography doesn’t come without other struggles. Chilton said, aside from the learning process, there is significant competition in today’s photography world because everyone thinks his or her photos are wonderful.
“Everybody thinks they’re an Ansel Adams now,” Chilton said.
He said with everyone going to galleries and saying they have all of these great photos to offer, photographers often go in with a portfolio and “they say take a number.”
“It’s very difficult to get gallery representation,” Chilton said.
Chilton’s exhibition will be at Uptown Downtown Art Gallery & Studio located at 301 N San Jacinto St. Aug. 26 through Sept. 10.
Chilton will also be holding a workshop at Uptown Downtown Art Gallery & Studio on Aug. 31 that will teach people how to capture award-winning photos using a smartphone. The workshop is $50.
For more information, visit uptowndowntowngallery.com or visit its Facebook page.
Anne Fox may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.