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51-42 30th Ave
NY, 11377
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914-643-3069

Web Gallery of cut paper artist and night photographer Matt Hill. 

 

Blog - thoughts, travels, insights and meanderings

Blog of night, travel and fine art photographer + cut paper artist Matt Hill | Queens, NY. Join the fun!

National Parks at Night

Matt Hill

Announcing: NATIONAL PARKS AT NIGHT!

I am so very delighted to share with you a dream that was almost two years in the making. Gabe and I have been talking about launching a program for night photography workshops in national parks, and now it's a reality.

There are five instructors: Gabriel Biderman, Lance Keimig, Tim Cooper, Chris Nicholson and myself. We are teaching one workshop only at each location. So please join us! In th meantime, here is a little story about how I fell in love with Arches National Park, and how NPAN was born:


I was on a road trip with my best friend and one of our stops was Moab and specifically Arches. I had, of course, seen the photos others had made. I had imagined the ones I could take. And I was excited.

We rolled in in late afternoon, checked in and drove straight into the park. It was sunset, and we wanted to see a few choice locations and scout for potential night photography.

At sunset, the red rocks glow; they almost vibrate with color. I was a passenger, and glad of it. My neck was whipping from side to side, and I was mentally noting every location I wanted to document by the light of the full moon later.

Did I mention it was January?

Having seen enough roadside attractions, we stopped at the base of the viewpoint for Delicate Arch. seeing it for the first time allowed for contemplation of scale. I knew that a person in juxtaposition to that stone semicircle was minuscule, and it looked small from the roadside. We decided to hike up in magic hour.

The snowy and icy approach was treacherous. But the opportunity to see Delicate Arch from above with daylight-bright moonlight behind it was magical. It was also quite cold, so we spent 1/2 hour up there making some long exposures – all the while mesmerized by the geological wonder in front of us.

Descending by flashlight and moonlight, we chatted excitedly about what we had seen, agreeing that more people should see it by moonlight. I filed that one away and immediately started thinking about bringing other lovers of night photography to Arches for a similar experience.

We did more roadside shooting that evening. The snow, moonlight and clear, bright skies erased any concerns I had for the cold weather. I was in the midst of being totally present in one of the most beautiful spaces I had ever seen.

We are only teaching at Arches National Park once. We hope you join us!

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook

VIDEO: Master Artistic Mashups to Stimulate Creativity [ADC School of Craft]

Matt Hill

Apply your creativity with someone else’s, and you will both do something better together.
— Matt

via the ADC: "Matt Hill is passionate about fusing all his passions, effectively creating his own mashup masterpiece. In this course, Matt shows us how to combine long-exposure night photography, cut paper art and barely-clothed models to create an incredible project that he calls “Night Paper."

Originally posted in October 2014 by the Art Directors Club in collaboration with Skillfeed. 

NOTE: I am sorry to say that Skillfeed closed its doors this Fall. But both the ADC and Skillfeed gave me permission to re-post this for all to enjoy. Thanks for watching!

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook

I am so stoked to be chosen for the altMBA program

Matt Hill

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across Seth Godin's altMBA program while seeing what Seth has been up to lately on his website.

I was a) shocked that I had not heard about it when launched earlier in 2015 and b) immediately wanted to be part of this experience. They had me after three paragraphs. Seriously.

So, I read about the commitment, the possibilities, and then consulted my wife. Well, it's a solid 30-day commitment and I will be immersed in day work plus this for neigh on a month. She practically pushed me back to the computer and said, "go for it! They made it for you."

Well, apparently, the team that chose the lucky 100 people for the third altMBA session agreed with Mabel. I got in. And I really can't wait for early January to come. I'm ready to collaborate, iterate and ship it. For my friends in the photo industry, this is like getting chosen for Barnstorm. I am humbled, but feel empowered. I am ready.

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook

Night photography at Loop Head Lighthouse in Ireland

Matt Hill

Looking north by northwest from the Loop Head Peninsula two days after a full moon. Prints available for purchase - contact Matt@matthillart.com 

At the tail end of our journey around Ireland, we spent a mystical evening on the southern tip of the Clare County of Ireland's west coast. The location is called Loop Head, a mispronunciation of "Leap Head" from Irish folklore where certain gentlemen escaped a witch by leaping out to the island featured above, and then back. They escaped because the witch did not make the leap back, and legend says her head was found 3 days later at Hags Head up the coast along the Cliffs of Moher. The story illustrates why it's important to not stand too close to the edge, as what my look like solid ground, may have naught underneath it and can fall into the sea.

We scouted earlier in the day, having a wonderful afternoon walking around the lighthouse grounds on the peninsula. Here are a few daylight photos from that jaunt.

Breathtaking views, seals, birds, sea, air... it all adds up to an ideal location for night photography... one would think! But when the night comes, all that sea air and ocean makes for a quick dew/mist. As we approached midnight, it became unbearable - one swipe of my lens to clear it and not three seconds later it was covered in nature's soft focus filter ;-) If you also choose to go here after dark, it's easy to park (and free). But please do be extra careful near the cliffs. Here are my best from the evening:

 

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook

Photographing the Giants Causeway in Ireland at Night

Matt Hill

The unique basalt rock formation that comprise the Giants Causeway see from the side under strong moonlight. Prints available for purchase - contact Matt@matthillart.com

I must say that I was very lucky. The weather at the Giants Causeway is reportedly very uncooperative on a regular basis. We chose, totally at random, a near-perfect evening. Am I am very grateful, as this location was of singular importance photographically during a vacation with my wife. 

But I must stress that daytime scouting is integral to a successful night photo shoot. We visited in the late afternoon and that experience gave us a footprint and game plan for later that evening. Here are some shots of what it looks like during daytime from my phone:

While daytime scouting, I used a combination of apps to determine the moon's position and time, including Photographer's Ephemeris, Starmap2, Tides, LightTrac, MoonPhase and WeatherUnderground (the latter is fantastic for both weather and sunrise/sunset in on place).

It was only one day after the popular Blood Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse, so we had a daylight-bright moon coming over the south rim of the cliffs ahead of us. And partly cloudy, but very high, slow-moving clouds. All in all, it was a stupendous setup for night photography. But it had its challenges.

The rocks are study, but uneven. Dangerous if you like to move too quickly - care is paramount. And the ascent to the main part of the causeway is a little steep. but manageable. And since the moon was due south, it was also a challenge to find angle where the moon was not totally flaring the lens or flat lighting the unique geology. I think we did pretty good.

I also would like to add one important thing about being a night photographer - the community is outstanding. We met another fellow long exposure devotee there named John, who lives only 30 minutes away. Not only was he extremely friendly, but he was also helpful. A young couple was camping and attempting their first NPy, and he generously provided tips and instruction to them, as well as some insights and encouragement to us. Well met, John! I hope to shoot with you again. And now, the photos: 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook