Making the Night Dark – in Black + White

Grace Cathedral - San Francisco - by H K Stockdale
Grace Cathedral - San Francisco - by H.K. Stockdale - detail

I planned out this photo a long time before I took it.

For two years in a row, I spent a month staying right across from this magnificent cathedral on Nob Hill. I love Gothic architecture, San Francisco, and the night, and I thought I saw a way to combine all three.

I knew I had to get it when the stained glass windows were lit from within and the building itself was lit from without. It was a very cold night and I was wearing a full-length wool coat and a cap (typical of summer in San Francisco). I wanted to get the traffic moving in front; and was hoping for a shot with the classic American taxi shape in the foreground. I felt the cable car could possibly work too.

Grace Cathedral - San Francisco - by H K Stockdale
Grace Cathedral - San Francisco - by H.K. Stockdale

I used Kodak TMax 400 speed film which I like to use at night because it makes the dark look dark.

As Helmut Newton said, the problem with taking photographs at night is not that there’s not enough light, it’s that there’s often too much light.

Guest Photo Blog by H.K. Stockdale

Author: H.K. Stockdale

5 thoughts on “Making the Night Dark – in Black + White

  1. Beautiful shots………I love black and white night shots….so film-noirish!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cable car was a great addition, perfect timing….

  2. Hello Ken, I’ve stumbled upon your site when I was searching assistance with page drop box. I looked at your site and I really like the setup of it.

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