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Michael Layefsky in the Picturish Gallery

Above and Beyond
October 29 to January 2, 2013
Reception Saturday, December 1st from 2 to 5 pm

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Technology has always had a way of changing art. Meet Michael Layefsky, a Berkeley photographer who has found a way to combine new tech digital cameras and radio controls with the older technologies of kites and large helium balloons to create sky-high photographs that formerly only birds could take.m_layefsky_claremont

For the past fifteen years, Berkeley photographer Michael Layefsky has been pursuing the art of Kite Aerial Photography (also called KAP). Layefsky, an epidemiologist by trade, was always a fan of kites and photography.  It was when he discovered the KAP techniques of local UC Berkeley architecture professor Cris Benton that he realized he could combine them. Drawn to the familiar and yet exotic images he could make this way, he studied photography at Berkeley City College to advance his craft. IMG_3983

Now, with dozens of images licensed by Getty Images, Michael Layefsky has found his passion for aerial photography more popular than ever, allowing him to devote more of his time to photography as an art and a business as well. Most of his photos have been taken in the Bay Area but he says, “I have also had the good fortune to have flown my kite and camera in other parts of the U.S., and in the skies above several Asian and European countries.”

Photolab invites you to a reception for photographer Michael Layefsky exhibiting color photographs in the Picturish Gallery on Saturday. December 1st from 2 to 5 pm in an exhibit called Above and Beyond. The Picturish Gallery is open to the public, free of charge and accessible. Many of the framed photographs will be available for sale during the event.  More information about this show can be found here.

Imbedded inside Photolab, the Picturish Gallery is a not for profit gallery space made available to selected photographers to show-case and sell their work. Since 1991 the gallery has exhibited over 140 photographers in solo and group shows. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 6 and Saturdays 10 to 4pm.


Cool stuff our customers and friends are up to…



Margaretta Mitchell is a juror at the Alameda County Fair Photo Exhibition.





Michael Layefsky says about his new exhibit at the Berkeley Public Library, “… I finished framing and the prints were hung in the library on Monday morning.  The prints look great…..thanks you SO MUCH for doing a fantastic job on them. The exhibition is in the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library and runs through September 4th.  There is a reception at 2PM this Saturday, June 9th, followed by a possible kite-cam or balloon-cam demo, weather permitting.”




Ira Serkes’ amazing Supermoon limited edition photograph is being offered as a gift when you donate or subscribe to Berkeleyside blog.





David Sanger is exhibiting a selection of photographs from San Francisco Bay: Portrait of an Estuary  at Marvin Gardens Real Estate, 289 Arlington Avenue, Kensington, CA with a reception held Saturday, June 8th from 5 to 7pm.


Play is something more than cute and sweet…it is a revolutionary activity.

Photolab in Berkeley invites you to a reception for photographer and playworker Lia Sutton exhibiting color and black and white photographs in the Picturish Gallery.

Join us on Saturday. January 28th from 5 to 7 pm, meet Lia Sutton and enjoy a bit of wine and cheese and see our newest exhibit:
Play / Ground: Exploring the Power of Unstructured Outdoor Play

20LiaSuttonvs2 Play / Ground: Exploring the Power of Unstructured Outdoor Play, is an exhibit of color and black and white photographs by Lia Sutton, an artist whose direct artistic practice includes the hands-on teaching of carpentry to children. Teaching children to create art gives them a vehicle for their own adventures and for experiencing, often for the first time, the wonders of creating sculpture, three dimensional design and applied mathematics. Sutton feels strongly that giving children real tools with which to create their own environment as they see it is a radical idea. And to "trust children enough to follow their minds, where they may lead" is a revolutionary activity.

Lia Sutton spent six months photographing an Adventure Playground outside of Amsterdam. …a children’s paradise in which they had created giant wooden structures, dikes, and a wooden ship two stories high. She says, " I knew that this place, both idyllic and cluttered, would be the perfect site to begin to explore this photographic inquiry."

The photographs, both in color and black and white, illustrate with delicate intimacy, the feeling of being a child living in a magical, hand-crafted world. Many of the photos are reminiscent of the iconic work of the many photographers who contributed to the Family of Man exhibit and book from the mid twentieth century.

This on-going exhibit will run from January 19 to Saturday, January 25, 2012. The Picturish Gallery is open to the public, free of charge and accessible. Light refreshments will be served.

Picturish Gallery, 2235 Fifth Street, Berkeley, Ca 94710.    Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 10:30am to 2:30pm.

For more information:
Driving directions:
Contact: Andrea McLaughlin

Jpegs available upon request.


101 Photography New Year’s Resolutions

Here it is January 3rd and I haven’t decided on my New Year’s resolutions yet.

1. Be more decisive.

I’ve been googling around reading other photographers’ blogs and checking out their resolutions. But I kept ending up on Facebook, so it’s taking me all day!

2. Stop wasting so much time on the internet.

I was going to take my camera on a hike yesterday, but I forgot it!

3. Take my camera everywhere and take more pictures.

So I used my iPhone instead.

4. Take my face out of the smartphone and be present in all my activities.

Maybe you’ve been hanging out with family and friends over the long week-end, perhaps doing a bit of photography or at least thinking about it.  Whatever you’re up to, you doubletrees02might not have had time to read 28 photographer’s blogs like I did.

What ARE other photographer / bloggers resolving to doing with their photography in 2012? I combed through dozens of pages of material looking for the truly inspired resolutions.

I was willing to settle for clever, humorous, trendy and geeky too! Here’s the best of what I found.

Emily Bee

Incorporate more film – I have TWO film cameras. Sitting on a shelf. I should use them. Film is amazing, and I should revisit the traditional and basic art of photography that digital does not offer as well.

Get better at artificial/off-camera lighting – I have a grasp at this, but I am nowhere near a master. With my limited budget, I’m challenged to create amazing lights with very little. I know I can do it.


Cliff Kapatais

Learn a new technique: …it is essential to keep up with new trends and techniques, as well as mastering the old ones of course.

Get Better at What you Know:

  • You take studio portraits? Look up some new light setups
  • You are a wedding photographer? Try an alternative take on the subject
  • You are a sports photographer? Try using a lens you’ve never used before for a game

F-Stop Fitzgerald

Learn – take a photo class, read an inspiring technique book, explore a new DVD.

Teach – spread the knowledge. Offer to teach a class or seminar for a local organization or community college. Give a lecture that inspires others.
Various contributors on Rangefinder Forum

Shoot at least 1 roll of film/month (probably much more, but averaging here).

Process my own B&W at home.

Sell at least 1 print to a complete stranger.

Attend a portfolio review.

Develop my b&w film backlog and shoot more Portra.

Scotty Webb

Get better at lighting

Update my portfolio and website this year

Organize my Lightroom Catalog better

Print more of my photography to hang

Various posters from the Something Awful Forums:

Shoot 120. Shoot 120. SHOOT 120.

I mostly just want to work on improving my composition more. I’ve noticed that I take a lot of pictures where if I’d just paid a little bit more attention the composition would have been so much better and I want to fix that problem this year.

Print more of my photos

Strongly consider picking up a 4×5 view camera

Get a picture of a bear


William Sawalich:

Take the time to put your camera on a tripod. It will help you break a lazy habit that will definitely cost you a good picture someday.

Start carrying your camera more. All the time, if possible.

Develop a backup plan and put it in motion. Eventually the computer crash gods are going to get even. It’s not a question of “if,” but “when.”


Ben Long, Christopher Breen, Heather Kelly, at

Stop thinking that a new piece of gear is going to make you a better photographer.

Commit to practicing. It’s the only thing that will make you a better photographer.


Gaurav Prabhu

Undertake a 365 Project: A ’365 Project’ is one where a person takes a photo each day throughout the entire year. The significance of 365 Project is that it makes the person shoot everyday. It accepts no excuses & requires a great deal of dedication to complete.


Lisa Bettany

I will learn how to use my gear.
I will practice my technical skills.
I will take more pictures.
I will not be limited by the gear I own.
I will accept critiques of my work.
I will connect with other photographers


Chris Brogan likes to use just three words for his new years resolutions. He’s not a photographer but, like all of us, he’s a busy guy who likes things simple and straightforward. His three words are: Temple. Untangle. Practice. If you’re curious read his complete blog post here.

Let’s stop there. It’s not 101 resolutions, but I hope this list inspires you in 2012. Did you make other resolutions these photographers didn’t mention? Let me know!


The Photolab Pinhole Cam Goes Outside

A few weeks ago Oakland photographer Bill McClaren made a pinhole camera from a coffee can. He used our Photolab business card as the front of the “shutter” and a red flap as the shutter release. Bill writes to us:

This is the Photolab Pinhole Cam


Bill McClaren holding Photolab Pinhole cam


“I’ve had a tough time with a cold the last couple of weeks, but I finally felt well enough to get out on Friday. First stop: my driveway. First camera: the PhotoLab Pinhole.

Attached is a toned version of the results, a 33-second exposure on Ilford Multigrade RC paper.

It makes me want to put all my other cameras in a box and hide them, thus forcing me to shoot only with the PhotoLab Cam. This image is my first non-digital pinhole, and I’m very excited about the possibilities ‘real’ pinhole cameras offer.”

Zone Plate image from the Photolab Pinhole camera

Bill McClaren, Oakland, CA


My Personal Ear Gear

I’m often asked what I am listening to on my iPod. My answer is podcasts and more podcasts. Just like photographers list their camera gear on their web sites, here is my current list of favorite podcasts that I get via iTunes. Most of these are audio because I prefer to listen while I do other things. There are a few of my favorite video podcasts here too.


Lenswork Podcast
History of Photography Podcasts
The Candid Frame
Jeff Curto’s Camera Position
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Thoughts on Photography

Internet Technology

This Week in Google
Security Now
This Week in Tech
Digital Planet

Cooking & Health

The Splendid Table
KCRW’s Good Food
NPR – Your Health
NYT’s The Minimalist
Vegan A Go Go
Earth Eats

Society & Culture

The Dinner Party Download
Adam Carolla Podcast
TED Talks
Scam School
Onion Radio News
This American Life

Business & Management

Harvard Business Review Ideacast
NPR: Planet Money
The Economist
Help, My Business Sucks!
Freakanomics Radio

My Top Five Podcasts:

  • History of Photography
  • This Week in Tech
  • The Splendid Table
  • This American Life
  • Planet Money


Edge of Fogginess

Marin Fog by James Gaither

Marin Fog by James Gaither

I’ve traveled across California, west to east, this summer. Exactly a week ago I was soaking up the bright light above Sonora Pass at 10,000 feet. And today, you can find me slogging around at sea level in Berkeley’s endless fog. I get tired of quoting my Berkeley-bred, high-country-backpacker husband who insists the thin mountain air is “bracing” and the fog is “refreshing.” He thinks it’s fine to dress for summer barbeques in a down parka. I do not think that’s funny.

Yesterday, I saw the edge between where the sun and fog meet. I was driving over the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge looking at the bank fog pouring over the west bay hills into the Bay. No, wait. What I saw was not a bank of fog. Nor was it a blanket of fog. Nor was it little cat’s feet or whatever it is they have for fog in Chicago. To me the huge fog cloud was a vast oppressive fog fist slamming its way from the ocean, across the bay, and straight to my house in north Berkeley. Coming across the bridge, I saw the fog fist but I did not feel knuckled by its coldness.  Ha! I was in Marin County. I was too far away. From the bridge I could  look at the fog and see its beauty without  feeling its cold.

In my mind’s eye I flew up over the bay; over the fog. Of course I was holding a camera on this imaginary flight. I could photograph soft white feathers as the icy fog trickled over the Marin Headlands. I could fly through the grayest of the fog and blast right out of it, into the waiting sunshine. From up there, the fog fist becomes delicate fingers and I could admire the way the fingers spread out across the cities.

Back on the bridge, my car was approaching the Richmond side, the fog side. I was leaving the sun and entering the fog.

The fog is still disappointing, dark and bleak. I don’t like it any better having seen it from a distance. But I have seen its edge. The edge of fog is photographable.  Approached with a camera, this murky summer season becomes at least tolerable until Fall when the sun comes out.

Here’s another great fog photo; this one by Max Clarke: (I hope to post his photo here as soon as I get permission from him.)

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg


Low Tech Photo Processes - Call for Entries

The Center for Fine Art Photography, in Fort Collins, Colorado, is interested in exhibiting the best low-tech images that photographers are producing. This call is open to all subjects and styles of photography that include a low tech means of image making or printing. This includes, but is not limited to; toy, Holga and Diana cameras, Pinhole, Wet Plate Collodian, Photograms, Callotypes, Cyanotypes, Polaroid and other traditional processes.

The exhibition is open to all photographers world wide, both amateur and professional. The Center invites photographers working in all mediums, styles and schools of thought to participate in its exhibitions.

Entry deadline July 13, 2010

More information

Specimen 5 © Galina Kurlat, Print from Ambrotype


Joe Reifer on Auto-Nocturne Call for Entries

photo by Joe Reifer

Peeled back and shining — by Joe Reifer

Tim Baskerville of The Nocturnes let me know that entries are now being accepted for Auto-Nocturne, an online exhibit of automotive photography. The Nocturnes online exhibits are a great way to get your work seen, drive traffic to your website, and support an organization that’s been dedicated to teaching night photography for almost 20 years.

The jurors for Auto-Nocturne are none other than myself and Troy Paiva! We’ve seen some jaw dropping junkyard images made during the Pearsonville Night Photography Workshops — Auto-Nocturne is a great opportunity to look back through your archives and find your 3 (or more) best car photos for this online show. [Auto-Nocturne entry form].


Photo Booth #1

November 10, 2008
Grand adventure this week creating a “Photo Booth” for a school dance. It’s a fund raiser for the Pacific Boy Choir Academy.  And it was a big hit. The plan was to sell photo booth tickets at the beginning of the dance, then shoot groups of kids in the “booth” for the first hour. Part 2 of the plan was for me to race down to the lab with the data and print everything and race back to deliver the prints before the end of the dance. We  totally pulled it off.

I set up my big dark grey muslin backdrop on the huge backdrop stand that Bryan kindly offered me. Bryan’s a staff technician at Photolab and has a gig as a pro photographer on weekends. So, Bryan has every sort of pro photo gear. We used Gareth’s Canon 20D (thanks Gareth).

Chris Kula manned the camera and did a fabulous job! Yeah Chris!

Before the kids arrived we set out costumes and props: funny hats, long gloves, an evening gown or two, leis and hawaiian grass skirts from the Party Warehouse. The costumes ended up being a key part of the success of the event.

The price was right too, I guess. One dollar per person gets you one 4 x 6.

The adventure part of this, for me, was taking the camera card, driving (fast) across town to Photolab, downloading the images from the card into our Noritsu minilab (left running after the lab closed)and printing a ton of 4 x 6s. Oh yeah, and running back across town to deliver the goods. I love this kind of speedy event where you work hard and get the entire job done in a few hours, and make everybody happy.

So, fund raiser success! The school wants to do it again soon and I’m up for it. This word is out that this PhotoBooth idea is great for attracting a crowd, so our next booth will be at the Jazz on Fourth Street festival and fundraiser for the Berkeley High Jazz Program. See you there I hope!