Posts Tagged ‘Night Photography’

Light and Dark: A Story Told Through Pictures

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

 Pacific_Palisades_CA (1)

A Narrative in Shades of Gray

I am an architectural photographer in Los Angeles. My job is to tell stories through photos. That’s what I do. It’s a dream! I’d rather not talk about it, but instead shoot it. Then it will be infinitely clear. The narrative, the moment caught, the tone, the various shades of gray and color, all come together to create the story I want to tell. But as a photographer, I encounter the challenge of light and dark every day. You see it’s not only the lines or the architectural subject in the photo that so much defines a great picture. No, instead it’s the meticulous patience to create the perfect light and dark shadows that truly make a picture exquisite.

Palos_Verdes_EstateFor instance, it might be capturing the moment when the light hits the Spanish tiled roof creating a brilliant gold silhouette exactly where it meets the trees. Or how I light the inside of the home so that it spills out and brightens the yellow light through the picture windows just as the sun sets behind the home. For me, there is no better way to tell a story than through light and dark shades. It’s always a delicate dance though. You straddle the fine line between realism and imagination with every photo. The great 20th century architect, Louis Khan once said as reported recently in an Arch Daily article titled Light Matters: Louis Kahn and the Power of Shadow

A plan of a building should be read like a harmony of spaces in light. Even a space intended to be dark should have just enough light from some mysterious opening to tell us how dark it really is. Each space must be defined by its structure and the character of its natural light.

The best architectural photography in my opinion, is that which reveals the beauty of the structure through realism—exposing the lines and form — while still creating an aesthetic fantasy that captures imagination. When it works, it’s pure joy.

“The Truth is a Snare…”


Light and dark – it’s what defines all that we see with the naked eye. It’s the basis of every story we tell. That includes the ones we tell through pictures. A recent article in National Geographic said it best:

By wresting a precious particle of the world from time and space and holding it absolutely still, a great photograph can explode the totality of our world, such that we never see it quite the same again. After all, as Kierkegaard also wrote, ‘the truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught.’

That pretty much sums it up well – the art of creating a great photographic story. And, I’m the lucky guy who gets to bring you a new story each week by illuminating the most stunningly modern and sometimes historic architectural spaces in all of Southern California.

Have I told you lately how much I love my job? Oh right, I just did.

For more architectural photography or for business inquiries, contact photographer Paul Jonason for a consultation today.



The Power of the Visual Image

Monday, April 25th, 2016



After watching the Prince tribute on SNL this weekend, I am reminded of the power of the visual image to capture a moment. As a professional photographer, of course I know how important an image can be – it’s my career. But even us old pros need a reminder of how special the art of visual image is sometimes. The capturing of a split second in time in an image can say more than a thousand words ever could. At the end of Prince’s concerts, I had forgotten how he sometimes ends a set. He gets silent and lifts his guitar almost like it’s a God offered for worship. I had a moment where I clicked on that image in my mind, as if it were a still photo image and thought how incredible that one second capture in a still, would be if someone in fifty years, asked, “Who is Prince?”

I experience this kind of visual synchronicity all the time when I am shooting a home for instance, and the sun begins to set creating a sky that I couldn’t have painted any better. Or when a bird flies into a shot, unplanned. A little magic caught by the lens. It’s a different kind of narrative.

With that in mind, I have included what I think is a powerful image from a recent photo shoot. It’s a photo of an old Dodge truck from 1939. Take a look and see if you agree with me when I say, “There is nothing like the visual image to tell a story.”

Dodge Truck 1939

Dodge Truck 1939




Boston House of Blues and Fenway Park

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
As part of our scouting trip for the recent House of Blues photo shoot in Boston last week we enjoyed a walking tour through Fenway Park to look for unique vantage points and views.
It was great checking out the vintage vibe of the oldest ball park in the country and home to the Boston Red Sox with its sea foam green color and old time style Coca Cola signage. Also, from the rooftop of House of Blues you have a great view right into home plate of Fenway Park and the Green Monster.

The Boston House of Blues is Located on Landsdowne Street which comes alive with activity on game day. The Boston venue has all the features including a massive concert hall, restaurant, Foundation Room, and a huge collection of Outsider Art including many works by Glenn Fox.

Boston House of Blues at night on Landsdowne Street

Boston House of Blues at night on Landsdowne Street

Crazy Fish by Glenn Fox

Crazy Fish by Glenn Fox

Vintage Style oca Cola signs in Fenway Park, Boston

Vintage Style Coca Cola signs in Fenway Park, Boston

Fenway Park from the House of Blues, Boston

Fenway Park from the House of Blues, Boston

House of Blues Tour

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
House of Blues Restaurant, Dallas, Texas

House of Blues Restaurant, Dallas, Texas

I am Happy to be on tour again this summer shooting for the House of Blues. Starting at the Anaheim venue for 2 days with my Art Director/Assistant friend Ron Leland, we are now ready to tackle the Boston and Houston Venues and we will finish up in Las Vegas in June.

Architectural Photography At Night – What does that mean exactly? That is what I do the most as far as my photography is concerned. Take the House of Blues for example, I started shooting for them in 1999 when I was hired by Architect Sy Teller to create a magazine article on the Las Vegas Venue he had just finished. To retain the incredible lighting detail and dark cave like quality of the House of Blues brand, we decided everything should be shot at night or shot by blocking any window light to control the unique saturation that makes the House of Blues so special. A great place to see a show or have a spicy cajon style meal while enjoying the famous Blues Bar that is part of every House of Blues.

House of Blues Swamp Cookie, Anaheim, California

House of Blues Swamp Cookie, Anaheim, California

Of course part of the dark detail vibe means long exposures for the camera, a great tripod is must. In the time of film many exposures were in the 2 minute range. Now with 21 mega-pixel digital quality image capture, the time has been reduced, but long exposures are still what allows the intense saturation and detail which is what my brand of photography is all about.

Now 10 years and 10 cities later, we are again on the road for the ultimate images of the House of Blues that inspire, entertain, and show the promise of the House of Blues southern style hospitality vibe !~ Paul Jonason

Paul Jonason Photography: Night Time Photography, Commercial Photographer, Architectural Photography.
6520 Platt Ave. #156 West Hills, CA. 91307 | 818-687-8075