Neon. It's glitz and glamour from another age, a piece of dazzling technology worked into bespoke cultural artifacts. Here's your own tribute to this aging electric artform.

WINNER: There's More Future Than Past

It was June 5th the day I saw this neon sign for the first time, four days before I got kicked off my "home" by my sister's husband (I used to live with them since 2010, and we had I big fight cause of my brother-in-law's alcoholism). Fortunately a recent friend of mine received me at his apartment, with no problem at all, he is Spanish and came to Chile searching for a Job last September, so he knows what it feels like to be "far" from home. Anyway that day I was feeling sad, and very tired, with no money at all (now I'm on the startups business and quitted my job), I received a call of my friend, telling me he was late for home. I didn't had the keys, and I was already on my way to his apartment, hungry and very cold (is winter here), once again, with no money at all, so I started to walk alone around the neighborhood, thinking how much worse could go my life. Missing every single thing I had last year at this same date of the year: I was happy living my trip to Paris, France with a lot of funny moments, enough money to do several things and meeting awesome and unforgettable people. Then it happened, I saw this sign. I stopped walking, then I smiled, and a little drop of tear ran by my face. My favorite movie EVER (Back to the Future), with the specific message that would make me re-think everything, was there. Just for someone's fun (this is not a restaurant or something, is just there in a house) Translation of the Neon Sign: "THERE'S MORE FUTURE THAN PAST" I was alone, with nobody to share my joy. Then few hours later, I was at my new "home" with my friend, and by coincidence I started reading feeds on Reeder, and this contest happened. Quite a coincidence, right?


- Paul Cathalifaud

Neon Boneyard


This shot was taken at the Neon Boneyard in Downtown Las Vegas. I used a canon T2i with a kit lens. It was taken in Raw and touched up in Lightroom. There are so many neon signs in Las Vegas but I pass this one everyday and always wanted a picture of it and this contest got me out there.

- Ryan Floyd

Dizzy Duffy's


This revolving sign belongs to a hamburger joint near where I live. I thought it might be fun to experiment with long exposures. The revolving portion of the sign reads "Duffy's" and is colored red on one side and blue on the other. Once I was satisfied with the exposure, it took me several tries to time the shutter's release to the point in the sign's revolution that produced the most desirable color pattern. I finally settled on a 10 second exposure, f/36, and an ISO of 200. It was shot on a Canon 60D.

- Levi Jansen



Another Second Saturday surrendered to the Wynwood Art District of Miami. In this up and coming Art Hub which has not yet fully defined its persona, multitudes of people flock every second Saturday of the month to check out the latest exhibits in a very unlikely part of town. Overtown—a place which is undergoing gentrification and is now dubbed Wynwood. Bordering soup shelters and homeless in cardboard boxes, art, artists, hipsters, and posers congregate to gawk and scoff at all sorts of art from street performers to bonafide sculptors, painters, and a photographer or two; not unlike yours truly. In this scene, you can take in a typical street-side view of Panther Coffee, one of the better known chill-out spots with its ubiquitous logo done-up in Neon. While the assignment called for a sign, I felt that the most accurate way to portray it is with the crowd that it draws beneath it. The image was taken hand held in aperture priority at 1/50 sec f/1.8 ISO 1250 on a 50mm (75 equiv) Nikon D5000. It was processed in Lightroom 4.

- Diego Barrera



My cousin Alicia and I had been riding around for a couple of hours looking for an old sign. We first went to a location that was a known speakeasy during prohibition, which had an interesting neon arrow that read "Whiskey". When we found out it was turned off, we started our journey to find a replacement. Finally, on the way back through town, Alicia noticed that there was a little diner with a bunch of signs turned inward. Although they were all fairly modern and of mainstream brands, she though it would make for an interesting shot when shot from the rear, so I set my tiny tripod on top of their meat smoker, and snapped a few shots. I liked this one because of the amount of light leaking through the tube.As you said... it's a lost art, and I like the hidden details behind how things are made. Sony DSC-WX150 Focal Length: 4.45mm Exposure Time: 0.0769s (1/13) f/3.3 ISO 800

- Carlos Felix



I used a nikon D7100 with the Zeiss 135mm F2.0 lens. I actually put the camera in P mode and let it pick the settings except that I had set the aperture at 2.0. I drove around my small town last night, really not sure if I would find a lot of neon signs or not since most times I think that they are really "background" noise to what I normally see. But, since I wanted to enter this challenge, I took the time to look for signs and surprisingly found several interesting signs besides the ones that merely said"open". I figured that would be too common place. So I found two I liked a lot, one which was a salon sign with nothing but the neon in a dark window, but I chose the below sign since it was interesting to have both the neon in the window and then the backdrop of the Chinese menu on the wall in an out of focus fashion behind the neon.

- John Cecilian

No(rwalk) Attractions


I don't have a nice camera, but I do have a kick-ass neon sign. This is the Norwalk Theatre, in Norwalk, Ohio, which my wife and I bought last July. It's a 1941 Art Deco theatre (one of the last of its kind), and it has the largest marquee in Ohio. I've spent the last several months bringing this sign back to life with several new neon transformers, chaser motor repair, and 500+ new light bulbs. I hope you like it, because this old lady deserves some attention! Date/Time of Image: 6/8/2013, 9:00 PM File Name (970px wide): JoeCerriNeon.jpg File Size (970px wide):148KB Dimensions (970px wide): 970 x 724 File Name (2560px wide): JoeCerriNeonWallpaper.jpg File Size (970px wide): 733KB Dimensions (970px wide): 2560 x 1912 Camera Brand: Apple Camera Model: iPhone4 Lens & other details: as-supplied Flash: No

- Joe Cerri

Sweet Tooth


This weekend was the annual carnival near our local shopping center. I went at night to get some long exposures of the the ferris wheel and various other rides. I was surprised to find that there is very little neon at carnivals. Luckily, I did come across this snack stand with the required neon letters. I like the effect from the lens zoom. Tech info: 0.8 second exposure, f/22, 18mm, ISO 400

- Matthew Johnson

Naked Neon


As soon as the contest was announced I knew I had to take a picture of Portland's iconic neon sign. To the great timing of the contest Portland had an iconic event happening that went right in front of the sign, being the World Naked Bike Ride. The bike ride went on for over an hour and a half, which gave me more than enough time to try a lot of camera settings. I didn't want to have crisp pictures of the riders (didn't want to feel like the creep taking pictures of the naked people, though that was unavoidable). And this is what I got to commemorate "Icons of Portland". Canon T4i, 55mm, ISO 200, 1/8 s.

- Andy Lindblom

This is It


In Austin, South Congress St. and South 1st St. are lined with shops and restaurants, giving them a very retro feeling at night. It was the first place I thought to go when I saw this challenge. I had one restaurant sign in particular I wanted to shoot, but on my way there, I happened to drive by an old house converted into a small art gallery of sorts that was full of old neon signs. This is only a small sample of what was on display. Because it was late and the gallery wasn't open, it was difficult to find a good angle through the windows, but that didn't stop me from creeping around the building trying to get the best shot. Canon Rebel T4i Lens: Canon EFS 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II f/5.6 w/ 1/15 shutter speed ISO 100. [This is the work of Todd Sanders of Roadhouse Relics, an Austin, Texas based neon artist.]

- Dan Pino



This shot is of the Homeslice Pizza man who represents Homeslice Pizza and More Homeslice Pizza, two bustling pizza shops on South Congress Avenue in Austin, TX. I shot a lot of the wonderful signs in town, but I really liked the contrast between the festive pizza maker sign and the blank traffic light pole extending into nothingness. It put the sign into its own context and helped me to see it is a separate entity, rather than as part of the colorful mixture that makes Congress Avenue such a vibrant place to be. I've included technical information below. Best, Brady Nash June 6, 2013 Canon 60D 18-55mm 800 ISO f3/5 1/60 18mm

- Brady Nash

The Pie King


I shot this entry in Austin, TX. I was shooting with a friend and noticed that many of the signs in south Austin have beautiful reflections on the big back windows of the SUVs that are often parked just outside of the businesses. Looking into the windows gives one the feeling of peering into an alternate world with only neon signs. I shot it with a 60D Canon DSLR and a 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens. It's at ISO 800, 1/25, f/3.5.

- Elise Chevalier



The Story.. Well if nothing becomes of this entry at least I now have a beautiful gallery of illuminated imagery. My husband and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather. So we started on the Neon journey driving around town looking for the perfect sign. What I didn't expect was to find Neon signs everywhere. Every road we turned down and in every store front some sort of Neon. From one sign to another we were hoping to not get harassed by police or security, the risk of getting caught.. And then we landed on the "DOORS" sign. With a door being the symbol of many things in life, an opening to a new beginning or a close to something ending. It just seemed to be the perfect one. Taken By: Stefanie Graham On June 8th 2013 Taken with: Canon 5D Mark III Lens: EF24-105mm f/4L ISO: 100 Exposure: 1/200th of a second, at f/4.0

- Stefanie Graham

La Puerta


Old Route 66 runs right through the heart of Albuquerque as Central Avenue. In the downtown area the businesses the same names you see in any city, but the further you go either east or west from downtown, the further you go back in time and the more it captures the imagination. Shot with Nikon D7000 at 135mm 25 second exposure at f/32

- Terry LaMantia



Camera Info: Canon EOS 40D Canon 28-135 F4-5.6 Image info: Shot on tripod, F6.3 1/20s exposure (2) second timer to reduce chance of image blur. Image story: This is the sign for one of my favorite drinking establishments in Wichita. I have often looked up at the neon sign out front featuring a mermaid perched on an anchor and thought I should come shoot it sometime. This shooting challenge gave me a reason to finally venture out for a photo session. While shooting, it was funny that the patrons didn't seem to notice my camera was pointed up at the sign and not at their shenanigans to get my attention. Cheers!

- Matthew Chesebrough



Where's the Citgo sign when you need it? This is San Pedro Square Market in San Jose, CA. Canon T2i, 10mm.

- Diego Jimenez

At Least Somebody's Happy


My absolute favorite bar in the Lower East Side, Max Fish, always has great artwork on display. This neon by George Horner is part of their "End of Days" event, which is the last collection of artwork to be shown there before the bar unfortunately relocates to Williamsburg. Fujifilm X-E1, 35mm at f/1.4, 1/750 sec, ISO 800, unprocessed JPEG.

- Tom Gannon

Hot Light


Canon 60D — 38mm — 1/100" — F8 — ISO 100 One of the trickiest parts of this challenge was actually finding an old fashioned Neon sign. Fortunately, my sister suggested the local doughnut shop. Not only did I get a sign picture, I also got doughnuts!

- Mike Case



This photo was shot with my Sony NEX-5R. ISO 1600, 18mm (Sony 10-18mm lens), f/4.0, 1/100 sec. Th photo has very little processing done in LR4. All I did was center it, lightly sharpen, and apply a bit of noise reduction. Nothing else was adjusted. To get this shot I placed my camera on a fully extended tripod, set it to a 10 second timer, and repeatedly held the camera over my head so that it was level with the sign, which was approximately 12 ft from the ground. I had to take numerous shots since there were a couple factors at work. First, it wasn't easy holding the tripod steady over my head. A lot of the shots had motion blur. Second, the sign was blinking on and off so out of the few shots that came out reasonably sharp, half didn't have the eye lit up or were crocked, off center, etc. This is the sign for a restaurant in Seattle called Cyclops. Pretty cool.

- Andre Ciceran

Generally, after seeing a few dozen photographers tackle the same topic, I'm full. But this has only left me wanting to see more of these old (and new!) neon signs, which is a testament to the breadth of your submissions. Thanks for participating. Find the big shots on flickr.


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