In my last post ‘Sunrise’, I briefly spoke of waking before dawn to have a chance to watch and capture the sunrise. Well it turns out that on that particular day, there wasn’t much sun to speak of. What eventually came over the horizon was a bit anti climactic. So, as the following day approached and I suddenly began to overthink that the studio end of my photography and how much I miss photographing people. I decided to clear my head and indulge myself in some night photography. I love the soft light at dusk and the feeling of solitude that comes over me. I took this shot before 7:00 pm as my wife was making tacos.
When we headed out today, I made sure to bring my camera, tripod and recently surfaced remote. Knowing that running errands has become an all day thing for us. I knew that by the time we arrived home, it would be dark. Me being somewhat obsessed with night time photography and how beautiful capturing the available light in the night sky can be. I asked my wife to stop a few feet from the garage and let me do my thing. Both shots were taken at f22 on a 30″ timer. The top image was taken with a 200 ISO.The second (or bottom) image was shot at 100 ISO.
As we returned home from Baltimore, I asked my wife to stop the car just a few feet before entering the garage. If I wasn’t going to ask that she indulge me in another photography detour. I might convince her to stop for just a moment for me to try to capture a moment that I’ve been talking about more and more over the last couple of weeks. Knowing that we were just a few feet from our destination and being somewhat overcome by an enthusiasm equal to that of a just adopted dog on a ride back to his/her new home. She agreed and even left the car to see what all the hub bub was all about. As someone who has become obsessed with night photography and long shutter releases. The walkway that takes you from the front of our condo to the back was all the inspiration I would need.
Though I’ve missed my photo gear, I can honestly say that the last months I’ve spent living out of a suitcase have been educational. This time has reminded me how happy my trips abroad have been, mainly since I was traveling with the bare essentials. With the weeks closing on our condo in the rear mirror, the impending move is just days away. I find myself feeling grateful for getting to know my 50mm better lens and capture the many things that catch my eye and capture my imagination. As one who’s long been intrigued with light and shadow, there have been countless opportunities to be creative and work towards bringing my vision to life. From the day we arrived at our hotel, I became fixated on the lights above the bar on the hotel’s ground floor. Something about it reminded me of the Death Star depicted throughout the Star Wars saga. Just like the movies. I needed to find the right angle or spot to fire. Once I did that, I was able to go into manual and take my shot. Though I’ll be going back to work on my manual focus. I thought the images below were pretty cool, with only a short time left before moving day. I’ll be sure to be roaming the halls, looking for light and looming in the shadows.
Headed downstairs tonight to take care of some unfinished business. During the day this parking lot is filled with a combination of parked vehicles and ones coming off Rainier Ave. South in search of a good parking spot and some groceries. As I continue to shoot in manual mode, I’ve gotten back to explore my cameras many features to get as creative as possible.
If it were up to me, I’d be out there taking most of my images after or around dusk or just before dawn. They are, for me and I’m sure many others, the best times of the day. And while, through practice and understanding, I came to love long exposures and shooting in manual mode. While for may, the times of day mentioned are usually set aside for family or getting ready for a days work. It only makes those moments more special when you can slip away or coax a loved one away from their own down time to join you. On my second night I trade the balcony for the parking lot of our local bank. With my wife insisting on tagging along and knowing he lack of patience when it comes to certain things. I made and checked all my camera setting before we left. The images below were shot at 100 ISO F22 at ’30 second intervals.
I’ve been moaning and groaning over accidentally deleting the original image I took (just below.)) with my iphone when we first moved to Columbia City in Seattle.
So this Sunday after washing the car and stopping at a local Buddhist temple. We returned to Billiard Hoang to try to recapture the lost image in order to finally capture another unguarded moment. One the might finally bring some peace to my troubled mind while ordering a couple of the best bahn mi this side of the planet. Not wanting to be intrusive or step on anyone’s feet. I found a similar spot to rest my camera and made sure to remove the flash. Though the results were pretty good. (No complaints on my part.) I really wish I had a larger file size of the original image in order to print one of those gigantic metal prints. And while the new ones I took todqy are okay. I feel it might take a few more visits before I capture something worthy of printing.
I’ve been taking pictures at shows and concerts since I was sixteen. Somewhere along that long road I managed to get pretty good at it. More than anything, I find that I’ve learned from others. The list of shooters who have inspired me in both the past and present is pretty long. I won’t name names here since the list would be long and arduous. One thing I never see enough of is pictures of drummers. “Why Not?” I ask. I mean their the back beat of the band. Nothing happens without them dictating the pace. Sure, it might be a bit of a trick making your way on stage or reaching in from the side. However, most of us shoot or smaller venues or at least have a photo pass for the bigger ones. All it takes is a little initiative and some brass balls to make your way to the stage and slip into the background for a few shots of the timekeeper. Knowing the bands songs always helps in knowing when to shoot. If not, just it tight and follow those rhythms. Within a minute or two you’ll see and hear the pattern. Be patient and be ready. When the time comes to take your shot you’ll know it. Don’t get in the way and don’t over stay your welcome. From my own experience, they’ve (drummers/percussionists) have always been grateful to see you included them in the bands set. So go ahead, slide in.
Shortly after the new year, we had an official Christmas dinner at my Dad’s place in Staten Island. Though we usually drive in when visiting. A early trip to Chinatown for dim sum meant we had to take the Ferry instead. Having lived on the Island for two years in my early twenties. I had taken my share of pictures from the deck of the ferry. As we returned that night I figured I’d take a few shots from the deck. Being that it had been nearly twenty years since I regularly took the ferry. It only seemed fit. Though it’s safe to say, night photography is not one of my strong suit. The night sky and it’s varied colors and textures more than welcome my untrained lens. So as we grew closer to the Manhattan side of our ride. I took my shots. Low and behold, they weren’t all that bad. It reminded me how I always enjoyed my ride home from The World Trade Center and Cantor Fitzgerald. How on a few occasions I was able to catch the warm sun setting over the Statue of Liberty. It was a nice moment. One that I was glad to have been able to share with my wife.
We were on our way home from an event at Asbury Lanes when we pulled into a local rest stop. Looking for coffee, gas to fill our tank and a functioning restroom (Not necessarily in that order.) It was about 2:30 am and the road was black as … well, you know. There was not a street light in sight and with the exception of the glow coming from the gas station there was nothing. As we headed back to the car I became hypnotized by the amount of power that small outpost resonated. I’d liken it to something out of Star Wars with the mighty and ominous Death Star floating amongst the constellations. With my wife in the car and the engine running I steadied myself as not to create any unwanted camera shake and took my shot before heading back to the car and my now cranky wife. More and more, I find myself realizing that it’s not the events I shoot that reward me with my favorite images. It’s the long ride home.