Sunday, July 29, 2007

The STA Blur

Summertime and photography after dark offer up some interesting challenges.

First, to get out with cameras after dark, means that the actual period of darkness comes much later in the evening. So, unless you want to spend hours much later in the day, you may opt to wait until Fall or Winter months.

Or, you get out early in the morning before sunrise, to get the shots of locations during darkness. That condition is not one of my favorite activities, since many of the nighttime lighted buildings or locations will have all of their lights off.

So, I tend to get out there later in the evening and shortening the amounts of time to the places which get visited. For me, it means I have maybe two hours to get shots or get out. On the bright side, it isn’t cold with ice and snow on the ground.

Summer shots after dark in many locations mean that there are much more people activities in progress. I have never been out on a shoot around Spokane in summertime, when small groups of people don't become interested in what is happening. Taking time to explain what you are doing can take some time, but it is the right thing to do.

There are times when people are going to get into your shots. Usually not a problem, unless your intent was to capture objects and not people. Photoshopping them out of the image after you get the RAW files on your computer might be doable, but taking them out of the frame is not a representation of what you saw when you were at the location. When I was setting up a shot on the Clocktower foot bridge in Riverfront Park, I had at least ten people wait in a group until they were sure they would not ruin the shot. I think I must have shot ten images before I noticed them, and I thanked them as they went on their way that evening. I was trying to frame an STA bus as it crossed the Washington Street couplet into downtown, to see if I could get the bus colors and the early evening moon in the same shot. It was about 9:15PM when I got that opportunity and the bus colors and the motion depicted by the southbound bus seemed to jump as the 4 second time exposure (F16) captured the action.

Shooting in the evening is a good deal of fun, even if it requires a late evening/night series of digital shots.