Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Colors of the STA

For the high and low of it

Providing motion after dark can have some dramatic impact on the actual image capture at a location. Sometimes capturing fireworks can be like that, but in other circumstances it is automobile traffic that provides the motion and the color.

There are some fairly traditional after dark “motion shoots,” in Spokane. One example of that is the south side of the overpass at Riverfront Park, above the Washington Street couplet. That shot reveals both the traveled portions of the roadway, as well as the lights from some downtown office buildings, and of course the Spokane River.

This week I wanted to find a secondary location, or several of them, if I could. The goal was to capture vehicle motion and color, at sunset through total darkness. The first target this past week came as I faced south towards the moon, on the Clock tower footbridge. This footbridge is close in proximity to the southbound lanes of the couplet, onto Stevens street. To get the moon and vehicles into the same frame, the angle needed to get a traffic flow that displayed vehicle lights over and above the side rail on the couplets bridge surface. When an STA bus came through, I really liked what I saw, and set the camera (Canon 400d, RAW + JPEG, F16, 6-8 seconds exposure, tripod mounted) up for any other STA bus that came across the southbound lanes. About 10 minutes after setting everything up, along came an STA bus, and the timed exposure showed the motion and flash of the bus colors and lights.

On another night, I sought out another secondary location, where I could get vehicle lights, in a mostly out of the ordinary photo location. At sunset I took a look at the north end of the Washington Street Couplet overpass, from the ground level. Shooting there looked doable and so about two hours later in total darkness I returned to that spot and set up for another timed exposure. It was a little difficult to judge when northbound vehicles were going to enter the frame, since the east walls of the couplet blocked most of the view. I had to listen to approaching traffic, and then set up an exposure which would be long enough to capture vehicles as they came into view of the camera, as well as when they exited the field of view to the north. (Canon 400d, F16, 8sec, tripod mounted, RAW + JPEG, CR2). What I had not counted on was another STA bus to enter my scene, along with three other vehicles, and all at the same time. The combination of all the vehicle lights, was a big help in displaying the motion and color at the time of the shot.

At night, there seems to be no Spokane locations in which there are no photographic possibilities. Yep, we live in a beautiful place….


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