Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hillyard Skate Park, Spokane, Washington

Recently I saw a few blown out daylight images of the City Park, just north of the downtown Hillyard business district. A number of the images displayed the Hillyard Skate Park, during daylight. As I looked at these really bright images, it gave me a pause for thought. What would this place look at after dark? I was wondering about how I could try and display the curves in the massive amount of concrete poured at the Skate Park in Hillyard.

Building a system or process, was the next step…and it had to be done during daylight. I traveled to the Hillyard Skate Park, and shot images in a 360 look, so I could review them later to come up with a plan. Shooting with my 18 x 200 was perfect for daylight, but, the field of view was too limited when applied to the curves and deeper areas of the Hillyard Skate Park. The only way to maximize this shoot was to go with an 11 x 18, at the widest view, and even then it would not completely cover the entire concrete areas. I settled on one specific area where I surmised I could throw red, blue and amber lights into the recesses of the various component areas of the concrete surfaces. To do so would require extremely long exposures, as I would have to walk into each area after the camera began the shot process. Then I would have to return and close the shutter with my wireless remote. I’d have to repeat this process in each area, and with each different color. What bothered me the most was leaving my camera on the tripod and simply walking away from it, but hopefully, there would be no people around after dark.

Last night I returned to the Hillyard Skate Park, with two cameras and two tripods in case I used both cameras at basically the same times. One camera was using the 18x200 lens, and the other was sporting the 11x18, which ultimately prevailed and the 18x200 was not used for any images. As I arrived, it was totally dark (pitch black) in the Hillyard Skate Park, but there were no people at the venue. I set up the 11x18 camera at the spot I decided on during the daylight visit, and I started lighting the foreground with red light from the Big Max flashlight. I began the shoot with a 10 second exposures, and even when I progressed all the way to 30 seconds, it was so dark I had to stop doing normal timed exposures, and I set the camera to a BULB setting so I could just run with what I was doing, until I was done with whatever I was doing.

I began shooting BULB shots for the blue areas of the shots, and it took about thirty seconds to get to and back from the blue areas of the shots. Add about 3 to 3 and a half minutes for the blue painting efforts in each area, and I started eating up a lot of time on each exposure. After doing the 2 blue areas, I shot with amber at the east side (rear) of the project. This amber area wrapped all the way around the red and blue areas, but most of the amber was influenced dramatically by all of the high pressure sodium lights which were shining in the distance (background light). In the final image, I can see the amber light that I shined from multiple directions, but it really never was as pronounced as I had originally hoped for. Blue was okay, and red was as “in your face,” as I could make it. Red did well, as it was also farther away from the background lighting, and the red area (and blue) was totally shielded from the influence of the background as those areas were really deeper in depth from the top of the concrete.

After about 30 individual BULB exposures, I had eaten up almost an hour and a half of time at the location. I quickly reviewed the RAW (CR2) images, and it appeared I would have enough material to blend after the files were displayed on the computers in the office.

Today, I added a low res version of a blended series of shots. A total of 7 images were needed for this version of the Hillyard Skate Park. It isn’t quite a pano view of Hillyard Skate Park, but the 11x18 was definitely the right choice to get as much of the concrete depths as possible. Concrete is actually kinda ugly stuff, and really plain. Until I began walking around this location with a LED headlamp and the Big Max flashlight, I never had given that much thought. At least now, there is a little color at the location.

Here is the Hillyard Skate Park, in north Spokane. (LOW RES)