Thursday, January 21, 2010

Color and Motion, after dark

This week I was determined to "slow down, the STA buses. No, they were not speeding, but in the past they were always constantly in motion as they drove completely through an image I was set up to take. As an STA bus cruised through whatever photo I was shooting, there were always colors from the various lights adorning each bus, but they were just that....lights and light streaks.

Tonight's project was to display as much of the bus as possible, as it traveled at a moderate speed. I went down to the area of the Arena, where STA had set up a bus transportation hub, for the 2010 Figure skating Championships. I wanted something recognizable in the shot, so I went to the north side of Mallon, which allowed the Flower Mill to be seen. Then I just waited as the buses came in to load and unload their passengers. As the buses departed, I pressed the shutter release (BULB), and as the bus came closer into the right side of the frame, I released the shutter release which activated the external Canon flash (Canon EX). The shutter was open for an average of 7 seconds before the flash ended the exposure, but for the first time I was able to actually see much of the STA bus as it went through the frame, from left to right. Rear curtain synch is what I call the operation, although others call it a variety of terms.

I was approached during the shoot by a gentleman named Steve (Steve Blaska), who was a very friendly guy. We spoke for a period of time about the STA bus photos I was shooting, and I showed him a few of them on the rear screen viewer of the Canon 40D. Steve handed me his biz card, which identified Steve as the STA Director of Operations. It was fun to take a break from standing around holding the tethered shutter release, and nice to see the reaction from Steve as he viewed a somewhat small screen with his buses going by.

I did put one image online, although I would like to do this project once again. My timing to get the bus in the right spot never seemed accurate enough. I mean how tough can it be to just let go of the pushbutton tethered shutter release? Well, for me, it seemed like I always managed to allow the front end of the bus to get too far to the right of the frame, whereby removing the front end of the bus entirely. The buses were shot as they were starting from a dead stop, so at about 5 seconds into the exposure their speed had really increased. At any rate, I was able to capture a bus, in its entirety, from a dead stop as it went through the entire frame of the camera.

Next up was something more traditional. I had targeted the LED sign displaying info about the 2010 Figure skating championships at the Arena. This sign (SW corner of Boone and Washington) was very blurry, so I skipped shooting the sign. I walked to the east side of the Arena, where I generated a series of images of the east entry area at the Arena. I added one of these images online at:

I'll try and get out again this evening, to search for more color in downtown Spokane, and Riverfront Park. As long as I don't forget to bring gloves this time, it should be another fun photo op.

John D. Moore, CPP
Spokane Night Scenes

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