Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Children of a common mother

This after dark photo shoot occurred in a recent trip to Blaine, Washington. I drove north from Ferndale to Blaine, to view the Peace Arch after dark, to capture the Monument after it was illuminated. I arrived at ten minutes after sunset, and noticed the sign that the Peace Arch Park was closed at sunset/dusk. I noticed that a Border Patrol officer was in his vehicle monitoring the Parking lot and Park, so I contacted him. I identified myself and inquired of him as to how much longer I could take photographs of the Peace Arch. He indicated I had just a few minutes. After some further discussions of my interest in shooting after dark, he told me to “go ahead.” I advised I could be done by 8PM, and he said that was “just fine.”

I grabbed my gear and tripod and hustled the few hundred yards to the south end of the Peace Arch, where I set up and started shooting. I was really lucky here, the camera had been set up exactly for this type of shoot before I left Ferndale, and I had no downtime at all for adjustments. I knew I had no more than a half hour total, so I shot one series after another, bracketing shots all the way.

At 8PM, I grabbed my gear, and headed back to my vehicle where I loaded up. I made contact with the gracious Border Patrol Officer who was still there, essentially waiting for me the entire time to finish my project. He had already locked the gates for inbound traffic, and I was extremely thankful to have been given this opportunity to shoot the Peace Arch.

I plan on sending a thank you to the Border Patrol Office in Blaine, to see if they can pass along my thanks to the officer I spoke with that night. There are more times than not, when in public law enforcement, the words “thank you,” are never heard. This won’t happen here, and I want to make sure of that. If the officer that let me into the Park ever gets to see some of my shots, perhaps he will be glad I got the opportunity that he gave me.

Spokane Night Scenes online image:

United States Canada Peace Anniversary Association:

Peace Arch Anthem

This shoot did not come without its moments. I shot the image vertically, and after 150 or so bracketed shots, I placed the lens cap back on the camera. Somehow it never made it back to Spokane, although I suspect it is still lying on the United States side of the Border in Peace Arch Park. Considering how many night shoots I do, what surprises me the most is that this has not happened on any other occasion.

All shots were at ISO 100, and at F9. The tripod was stationary at one spot, at two full extensions of the tripod feet (maybe three feet tall). Shooting this monument at full extension just did not feel “right.” The camera was set on Manual, using AF and AWB. Lens was 18 X 200mm and mostly at 28mm. Timed exposures were from 1 second to 30 seconds (tethered shutter release), depending on the series I was shooting. I only had about 25-30 minutes, so this was a get it and go type of an event for me.


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