Friday, March 8, 2013

Scott Kelby, That Nikon Guy, and Frozen Butt (part 3)

     I was losing hope to see the blue hour.  It's my fault that I have not researched about the time of sunrise and what not.  But at this time, I couldn't think of that.  All I could think of was my patience running very thin.  It's been 2 hours and still no sign of the sky changing color.  But before calling it quits, I decided to walk to another overpass at the next block.  At least that's where the bus stop is, just in case I decide to go home.

Note:  Every photo uploaded in this particular blog is taken straight out of camera. From RAW file to Jpeg without minor tweaks.  So please bear with the quality.

     It didn't seem like anything special.  At least, not as good as the oval over-pass. But that was looking from a distance.  When I got up, I was puzzled by the design of this "other" over-pass.  It had thick arcs in the middle, made for billboards.  Along with the snow, it was the pattern that attracted me.  And since I was already there, I might as well take some shots.

Shot 1
At first, I was trying to hide the buildings behind so I could only show the patterns that I liked.  But there's something here that I thought was not right.  I thought the light pollution here seems too much (look at the blurry and not-so-black sky) and I wanted the arc in the middle to show up a bit more.  

Shot 2
I thought what's wrong was the emptiness.  And if this thought comes to mind, I tend to think "human element" to make the image a bit more personable.  But as always, I don't have anyone with me so I resulted to adding myself in the picture.  Having to sit down on this ice-cold path is not a joke.  All-in-all this picture looks worse than the shot above.

     At the photo above, as I was shooting, posed myself and tried to be very still for the rest of the 30 seconds, some people passed by.  I thought, "Oh great, they're gonna shake my tripod or worse, stand in front of it to gawk at me sitting in the middle of their path.  Fortunately, none of those happened.  They just slowly passed by as they stare at me for a while.  I'm used to that reaction.  But I'm more worried about what comes out of the shot.  To my surprise, they didn't show up at all.  Either I sat there too long that I didn't realize the shot was done way before the people passed by, or the shutter was so long that it didn't capture the people walking.

     But wait!  What's that in the sky?  Why is the light pollution so strong?  Why is it more prominent than the last time?  I stared at my preview screen for a couple seconds more and it dawned on me.  BLUE HOUR!  I can see the sky getting a bit brighter and more blue than black.  I got really excited but panicked at the same time.  I panicked because I might not be able to get to the first over-pass before the sky gets too bright.  So all I could think of was find a subject as quickly as possible.  Walking to the edge of the over-pass, I found a church.  But most importantly, I can literally see the sky turning blue.  Time wass running out!

Shot 3
If nothing else, I could at least get the experience of shooting at this time.  I did my best at the very limited time, to frame this church.  I know I only have a couple of minutes for the blue hour, so I thought at least I have some images to study for next time.  Funny enough, I never thought of that annoying cross until I saw it on my computer screen.  This was THE annoying cross from the previous shots (previous blog).
     I really didn't like that icky yellow from the above shot.  So I hurried to the other over-pass, hoping I could still shoot at darker settings.  I hurriedly recalled the frame that I wanted.  Top priority was something I could submit to Thatnikonguy's contest.

Shot 4
I took 3 shots of this.  One empty, then this one, then another where I stand closer to the camera.  I'm not very much aware of the wide lens characteristics.  I was physically very close to the camera at this shot, but it didn't seem like it here.  I payed more attention to the placement of the moon.  Photography critics pay very much attention to every detail in an image.  So even that one star should say something other than just being there.

Shot 5
Adrenaline was still pumping as I don't feel the cold anymore.  At shot 4, you can see the sky getting really bright.  So I tried to remedy by tweaking the camera settings, in hopes that I could still make a bit more deep blue sky.  This time, I can also see what's happening beyond this post.  And I thought it might do me good to show it (along with that annoying cross... and annoying duck).

Shot 6
Again, that annoying duck caught my eye.  And since it's a bit late for any deep blue sky at this time, I thought of taking another pic of this duck for fun.

Shot 7
I took this shot as a test before.  But since it didn't really wow me the first time, I thought maybe the blue sky and more visibility of the background might change my mind.  So again with some changes on my camera settings, I tried another shot.  It still didn't wow me.

Shot 8
For one last time, I made another attempt.  I thought shot 7 was just too bright and the light trails weren't so impressive.  So I made one final tweak on my camera settings (faster shutter speed) and had to just time it right.  With only 13 seconds, I have to hit the shutter as the cars start to move, then hope nothing else come before and after the time frame.  I liked the light trails and the blue sky but that's about it.  Time to move on.

Shot 9
I passed by this scene when I was going to the "other" over-pass earlier but it didn't really make any impact to me at that time.  That is, until the sky got brighter with the blues.  Seeing as I don't have much time left, I hurriedly set up my gear, framed as careful but fast as I could, and as I hit the shutter button (about 2 seconds too late), the street lights went off... bummer!

     So that was it.  The blue hour started at about 6:45 am to 7:00 am.  Could be extended to 7:15 am with some tweaking on the settings.  But I was told that the span of time changes every day and it gets longer or shorter, depending on the time of the year.  I realized that these are but a small amongst the many things that landscape photographers learn.  And for me, who neglected to read much about it, I suffered the cold, hunger, frustrations, and fatigue, and pain, that I could have avoided.

Continue to the next blog.

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