In 2020 I had to find a new way to create due to restrictions and an over abundance of caution due to the global pandemic. I have this curiosity for night photography and I think I’ve hone my craft over the past year due to the fact; 1) you have to go out late 2) most the time you’re by yourself in the dark. What night photography has taught me, patience and planning.
It’s pretty easy to look up in the sky at night and think, “Oh wow, full moon is out!” and run inside and grab your set-up and start shooting. Over the course of the past year, I’ve gotten better at the quick set-up in the dark but man, it can be cold in the winter. Now, I try to plan ahead and note the moon phases or when the Milky Way will rise. I have my layers, headlamp, heat source and camera gear ready.
Patience is taking shot after shot of the object in the sky. Readjusting to align the camera with the moving night sky and taking more shots, checking the photo, adjust, reposition, click at least 50-100 times. After you think you’ve got your shots, there is the post processing. For this image, I stacked 60 photos into this one photo with photoshop. I’m no Adobe suite expert but photoshop’s “Automate” tool will do a decent job of stacking. The finishing touches are added in Lightroom.
Decided to go out after work and look for wildlife in the estuary that near by. Found this Great Blue Heron stalking the waters for a meal.
This photo was taken last July when I was up early and wandering around the Point Bonita Lighthouse in the Marin Headlands. I didn’t see these guys when I was walking towards the old lighthouse but on my return to the parking lot, I spied these guys resting on the beach below. Urban photography is usual not my thing but I thought that this mix of nature and graffiti was pretty cool.
This week I pulled #44 from the Lightbox Photography Cards set. “Doors are mysterious objects – and a natural subject for photographers.” This particular card had me walking around the neighborhood looking at doors that said, “Welcome! Come on in!” One door was bright red. I’ve walked that route almost every day on my morning walk with the pups and I’ve never really noticed it before. Some doors, had ivy in the entryways, manicured potted plants, or old newspapers piling up. This challenge card made me slow down and look and think about the subject. Funny though, I wasn’t carrying my camera to actually capture the images but it did remind me that I do need slow down and look around at all the interesting things around me. I did however have my camera phone when these pups were waiting to come inside.
Statement by the Artists (Cupid’s Span)
Inspired by San Francisco’s reputation as the home port of Eros, we began our project for a small park on the Embarcadero along San Francisco Bay by trying out the subject of Cupid’s stereotypical bow and arrow. The first sketches were made of the subject with the bowstring drawn back, poised on the feathers of the arrow, which pointed up to the sky.
When Coosje van Bruggen found this position too stiff and literal, she suggested turning the image upside down: the arrow and the central part of the bow could be buried in the ground, and the tail feathers, usually downplayed, would be the focus of attention. That way the image became metamorphic, looking like both a ship and a tightened version of a suspension bridge, which seemed to us the perfect accompaniment to the site. In addition, the object functioned as a frame for the highly scenic situation, enclosing — depending on where one stood — either the massed buildings of the city’s downtown or the wide vista over the water and the Bay Bridge toward the distant mountains.
As a counterpoint to romantic nostalgia, we evoked the mythological account of Eros shooting his arrow into the earth to make it fertile. The sculpture was placed on a hill, where one could imagine the arrow being sunk under the surface of plants and prairie grasses. By slanting the bow’s position, Coosje added a sense of acceleration to the Cupid’s Span. Seen from its “stern,” the bow-as-boat seems to be tacking on its course toward the white tower of the city’s Ferry Building.
Came home last night and decided to take the long way home. Drove along the Embarcadero, stopped and snapped a few night shots.