So we made it to Dallas, just a quick 12-13 hour drive and we arrived. The trip was pleasantly uneventful and after dinner I was thrilled our hosts wanted to stop at their favorite skyline view so I could take some photos. I love photographing traffic at night, it has a unique motion all it’s own, but being here in Dallas standing over the I-30 bridge with a large tripod looked conspicuous to someone driving by and it only took about 10 minutes before the Dallas Police Department showed up. For once the police didn’t make me pack it up and go home, instead she just wanted to know how much my camera cost? The three above were my favorite of that shoot. At dinner tonight I found out I am going to get to go to the PGA Byron Nelson Championship, so hopefully I will get my first decent PGA Tour shots while I’m there, after that it’s Polka time.
I have been a photographer now about as long as I have been a believer, and I have spent those 15-20 years trying to figure out how to combine both in a way that glorifies God. That tends to look different almost every day, and it did on this day once again. What draws me to photography is the ability to tell a story without words. Words are generally my weakness when it comes to telling a story (or just conversing with another person), but an image can transcend language, age, and culture. The difference at least in our culture is literally everyone has a camera, but few seem to know how to engage other people in a caring way.
And in comes Sunny. I was in Auburn on one of my favorite corners doing a photo walk of sorts (that means you walk around looking for something interesting to shoot, often it’s a person with some unique character, like Sunny). Problem is, every person with a camera who showed up before me just wanted to take Sunny’s photo and run, some, he explained, literally ran. No one was interested in telling his story. So I did what I always do before taking a photo of someone. I asked him. To my surprise, he said no. He asked me why I wanted to take his photo and I really didn’t have a good answer. This post is basically my answer to that question, but in the moment, I had nothing. I knew why, I wanted to tell his story, but I was thrown by his response and mentally froze.
So how do you convince someone you have never met before that you actually are interested in telling his story, and that no, you are not like everyone else who came before. I’m still not sure how to go about doing that, but we stood there and talked about life, faith, trains, writing, and music while college kids zipped by on the street and in their cars. It’s basically what I wanted to do in the first place. One thing I wish I had done at the time was take my own photo with Sunny. In a way I did, I’m right there in his sunglasses. Glad you too could meet Sunny as well, he was quite the character.
To answer my own question in the title, you listen for 15-20 minutes and shoot for 15-20 seconds.
The other night Deb and I went back to Moe’s Original BBQ in Auburn over on Magnolia Ave. It is such a great place to do some street photography since there are so many restaurants and shops along those roads, but the atmosphere inside Moe’s is really great as far as photography goes. Lots of colors, paintings, drawings on the wall and so on. This sorta feels like an ad for their restaurant but it just happened to be where we ate dinner when I had my camera (I don’t get paid advertising funds from anyone on my blog just to be clear). Anyway, these are just a few of the images captured the other night while we were down on Magnolia Ave. If you are looking for a place to shoot in Auburn just walk around downtown from about 5pm to 9pm and you will have more to shoot than you have memory in your camera. All these shots were taken with a prime lens, a Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, and a Nikon D7000 (EXIF data over here) if interested.
I wanted to throw something a little different in there today for the image of the day, like an image of the night instead. One of my favorite times to shoot anything, photography related of course, is first light, last light, and at night. At night you can get some really unique perspectives you can’t get at high noon during the day.
This is a shot of a Birmingham Alabama downtown street at night. The exposure was around 10 seconds if I can remember correctly, but depending on the speed film you can take images with totally different results, in the same place, just by changing the speed film (or now the ISO rating on your digital camera).
This shot was of course taken before digital cameras where film became very grainy above ISO-100 and you had to use a tripod to take anything at night. The difference between what is possible with today’s digital cameras and what was taken below is incredible, but in the time frame this image was taken, I really like the shot and I can remember going through all the setup to snap one or two images of the street life.
What images have you been able to capture at night, how did they turn out?