Two nights ago I was sitting at my computer. It was a little after 10pm. It had been raining all day and I knew that the reflections on the ground would be nice. There was humidity in the air, and things are cleaner after a rain. Still it was 10pm, I was essentially in my
pajamas work clothes, and motivating myself to open the camera chest, pick equipment, get dressed, and venture out in the cold (for San Diego) night air would be somewhat of an undertaking. It helps when you have a crew to meet up with. Solo night photography even when you’re in a safe neighborhood is always a little weird. Unfortunately I haven’t been here long enough to form a new evening crew. So I was sitting at the computer, chatting with Nessa about my contemplations. I’ve met very few female photographers who are actually into the whole going out and shooting at night thing. “The lighting is unflattering for portraits,” Nessa says. I tell her I’m not doing it for portraits. She’s encouraging though, “if you like to do it, you should go out and do it!” I suddenly get déja vu and remember hearing similar encouraging statements from Ashley. So I motivate and I get out there.
Two things I notice. One is that despite being in the suburbs, downtown La Mesa at night is interesting to me visually. Second thing I notice is that after I take the first shot on the tripod, I put it away. And for the rest of the night save one exception, I shot everything hand held. Maybe these shots will be a little weirder than past night shoots, but I actually really enjoy being untethered by a tripod. It’s easier to get unique angles, it’s faster too. I took shots that I ordinarily might have skipped because of the time involved in setting up the tripod and adjusting it. Of course it helps that my cameras can handle low light situations, but I think if you practice your sniper breathing and steady your hands it’s possible with most fast lenses.
So this is my neighborhood at night. Obviously not a center for bustling night life, but even in stillness there is life.
By the way if any of you new San Diego photographer friends of mine like this sort of thing let me know and maybe we can get an outing organized. And final note, photos look better on your wall than on your computer screen. Support us by buying a print, your walls will love you!