I had heard that the Griffith Observatory, which sits on the same mountainside as the iconic Hollywood sign, is a great place to view the city, especially at sunset. Turns out, that is hardly a hipster secret; the serpentine road leading up the hill was jammed with parked cars, as the observatory’s small parking lot had long since filled up. The Griffith is a large facility, with many terraces overlooking the city, so that even with hundreds of people milling about, I could find a place to set up a tripod without much trouble.
On the whole, I will call this shoot a learning experience. There are a lot of factors involved in getting a good sunset shot, and I was trying to figure them out on the fly. After over an hour of shooting, I came away with precious little photographically that would stack up to the live experience. The pano-cropped shot below seems to be my best effort. It was taken probably 10-15 minutes after the sun had dipped below the horizon.
I spent a long time circling this car, trying to find the right balance of exposure time, ISO, and flashlight angle. Thus, I have a lot of similar shots, and it gets hard to choose the definitive one. The original shot of this car (to be found on this recent post) I’m no longer quite happy with. So, here’s a couple variations.
Shots of the Casa Rosada, or pink house, which is the presidential palace of Argentina. One theory on the origin of the distinct color of the palace is that bull’s blood was used in the first coat of paint, supposedly to counteract the effects of humidity on the structure. Whatever the case, it makes for a visually striking building, especially at night.
And here is the Obelisk, meant to celebrate some military victory or other. I don’t remember. It’s enough that it’s tall and phallic, that’s enough for some compelling photography.
Two shots of this bridge from opposing sides.
Former dock cranes line the canal separating the Centro from Puerto Madero, an aesthetic nod to the neighborhood’s blue-collar past. The areas is now home to upscale restaurants and hotels.
A bit of Rome sits in the heart of Buenos Aires’ bustling theater district.
Buenos Aires’ Subte stations have distinctive signs marking stairways down to the platforms. The subway system is very shallow, and also tends to follow under major streets, so that it seems automobile traffic is merely a few feet overhead when riding in the subway cars. Below: Florida station on Corrientes Avenue.
Yes, as the Idiot Photographer’s last post indicates, it’s time to take off the heavy silver cross, wipe off the eyeliner, and return to the ranks of the cheerful and well-adjusted. This is my last shot from Buenos Aires’ Ricoleta Cemetery, and I will be moving on to showing photographs of the rest of the city, where I had a remarkably lower success rate.
We all feel a sense of limitless wonder when gazing into the eternity of the night sky. But what are the myriad celestial objects to be seen high above our fair city? This handy guide will list them all, as seen in the photograph below from left to right.
1) Lens flare.
3) Dust on camera sensor.
Now, with the encyclopedic knowledge of the heavens at your fingertips, you’ll be able to amaze your friends on clear evenings. Won’t they be jealous! Who knows, you might even “catch the eye” of the lissome neighbor girl you’ve been ogling lately. What are you thinking? She doesn’t like stupid stars! She like Arnold, the rowing team captain. He’s got everything… muscles; a crew neck sweater from his uncle in Portugal; they say he’s even going to get his own car next year. You are so lame, and the neighbor girl knows it. To think you had a shot with her! What folly! Gee, you should just get beat. Nobody cares about your stars.
From Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood, a vertical lift rail bridge. Serves primarily (as far as I could tell) Amtrak and the local commuter rail service Metra.
View from the east bank of the Chicago River.
A tugboat pushes a barge south through Chinatown.
Chicago’s skyline has many facets. Viewed from varied distances and vantage points, the city center can look imposing, majestic, or at times surreal. On postcards, views from the lakefront dominate. But I have always loved the view from the near South Side, at a point in the city’s topography where the low bungalows of Bridgeport and Chinatown give way to the utter flatness of river and railyards before exploding skywards north of Harrison Street. The building pictured in the foreground is the only thing that breaks the aforementioned flatness around Roosevelt Road; it is the power plant for the nearby train station and (now defunct) post office. In the background, lit green for National Emesis Awareness month, is the Sears Tower.
Before we move on to the next site on our photographic trail of tears, some shots of the parts of town that are not decaying. These shots are nothing special, but I love night photography. It’s always a little thrill to see a long exposure, which seems to light up the darkened scene you were looking at. This is the old courthouse, which faces the Arch from the west.
And here, a couple buildings downtown. I’m guessing 1880’s era, with art nouveau details. (This is just a guess, any architecture geeks out there are welcome to correct me).
And finally, the Grand Hall of the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. The center of the hall is a rather large lounge with bar which I highly recommend having a drink at.
We had a couple destinations in mind when we chose St. Louis as a destination, all urbex-related. But, getting into town Friday evening allowed us to walk around downtown a bit, and what photographer can go to St. Louis and not shoot the arch? It is, in fact, a striking and beautiful monument right on the Mississippi riverfront. As we found, however, it seems to be the entirety of this city’s civic identity. Half the businesses in the city use the word “arch” in their names or employ its likeness in their logo. It is, moreover, visible from almost every corner of the city. In a way, this is a shame. St. Louis is a beautiful town, built largely of the stately red brick in the Italianate style that Chicago, by contrast, almost entirely lacks. Hell, even the Budweiser plant is a great visual anchor on the south side of town. So, adopting the motto “when in Rome…” and applying it to the Midwest, here is the obligatory shot of the St. Louis Arch, gleaming on a clear October evening.
Nighttime snowfall, Austin Boulevard, 2/2013
Took another night trip out and about, but my photo buddy (who has the car) was wore out and tired so we only made one stop, the Baha’i temple on the north shore. I think the slight fogginess worked in my favor for this one but I invite you to be the judge of that.
Maybe I should fix that horizon line?
I honestly never knew this statue existed until the other night. It is in Grant Park ( Millennium Park) just south of Congress, not 100 feet from Michigan Avenue, but as it sits on top its own little hill and has a screen of mature trees between it and the street so unless you’re just wandering in the park, you’ll never see it.
So sometimes (read as “most of the time”) I take everything too seriously and get frustrated that I’m not taking the “perfect” shot. Which leads me to feel like I suck at photography, which leeches all the fun out of taking pictures. As it turns out all I needed was an evening out with a fun friend and my camera to turn it all around for me. Meet Angela, who is telling her ghostly self off.
OK fine so long exposure night shots like this aren’t high art, or even middling art, but they are an absolute hoot to produce. Angela helped remind why I got into the whole photography thing to begin with. Because it is fun.
So we wandered Grant Park for awhile and made it down to the Agora installation (which I love more than “The Bean” a.k.a. Cloud Gate) and Angela decided to play a game of tag with herself. Which you can do in a long exposure. I was laughing like a giddy school girl through the whole thing.
Screw making “art”, I’m out to have some fun!