Something from Nothing

Apologies to Bradford, but on my last visit I was struggling for material. In fairness my working hours, the shortening hours of daylight, and a reluctance to go driving further afield once checked into my hotel narrow the options.

So what was I left with?  The view from my hotel room revealed little to lift my spirits; multiple lanes of traffic by-passing the city centre and then the industrial units that are inevitable where road and rail converge.  Ah well time to embrace the wisdom of Jagger and hope I can still get what I need.

From my hotel vantage point I’d thought to shoot the dispersal of car lights as they left a nearby junction and diverged uphill, but at ground level I was thwarted, though prompted to come up with a new collective noun; an unkindness of trees!

To business then; in the opposite direction I could at least do something with the evening traffic._pw_8290

Timing my efforts so that the banks of traffic lights didn’t staunch the flow proved challenging, but I persevered for a while._pw_8307

Whilst the addition of a little light rain was a slight discomfort it at least made surfaces more reflective, so I decided to see if I could make something of the metal crash barrier beside me which was becoming more mirrored.

It wasn’t happening for me; nothing really appealed and the rain was now becoming unpleasant.  (Neither my camera or I had come prepared).  As I fled the scene juggling camera, tripod and backpack I accidentally triggered the shutter.  Abstract, random but much more fun than everything I’d shot so far.  I shot another as I ran.

This was much more fun, but not wanting to end up trying to persuade my insurance company that a wrecked camera was entirely accidental, I returned to my room, where with fresh impetus I turned my attention to the rivulets on my window and the coloured bokeh beyond.

The coloured sphere suggested something celestial and so I set to tweaking.  Not quite sunshine after the rain, but you can see what I was after._pw_8319-edit

The things a solitary photographer can get up to when bored in a hotel room.  Could have been worse I suppose.

Buona Notte (Venezia 34)

I’m told that you have to see Venice at night.  The architectural splendour takes on a new character when illuminated against inky indigo skies, the streetlights twinkle from canal reflections, the darkened alleys take on a new air of mystery.

I’m told you have to see it, but being resident on the Lido I never did.  Unless you count this shot from the ferry as I returned one evening.

Venezia-11

Perchance to Dream

Undaunted by my recent failure to capture star trails, the goal remained in mind when I returned to familiar ground in Merseyside this week.  I’ve spent enough time there to be getting my bearings, and though staying in Widnes I knew I was close enough to St Helens that I could easily return to the Dream sculpture that featured here a few weeks ago.

Thwarted by cloudy skies on my first evening there I was delighted to see nothing more than the occasional wisp the following night.  Dining early to give myself the chance to take my time over the shot, I made my way to Sutton Manor, the location of the sculpture.

First challenge.  I’m sorry if you’re local to the area, but to my eye it doesn’t look like the sort of place to leave your car at night.  There’s a pub there with a large and fairly derelict expanse of land around it, and even though there were lights within the building I can’t be certain that the place is a going concern.  It has the look of a place where drug deals take place in the more remote corners of the parking area.

I decided to chance it, leaving my car in a location that combined proximity to the roadside and one of the occasional streetlights in the area.

The pathway to the summit where the sculpture is located was quite distinct, though I wasn’t aware of moonlight, but the bushes and grassland on either side was dark and indistinct except where silhouetted against the deep blue of the night sky.  Glancing ahead of me I spotted a figure outlined in the same way crossing my path and then disappearing once more into the darkness, making me question further the wisdom of my endeavour.  I tighter my grip on the tripod I held in my right hand.

Seconds later I began to wonder if I’d need it to defend myself as I heard his dog announce its presence with a series of growls as it came quickly in my direction.  Straining my eyes against the darkness I thought I could make out some sort of bull terrier, but luckily before I was able to confirm my identification it finally responded to man calling it back.  Though I had a head torch I’d decided not to use it as I didn’t need to illuminate my path and felt it wiser not to announce the presence of a photographer with some pricey equipment on his back.

I reached the summit without further encounter, and identified the position of Polaris.  Star trails look better when shot against the poles for here the rotation of the earth produced more pronounced results.  I set up my tripod to include both the stars and my foreground subject, noticing as I did so that more wisps of cloud were passing overhead.  I was unconcerned; they were both speedy and insubstantial.  Focusing and composition done (as much as you can when shooting an image that looks largely black through the viewfinder) I opened the shutter and began my wait, which gave me plenty of time to notice more of the cloud fragments passing by overhead, though as I followed their progress I was frustrated to see that they seemed to be slowing enough to gather into a more substantial barrier somewhere between me and the Pole Star.  I looked behind me where Orion’s Belt formed a smile at my annoyance.

Undaunted I reversed position to take advantage of the clarity of this constellation instead, only for the cloud to coalesce there too.  The final straw came when two mountain bikers arrived, bearing enough lighting to satisfy the most demanding of road safety campaigners.  Another largely wasted evening, though I liked the result of this shot where if you look closely you can just make out the traces of Orion through the cloud.  Very closely.  Very very closely.

Dream, Sutton Manor
Dream, Sutton Manor
There was one bonus.  My car was still there.Enhanced by Zemanta