Thursday, March 26, 2020

Empty - March 26, 2020

All afternoon and into the evening the wind was howling and blowing. It was still sunny out and kind of warm but the wind had a bite to it.

After dinner I was eyeballing the clock, watching it get later and later and I wasn't moving. I finally got up and started gathering my things.. the memory card from downstairs, the wider lens that I wished it'd had yesterday and packed up. Soon I was out and driving with the sun directly in my eyes it was about 30 minutes until the sun would be down.

I didn't have a destination in mind but I drove along McKnight towards Center street then turned south on Center towards downtown.  The sun dipped behind a cloud for a while and I could see again but as I neared the river it was back out in full force. I turned west on to 4th ave and directly into the sun blinding me again. I quickly found a place to park on the empty street and got out of the car.

Tunnel view

On foot now, I had an idea about taking a wide angle photo of the sunlight shining down the length of the street with the buildings on either side reflecting light and there'd be this cool tunnel effect. I kept moving up the street towards the sun looking for this image to appear.

It didn't quite work out, the buildings weren't reflecting any of the light and I could see that it wasn't going to work out how I imagined it. So I swapped my wide lens for the telephoto zoom in order to compress the view.

It felt like a bit of a ghost town there were very few people around. When I did spot some pedestrians crossing the street, they were far away. I took some shots in a hurry trying to frame them up in the light. Sadly the photos have quite a bit of motion blur because I wasn't holding the camera all that steady. It's not as noticeable when the picture is small so I'll post it here and maybe on instagram, but it'll never make it into the book.

I waited to see if any more people would cross the street but it was dead.. so I thought maybe I'll try to head towards the river and catch some light there.. It wasn't long before the sun was fully extinguished and all that remained was a bunch of flat light.

I circled back towards the car looking for images or things that might be interesting. The pickings were slim and I was thinking about how I should try to get out earlier than right at sunset. The pressure to catch the sun and to get there quickly and not knowing where to go is hard.  I thought about this, then I tweaked into how empty it actually was.

There were no cars on the streets, all the parking lots were empty. No people on the streets.. it felt kind of weird actually and I became aware of how alone I was in a place that's usually pretty busy.

Still looking for compositions I pointed the camera upwards here because the sky had a slight bit of colour.

I wandered around trying different compositions.. I like the curved glass at the top of this atrium and recalled that the other side of the building had similar glass. I encircled the building just looking but didn't find anything that caught my eye.

I was on 7th ave where the transit trains run and there was a handful of folks on the platforms waiting for the train. I figured I'd just head back to my car and on the way I spotted these bikes in the second floor office window.  Across the street there was a staircase that led to an outdoor food court patio so I went up there so I could shot at the same level as the bikes.


After finding my car I packed up and started towards home. Yesterday when I was driving home from photos I noticed a crescent moon hanging above downtown out west.  I didn't stop because I'd just turned onto Deerfoot trail north and to get back would have taken a bit of time and I figured the moon would have been out of view by then.

Day to day, the moon seems to be about an hour behind the previous day.. so if it sets at 9 one day, it will set around 10 the next.. Thinking about this, I peeked out my rear view mirror and sure enough the moon was making it's way towards the western horizon albeit higher than it was yesterday at this time. I was also surprised that it still had some waxing to it's crescent because it was looking pretty thin yesterday. (*edit a few days later: apparently waxing means it's getting bigger day by day. I had assumed that it was getting smaller for some reason. Indeed it did look thinner the day before because it was!)

I pulled into the St. Patrick's Island parking lot and found an open viewpoint near the river that had an awesome unobstructed view of downtown. At the end of the parking lot there's an area with metal tables and chairs and some shelters, for summer picnics or something. Someone had moved some chairs out to the point by the river so I had a nice seat as I setup the camera and tripod. The seagulls were still here and I could hear them screaming and yelling.

Once I was setup I took a few photos. The moon was quite high and I wondered how long it'd take until it was closer to the buildings.. I waited for a while, taking bracketed photos every few minutes using different focal lengths.

In between photos I'd just sit and watch.. seagulls chattering in the background, sky fading towards black.. moon making it's way to bed. It was peaceful and I was grateful that I got to bear witness to this scene.  One time I looked straight up and noticed that many seagulls were circling high above me moving about like a swarm of gnats, it was kind of freaky.  I was super glad they weren't all pooping.

Waxing Crescent

To see the posted photos larger and any other photos that I may have taken today, please click here.

Thanks for looking.

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