Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Skyline - March 10, 2020

Driving to Tuesday horn lessons after springing ahead into daylight time last weekend meant that there was still light in the sky at 7:30pm when we left the house. In fact, sunset was at 7:33pm and is setting later by 2 minutes every day.. by the time spring arrives on March 21, it'll be setting at 7:52pm. The latest the sun will set around here will be 9:54pm on June 21, the first day of summer!

In our somewhat northerly location after sun sets there's still about an hour or more where the western skies aren't totally black. In case you can't tell, this is getting me all excited that we're finally starting to crawl out of the depths of winter's night. The changing seasons are one of my favorite things.

But back to today, as I drove I was trying to think of a location to shoot from that might take advantage of it not being completely dark. I wouldn't be able to shoot anywhere until about 8:10pm which is almost 40 minutes after sunset so I kept my expectations in check about what I might be able to shoot.

I decided my goal would be to head towards 14th street bridge and see if I could shoot the skyline. My hope was that shooting towards the east would allow any light in the west to reflect off of the buildings and give them a bit of colour.

Looking down 6th Ave.

Coming into downtown off of Bow Trail, I was trying to think of a place to park so I could access the bridge. After a few left and rights I found myself driving across the bridge itself heading north.. At the first intersection after the bridge I pulled a 'probably illegal' u-turn on the advance and quickly dipped onto a residential street. From there it was a bit of a walk to get to the middle of the bridge. It was getting darker and darker. My eye was on the western sky the whole time. Once in place, I quickly setup the tripod and got the camera mounted and started to make photos. The location was directly lined up with 6th Ave which runs east/west through the heart of downtown.

A few years ago I was at this spot trying to catch the rising moon through this crack in the buildings.. maybe if I was better at key-wording my photos I could find the photos. I remember it being evening and it didn't quite work out because it was still bright enough that the moon wasn't quite visible and it had entered the crack in the buildings before I even noticed it.

From this location I shot a few panoramas of the skyline and then made my way towards the south end of the bridge.

Panoramic view of the skyline.

At each the end of the bridge there is a pedestrian underpass. I had used the north side underpass after parking the car and thought it might have some photo opportunities. So here I was at the south end of the bridge and tried to see if I could find a composition. I swapped lenses and setup a shot. I didn't feel like I had a lot of time to explore the location for different angles ( remember how I'm trying to capture more creative/dynamic photos?.. I guess I forgot too.. ) and setup for this straight on shot.


I did try to time it so that there'd be light trails on the deck from passing cars and I think it could be improved upon, maybe a figure in the underpass ( self portrait anyone? ) different angle or whatnot.

I walked through to the other side and saw a fair bit of garbage in the tunnel. This end of the bridge is on the non-residential side so I think it might be used as a shelter or meeting place for folks that have no where else to go. There wasn't anyone around this evening, so I felt .. safe? safer? lucky?

On the other side of the underpass there's a stairway right beside. I swapped lenses again for a wide angle and framed up a couple photos. The underpass was quite a bit brighter than the surrounding light so I bracket-ed a bunch of shots and combined them together to help balance out the brightness.


The light sources inside the underpass and above the street were different colour temperatures. The underpass was yellowish and the street lights were bluish. It didn't help with the scene so I opted to convert to monochrome. I also added a pretty heavy vignette to the lower left hand side of the frame in order to add mood and atmosphere and to help direct focus to the more important areas of the scene.

Checking the time, I had to go.  I packed up and made my way back to my car to find that I'd been boxed in by someone parking on my rear bumper. Luckily I had a bit of space in front so I was able to wiggle out of the spot. I drove over to Kensington street which intersects Crowchild South and from there it was a quick drive to MRU to get Conor.  I made it with time to spare.

Thanks for looking.

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