We had a party on Saturday. It was Sandi’s birthday and we were celebrating her 50th; by the way, she won’t be annoyed that I mentioned her age as she doesn’t even look like she’s 40, and besides she says it’s just a number anyway. But that’s really not the point of this blog.
The party ended around 11:30. I was driving 3 people home, two of them live downtown near an interesting church. It’s interesting because our photography theme this week was architecture and the idea that an evening shot would be different from what my brothers were posting. But that’s really not the point either.
After a day with lots of snow, I was happy to see that the evening sky was clear save for a few wispy clouds. I brought my tripod and camera, but of course forgot to tell Sandi what my plans were. Now we’re getting closer to the point.
By 12:30am, the last of our guests were home and I was headed back up Cumberland Avenue towards that church I’d seen earlier. In case you’re not familiar with downtown Ottawa, Cumberland Avenue is on the eastern edge of the By-ward market. It is moderately busy as far as traffic goes. There is a mix of residential and commercial buildings, and has a few shelters for people who aren’t fortunate to have a home to go to at night. Probably by now you can guess what the point is.
So there I am, the introverted photographer in a darker section of the avenue (so as to avoid street lights in the photo) tripod and camera set up for 30 second exposures of the church. I’d taken 3 shots when I heard a group of spirited young men come round the corner. “hey cool camera, want to take our picture, come on man just one picture” I’m thinking this isn’t a good scene but I agree and take a picture as they dance around in a group pose. “you going to post that man?” “Sure” all the while thinking, don’t ask to look at the picture, don’t ask to use the camera. “Hey, if you ever want to take pictures in the Library of Parliament, just ask, cause you know I work there”. “Hey, thanks”
They go on their way, I return to photographing the church but I’m so unnerved by that brief exchange that I decide to pack it in and get back to the suburbs.
At home just after 1am, I’m reminded that I neglected to tell anyone what I was doing. And that’s the point. I’ve often gone out late at night or early in the morning to take pictures but always with at least one partner. This time I forgot. but I won’t do that again.
The picture, by the way, was my last shot and is a 30 second exposure at f/6.3, ISO 100 using my IS 17-40mm L lens. I fixed the WB tweaked the colour and did a little dodging and burning in LR3. The angles are intentional. I like the end result, despite it all.