Union station has always had an allure for me, the way the light beams through the windows, the long main hall, it is a simple, but magnificent place. As I sat there, just people watching, a sparrow fluttered by and landed on the seat next to me, then on to another chair across the isle, and out an open door. Part of Union Station’s charm, the occasional sparrow.
When I took this shot, I had one simple goal in mind. Take a long exposure shot, and hopefully catch some sunset colors under the pier at Santa Monica. I was disappointed when I first saw there wasn’t going to be any meaning full sunset shots, but, was hypnotized by these boats. I’ve never been under the pier, so this was an absolute delight to shoot. Hope you enjoy the image as much as I had making it.
The other night I took this image, while standing on Disney property, just before security came by and said that they were called over to investigate what was going on. I told them I was out just taking some pictures, and offered to take theirs and would send them the shot if she provided an email.
This seemed to soften her up at bit, and she said that I can use my camera to take images of the Music Hall while standing on the property yada, yada, yada, but I cannot use my tripod, unless I was on the sidewalk. Oh, ok, it’s a good thing I’ve got a long lens to make up the 20 foot gap, I thought.
I have to say, she was the most courteous security guard I have ever encountered, professional, polite, and willing to offer an alternative other than the “no pictures, no trespassing, or empty your memory card” types. I don’t know if this was due to training, her personality type, or my own positive nature, but I have to hand it to the security company at the Disney Music Hall for having her on the team. If all security guards, no, most, no, even half of the security people out there had the people skills this young woman had, they would not have such a bad rap among the general populace. Anyway, that’s my two cents.
Night photography is one of the most rewarding genres of photography because once it has been demystified, it is generally a fairly easy thing to do. Here are some quick and easy tips so that you can go out and capture your own images at night.
- Stabilize that camera, whether you use a tripod, a park bench, or what ever, make sure you stabilize the camera because you’re going to leave the shutter open for a while to gather as much light as you can.
- Use longer shutter speeds, in the image below, I the exposure was 2.5 seconds. I could have made it longer, but then the blue light on the ferris wheel would have been over exposed, and would appear white. I had to decide if I wanted to possibly black out the foreground, or preserve the color of the ride. Longer exposure times can also increase noise, so it is something to be aware of.
- If you want to shorten the time your shutter is open, raise your ISO a bit, but make sure you keep noise in check.
- Shoot in manual mode.
- Play with your aperature settings, if you close down to say f13, you may get star patterns from points of light. You can also put a cross filter on your lens to create the came effect.
- Take a few frames, it’s digital, and free.
- If you’re experimenting with exposure times, start with a shorter time, and ramp up your exposure time until you are satisfied with the images you are getting. You will quickly get an idea of how far you can push your gear in different situations.
- If your camera has a self timer, use it to minimize the possibility of shaking the camera when you press the shutter.
- If you have a remote shutter release, this is a good time to break it out, and use it.
- Be sure to cover your view finder so that unwanted light does not bounce around inside your camera and ruin your shot.
- Above all, be aware of your surroundings, and be safe, use the buddy system and bring a friend. The last thing you want to have happen is for someone to blind side you and make off with your gear, or worse.
- Don’t forget to have fun. Why else would you be out in sometimes cold night weather creating images?
As promised yesterday, a beach shot…
The Huntington Library is not your ordinary library, it is renowned for housing a vast collection of rare books and manuscripts, as well has having a wide variety of botanical gardens on the grounds as well. Among the books within it’s collection, is the Gutenberg Bible, which is the first book to be printed on a movable type printing press, and ushering in the age of the printed book.
The botanical gardens are arranged in themes, such as the Children’s Garden, Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, and about a dozen others sprawled over a 120 acre expanse. Between the library, museum collections, and the gardens, it is difficult to take it all in on a single day. If your visiting Los Angeles, and have a love of fine art, gardens and rare manuscripts, The Huntington Library will no doubt be a highlight of your vacation.
The Griffith Observatory is one of my absolute favorite places in Los Angeles. Build on a south facing slope, the observatory overlooks the Los Angeles basin, including down town, and is a haven for couples during the golden hour, or sunset. The observatory was featured prominently in A Rebel Without A Cause, starring James Dean. Other movie credits include, The Terminator (and Terminator Salvation), Transformers, Charlies Angels: Full Throttle, and many others.
This first image is of the Foucault Pendulum, which is designed to demonstrate the rotation of the earth.
As I mentioned before, this is a great place to share a romantic sunset with you significant other. Here is a couple doing just that.
Here is yet another Los Angeles Landmark that has been featured in movies and television series alike. You may have seen this building featured in movies like True Lies, Hancock, Strange Days, and Escape from LA, there are many more. It has also been showcased in episodes of CSI, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
Of all the buildings in Los Angeles, this is my favorite. There is something about the mirrored cylinder towers that intrigues me. The Bonaventure is also a building I have only seen from afar, a problem I hope to rectify some time this year, with camera in hand of course. In the mean time, here is a view I discovered quite by accident while walking around downtown one day.