When I saw that the SOPHA aka The Studio for Photographic Arts was having a field trip shooting the night time lights of downtown Manchester, I signed up pretty much immediately after I saw the post on Facebook. This is something I always want to do, but would never do alone as a female toting around expensive camera equipment late at night. However, in the safety of a group I was so there! I was the only chick in this class that night….. hey! More women need to sign up!!
I’m so fascinated by the nightlife of the city but I am tragically limited by my lifestyle: with two little kids I can’t even remember the last time I went out much after dark since before they were born. And this class went until midnight……. really?? I wondered if I could even stay awake that long. It was a HOT and sultry July night in a heat wave…… it would have easily rivaled New Orleans on a night like that. I took 249 photos with only a handful of keepers, but it was very exciting to think outside my box of daytime natural light portrait photography and do something completely different. My tripod pissed me off, as usual…….. but that is nothing new as I hate that thing. I love it, and I hate it.
As a disclaimer, any cool shots I got that night were probably 25% trial and error, and 75% luck. This was way out of my comfort zone, but with the guidance of our teachers Marty and Bud, they easily gave me some starting points for exposure and I was quickly able to whip out some usable photos after not much time. Streaks! Blurs! Ambiance! Really cool stuff. I love how this expanded my knowledge of available light photography.
This photo below? Totally speaks to me. It appeals to my obsession with restaurants, and color, and lifestyle photography. It’s just a perfect diptych to me. A little bit messy, and off the cuff, but beautiful in its capture of a moment and an evening.
Funny thing…. the purple in the above photo on the left is ME. I was wearing a white shirt, and I was reflecting the purple lights from waaaaaay across the street of the nail salon. It was incredible how it was the only purple light on the whole street and yet it was showing up everywhere. Those purple lights were reflecting off of every surface all up and down Elm St. Awesomely tacky.
This next one kills me. Apparently my camera doesn’t do so well with red (such a shame, really….) but GREEN! Yes!!!
Maybe the most important thing I learned (and this is totally embarrassing, but completely illustrates the fact that I am pretty much -sadly- NEVER out after dark taking photos) is that my camera has a little display illumination light on it!!! Our group leader Marty showed it to me. I was SO mortified to realize that I didn’t know it existed. And although I’m such a stickler for reading my camera’s manual and memorizing it, this is one thing that completely missed me in all the years that I’ve had my camera. Ooops. But then again, hey. Apparently I’ve never needed to use it.