The sky was a bit boring yesterday, so I decided to give Beacon Hill a second try. The clouds give the picture a different mood–now it feels more like Seattle.
City workers cut the weeds down today, so I was able to get this shot from a slightly different angle. Yesterday it was full of 6-8 foot tall weeds and bushes. Alas, news travels quickly, as I wasn’t the only one there:
Holey smokes! I’ve never been stormed like this before…there were 15-20 of them, all with point-and-shoot cameras, all on tripods. They swarmed in around me, but luckily they were very polite and didn’t get in the way of my shot. Someone even brought a chair to match her short tripod–good thinking! Another lady switched from Chinese to English to ask me how to change some settings on her video camera that she was using in still mode. “Sorry, no idea.” Try asking me when the light isn’t perfect.
Fortunately, I got there about 30 minutes before sunset, so I had time to compose my shot. It’s a good thing I was early because everyone else showed up exactly when the light was good, meaning that they were fumbling around, looking for the right angle, instead of being able to concentrate on nailing the exposure. The right moment lasts only about 10 minutes, maybe less due to fairly heavy cloud cover. The lesson here is to compose the shot in advance so you are ready when the perfect moment hits.
For me, the perfect moment was about 25 minutes after sunset. This allowed for the most complex (but even) lighting. It is complex because the lights shining through the building windows can be seen, the time lapse exposure shows the flowing traffic, and some texture in the clouds is visible. The lighting is fairly even because the sky is dark enough to give the city some contrast, so the city seems alive, but the sky is not so bright that it becomes washed out. Shots after about minute 45 won’t be able to pick up details in the sky or the reflections off the water, but that’s okay if you’re going for a different look:
(It wasn’t completely dark yet, and I could have waited longer, but I was at the point of diminishing returns, and at this point, you start to lose details in the buildings, as well.) This kind of cityscape can be taken anytime during the night, and while it’s an “okay” shot, I don’t think it’s as interesting.