So I dragged John and a friend, Sandy, to Saturday night’s Photography Meetup outing in downtown Richmond. I’d not tried night photography yet, so I was anxious to see what I could accomplish. We started out at the floodwall which affords a very nice (and much photographed of course) view of the downtown skyline. This is a shot with enough light to show you that the James River flows through the downtown area, although it is very shallow and rocky here so only rafters and kayakers are able to traverse it.
This is about the best shot I could get after it got fairly dark and the lights in the buildings came up. You can’t even see the river, which is fine, that wasn’t what I was going for. But the Bank of America sign, for example, is pretty blown out. I don’t even know if this is as good as it gets, even for professionals, or if I had the wrong settings.
The sunset wasn’t much to write home about and unfortunately, from that location, there isn’t a very interesting foreground. It did have some neat-looking rays though.
We then headed down river to a place called Rockett’s Landing, at the end of the navigable waters of the James River. We went there to get a different angle on the skyline with the wider, deeper river in the foreground. This is probably the best shot of the night for me. One member of the group said he thought this was where slaves were debarked, but I don’t know about that. I mean, they had to come ashore somewhere and the slave market was in the downtown area, so he could be right.
There wasn’t much of interest there as far as I was concerned, so I played with my white balance settings. I’ve read where you can just set your white balance for things that aren’t “applicable” to the situation and get different, artsy results. Here are mine. The composition is lousy, I know. I can see where this technique might come in handy some day. These shots also illustrate how dirty my sensor is, yikes! I could photoshop the dust specks out and make you think I’m a good camera housekeeper…
Our last stop was at a state government building that has a balcony or plaza overlooking interstate 95 and Main Street Station, our downtown Amtrak station. I’ve been wanting to get a clear shot of the station for a long time and didn’t realize this plaza was there, even though it’s only a couple of blocks from my office.
I took a bazillion shots (because it was about the only thing of interest to shoot from there and that’s what I was after anyway). I came away disappointed because I either had a nice exposure for everything but the clock face, or a fairly nice exposure on the clock face but everything else too dark. I also wanted to get the light trails from the traffic on the interstate and of course I had to use a long shutter speed to get that.
If you’re an experienced photographer, I’d appreciate your input about this. Should I have been able to combine the best of both of those clock tower shots? (A co-worker has already suggested photoshopping the clock face from one picture to the other. That’s one solution, but I’d rather learn to get it right in the camera. Post-production work is tedious.)