Sunday
Oct032010

Inspired by a Book to Try Something New

I found myself needing to drive to work in downtown Los Angeles on a Friday a couple of weeks ago. I mistakenly thought that, since it was Friday, the traffic would be “Friday-Lite,” which is how the traffic reporters tend to describe it. It wasn’t.

I knew that going home would be bad, as is typically the case as commuters and people heading out of town for the weekend cram onto the too few freeways leaving Los Angeles. It turns out it wasn’t just bad, it was miserable. In the time it would normally take for my to complete my commute by Metrolink train service, I wasn’t even halfway home. I started to think about options to sitting in the “going nowhere” traffic jam I found myself in.

As any respectable tech-head would do, I worked my way to a Frys Electronics superstore, a mecca of sorts for us geeks, to spend a few idle hours while the traffic died down. I methodically walked up and down the aisle looking for the cool stuff that I just had to have. Considering the time I spent in there, I walked out with very little damage being done to my wallet. I spent only $100.

Creative Night : Digital Photography Tips & Techniques by Harold Davis

One item I purchased was a book on night photography. The book is titled “Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques.” (It is authored by Harold Davis and published by Wiley Publishing, Inc.) I have always been intrigued by the mystic, insight, and beauty garnered by night photography, couple that with the fact that I find myself in the dark quite a bit with Deb enjoying her stargazing activities, and it was a perfect book for me. To wit, see this post: Steel and Stars.

After getting home and settling in I began to read the book. (This is one of those books that I don’t even want to flip through pages - I just want to be surprised by the material and photos. Weird uh?). I found the material informative and written well. I like the author’s style and flow.

After reading the first few chapters I had already deduced that this was money well spent and I looked forward to trying my hand at capturing all that the nights have to offer. So after reading seventy some odd pages I was sufficiently inspired to get off of my ass and go out into night. I headed east.

I found myself searching for a suitable test subject on which to practice the techniques I had just read about. One location came to mind because of it’s abundance of passing trains and suitable lighting - the train station at San Bernardino, California, some twenty miles east of me.

As I set-up for the first shot, I opted, perhaps foolishly, to try to also capture the scenes in HDR. I now realize that I should have taken more individual images to capture the entire dynamic range of the exposures, but the longer shutter times required for night photography coupled with my haste, precluded me from making the right choice at the time.

Nonetheless, I offer the following shots of my first efforts to capture night scenes, in HDR also. I definately am looking forward to improving my abilties and plan an taking many more exposures like this in the immediate future:

San Bernardino Amtrak and Metrolink Station at Sunset - [9/25/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry. San Bernardino Metrolink Platforms - Night Test Shot 1 - [9/25/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry.

San Bernardino Metrolink Platforms - Night Test Shot 2 - [9/25/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry.

San Bernardino Metrolink Platforms - Night Test Shot 3 - [9/25/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry.

San Bernardino Metrolink Platforms - Night Test Shot 4 - [9/25/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry.

San Bernardino Trackage - Night Test Shot 1 - [9/25/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry.

San Bernardino Trackage - Night Test Shot 2 - [9/25/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry.

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Reader Comments (3)

I'm guessing you stopped at the Fry's on Crossroads Parkway, Joe. Judy and I drove by the Montclair Metrolink station one evening about a week ago with the same idea as you, but we just found some buses and it was not very inspiring. It looks like we will have to follow your lead and go out to the San Berdoo station, do Amtrak and Metrolink share the same station?

You might want to check out Todd Landry's blog http://toddlandryphotography.wordpress.com/ for some nighttime HDR inspiration.

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWayne Frost

@Wayne: Yep, the Frys in Industry. Amtrak and Metrolink do share the station in San Berdoo. Thanks again for the links. Keep them coming!

October 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterJoe Perry

How did I miss these? I love the lighting, great job Joe.

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Parra

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