This picture is about Christmas. It really is. After I photographed Christmas Eve in Old Town, I was walking back to my car when the a bunch of low rider cars and trucks sped past decorated in their Christmas finery. Mostly lights. Since I like blurred things, that’s the kind of picture that I made. Have a look. It’s about Christmas. I promise.
Many of you already know that I make some pictures by shooting out of the windshield. That’s pretty easy with all these new fangled auto-everything cameras. Just point and shoot. But, sometimes, I hold the camera with my left hand and focus on my left rear view mirror. You never know what might show up there. Like that big semi following closer behind me than you might think. When I work this way I usually some kind of wide lens. If you are filling the frame, or at least the mirror with the image, you have start getting pretty close. And, that’s another thing. I’m old enough to come from the fill the film frame with the intended subject school of thought. That way, I get the subject in the picture without having to crop for impact. There’s a lot of ways to do this. You can use telephoto lenses. They are great. But often the picture looks a little flat and compressed. Me? You already know this, but I like to work from the inside out with shorter and wider lenses. In that way, the image takes on a stacked look to the point of almost feeling sort of 3D. It also allows me to engage the subject which means better emotional interaction. But, with the speeding heavy truck, I mostly just want to let the truck get close enough to make a picture like this one. I don’t really want to interact with it. I have this thing about living and not becoming one with the truck. Silly me.
So. This picture is all about timing and the decisive moment. And, breaking off in time to avoid any possible disaster.
Sometimes on my back road drives, I find stuff. Well, not exactly that. I’m sure the stuff that I find isn’t lost. It is more like dumped. Sometimes it’s interesting stuff. You know what they say. “If you want to take better pictures, stand in front of better stuff.” Sometimes, even better stuff doesn’t help. Anyway, the thing about the high desert is its dryness. Very dryness. While we have humidity in New Orleans that ranges in 70 and 80 percent range, New Mexicans complain when humidity is like 12 percent. All that dry air prevents rust. Or at least inhibits it. While you may see old, dumped cars and trucks that look rusty, upon closer inspection you find that they are not. They are wind-blown and sand blasted. They are faded by the strong sun light. The sun tends to magnify in intensity when you are a mile up. At least you aren’t eight miles high. And, waiting to touch down. Did you catch that?
So. This truck. It’s an ancient GMC truck that I found “parked” in a field. I doubt that it ran or even could be started. It’s tires looked firm but dry rotted. Obviously, the windshield needs a little work. Other than that, it looked intact. Unfortunately, I stopped to make the picture at exactly the wrong time of day. High Noon. Flat. Chalky light. Ugly. Still I made the picture. It was a record shot. One that I would keep in the back of my mind for when I was in the “neighborhood” again. Something to be reworked at a more appropriate time of day. But, I “found” image file when I was looking for those act of traveling pictures that I mentioned. I decided to play with it. I added a little color. I added a little contrast. I sharpened some of the details. Then I added some “glow” to it. That did it. The image is somewhat presentable. Here it is.
More Hong Kong. This is Admiralty just as it comes toward Central. This is pretty much the heart of the banking and government center. I made this picture late at night. Normally, this place is just packed with hundreds of people scurrying here, there and everywhere. But, not at around 9pm. I was able to shoot at a slow enough shutter speed that I could let what little traffic there was be blurred to give a good sense of speed and motion, while still freezing the buildings and other things that don’t normally move. The cool thing is that I was able to do this without a tripod. I don’t recommend it, but in this case I was on my way to someplace else when my muse tapped me on the shoulder and said, “This is a good scene. Take the picture.” I reckoned that I better do it or get a new muse. You know that wouldn’t have worked out very well. Always, always follow your muse.
There is one Cross Harbor tunnel in Hong Kong. It connects Hong Kong Island to Kowloon at Hung Hom. It was built in 1972. There are two other tunnels called The Eastern and Western Harbour Crossing tunnels as well. Even though they were designed to ease traffic flow even during peak hours of travel. They are always pretty busy. Here’s a look at the Cross Harbor Tunnel as it approaches the Hung Hom toll plaza. I believe that I made this picture well after rush hour. How did I make it? I used a tripod. Yes. You read that right. A tripod. I set the aperture at f 5.6 and made sure that the shutter speed was down around 1/2 of a second. The result is as you see it. Lots of motion. Lots of movement. But, with very recognizable shapes.
If you never ridden a double-decker bus in Hong Kong during rush hour you have no idea what you are missing. It’s colorful. It’s noisy. Motion is blurred. It’s crowded. And yet, everything fits. In all my years there, I never saw an accident that was caused by these insanely crowded conditions. And, despite its packed conditions, it’s great fun. As long as you have a window seat in the big front window. Upstairs. Then, it’s an E-ticket ride. Oh yeah, for those of you who don’t know to what an E-ticket refers, you have to be old enough to remember when you bought tickets at Disneyland that were lettered according to level of thrill and difficulty. An E-ticket was sold for the most thrilling and the best rides.
The picture. I made this picture from a flyover on Hennessy Road in Causeway Bay near the Japanese Department store, called Sogo. There is a crossing walk which is where the buses stop to pick up and let out off passengers which slowed things up a bit. This is another version of f8 and be there. Except that it “f5.6 and let the shutter speed fall where it may.” This is probably f5.6 at 1/2 or 1/4 of second. Handheld. Yeah. That breaks all the rules. You are supposed to use a tripod. You are supposed to get something sharp. But, not me. The combination of the subject’s motion and my own slight bodily movement created a painterly effect which I like. A lot. The color? It’s mostly what the camera saw. I may have turned it up a little bit. But, I rarely do much more than enhance it.
Another old frame. This time from New York City. I reckon that it’s the least that I could. I used to spend a lot of time commuting between Dallas and New York. At that time, we stayed in the Hyatt which was located above Grand Central Station. It was some corporate deal that we worked out. I also asked for a room facing for 42nd Street. Sometimes, I’d get lucky and have a view of the Grand Concourse which is where the taxis line up. So. One night I made this picture.I photographed through the window. I had no choice. Most NYC hotel windows are sealed. This picture is more a result of luck than skill.
I’m not sure what this picture says. If it says anything at all. It’s one of my drive by pictures. In fact, it’s a drive up to picture. I guess I like the composition and the color. It did take a bit of work in post production to get it anywhere near close to what I saw in my mind’s eye.