Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

August 7, 2007

The Crown Jewel

I've been doing photography for a really long time now, ever since I got my first Kodak C-110 for Christmas in 1977. Every time I go away on vacation and shoot a ton of photographs, I am always hoping for the perfect shot. The "postcard shot", if you will. It's damn hard to do, and most photographers will tell you that if we get more than 3 stellar shots on a roll, that's pretty good. 1 per roll is more like it.


On my last night in town, I remembered that I hadn't gone downtown to get pictures of Parliament all lit up. All of my favourite postcards of Parliament at night show the dusk sky in a beautiful indigo colour. So I waited for the sun to start to set, and I got in my car at about 9:00 and drove back to Inner Harbour, while it was still light-dusk. I figured it was getting late enough that traffic on Belleville Street would be non-existant. I could easily pull over, put my flashers on and carefully, methodically start shooting pictures, mess around with apertures & shutter speeds.

Wrong.

I turn off of Blanshard onto Belleville and the closer I get to Government Street, the more traffic and pedestrians there are. While "panic stricken" isn't exactly the right way to describe the way I felt upon observing the scene before me, it was more like, "holy shit you better think quick how you are going to do this." It was too late. I was committed to crossing Govt. St., and passing in front of Parliament. Traffic is heavy in both directions. Pedestrians are spilling off the sidewalks into the traffic lanes. There are still horse & carriage rides clippety clopping along the street between the cars. I was SO screwed. There was nowhere to stop, nowhere to park, and traffic was so heavy, and it was clear that I was going to be stuck for quite some time going straight ahead and being unable to bang down a side street.

As one car & a pedestrian passed me, rolling slow at about 5 mph and right before the next car obstructed my view, I grabbed my digital camera, and shot this picture. I know it looks dark here, but if you click on any of the pics (from any of these posts) it gets larger and you can see the detail. I set it down on the passenger seat, grabbed my film camera, and still rolling slow, shot this one. I don't even really remember having the time to adjust the shutter speed, aperture & focus.

As I drove past, I ended up doing an extremely long detour loop to get away from the traffic jam. I was crestfallen. I shot 2 pictures....from a moving car....with obstructions coming into view as the shutters fell both times. There was just no way they came out. When I got back to the hotel, I was able to view the digital picture and could not believe my eyes. I finally took "the postcard shot" of Parliament with the indigo sky at dusk. Seeing the film version come out just as good is the icing on the cake.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:34 AM

    Jo-both pictures are perfect and so beautiful to look at it. You must be good to take these pictures when driving and in that much traffic. I am so impressed with them that I could go up to Victoria just to see where you took the pictures. Love the story that goes with them too.
    Jean

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  2. Jean - thanks so much! :) You just can't take a bad photograph in Victoria or Vancouver Island.

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  3. wow! those are fantastic!! gosh, they are just sooo pretty! you rock girl!

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  4. Wonderful pictures Jojo, you are very talented. Trees tend to leap out in front of me when I'm taking pictures from a moving vehicle ;0)

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  5. It's just Beautiful!

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  6. Those are awesome photos Jojo!

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  7. Jojo, when I'm famous, will you be my tour photographer? I need a MAGICIAN to make me look good in a picture...and you are IT!

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  8. Axe - I'd be honoured!!!

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  9. In that case,I need a wedding photog and ALL the help I can get?How well do you Photoshop Jojo?

    Lovely photos!

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  10. Bryde - I've never used Photoshop but it has been recommended by my local camera store...I'm afraid I'm not very good with all this newfangled technical/computer stuff!

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  11. I'd say you had good luck, but frankly, it has to be skill to get shots like these under such impossible circumstances.

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