I love the fog except when I have to drive through it. Otherwise, it’s a great component for a photograph. It adds a dimension of depth and mystery. It sets a calm, solemn mood that I believe is best accentuated in black and white. What a perfect scenario for my very first use of Ilford HP5+ 400! I’ve been wanting to try this film for a while. I’ve had good success with other Ilford products, Delta 100 and 400. I understand HP5 has a different grain structure than Delta. A more traditional structure that produces more grain. A lot of this can be controlled in the way you expose your photograph and how you develop it. Regardless, I like the character that only a film grain can create.
With a little free time, I headed to Nashville early one morning. The plan was to do some street photography, but when I made it to Riverfront, I was delighted to see the fog draped over the Cumberland River and the Music City Skyline. I knew from the start that I wanted to get a skyline shot from one of my favorite vantage spots, the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge. Before I did that, I crossed the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge to check out the view. The sun was starting to peep through in spots. This made an interesting view looking back East at the Korean bridge from the pedestrian bridge. The fog was thick underneath the Korean bridge and you could see the reflection of puffy white clouds on a blue backdrop in the river. I thought to myself, this is why it’s worth getting up before sunrise. Scenes like this are only moments away from vanishing. I believe a color shot would have been cool also, but I love the black and white treatment.
I walked back across the bridge and down to the riverfront area on the stadium side. I came across a kid’s bike locked to the railing. I wondered what the story behind this bike was. Was it left? Why was it left? Did it belong to someone nearby? It must have been or still is value to someone as it was locked to the railing. Whatever the case, it made a cool urban shot with a human element without the human.
I continued walking down the walkway and noticed that the gates leading down to the dock were open. I took advantage of this opportunity and walked down to the water’s edge. I heard voices once I got down to the dock. It was coming from nearby underneath the pedestrian bridge. It was a homeless couple waking up from their night’s sleep. That bike may have belonged to them. I walked up and down the dock and finally settled on a shot. I needed to act fast before all the fog was gone. I liked the idea of adding the bridge pillar in the shot to help define the perspective. The floating fog and the reflections made this an instant favorite of all the skyline shots I’ve ever taken.
Pulling Back the Veil
Finally I hiked over to the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge to get the skyline shot I mentioned earlier. After setting up my gear and finding my composition near the mid-span of the bridge, I noticed a barge making its way down the river. This was the icing on the cake. All I had to do was wait until the barge was where I wanted it in the frame. That’s one thing I love about using an all mechanical camera. It doesn’t fall asleep. I’ve missed a shot or two because my digital camera fell asleep to protect the battery power. When using my DSLR in this same scenario, I have to keep tapping the button on the cable release to keep the camera awake. My SLR does not use batteries, so it is always ready to go.
Scraping the Sky
Just before I took the shot above, mother nature called me to the water closet. This park area has a public restroom next to the pedestrian bridge. Upon entering the bathroom, I found my first street shot of the day. Stay tuned as I will reveal this shot and other street work from that same day in my upcoming blog posts. Thanks for reading!
Images Viewed Best in Lightbox Below!