I took a late evening stroll in downtown Columbia. It was hot and muggy, but I had to get out for some shutter therapy. There was not a lot going on, just the usual restaurants and bars. This was more of a scouting mission than anything. The city removed some trees from the courthouse grounds that used to hide the West face of the building. Now it is wide open. I wanted to see how this changed the look of the building at night with the entire face of the building exposed. I believe I found a shot, but I am going to come back when there is little to no traffic.
This first capture is a reminder of the evil that exist in this world and how close that evil can be to your front door. For those of you not familiar with my meaning, a terrorist attacked a couple of military institutions in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga is roughly 2 hours or so from my current home and about an hour from my hometown. What’s even more chilling is that this terrorist actually worked in Franklin, Tennessee which is just a few minutes up the road from my current home. When I found out this terrorist worked in Franklin, I immediately pondered how he could as easily done his evil in Franklin where me and my family visit frequently. My heart and prayers go out to those directly affected by this tragedy.
There is long political discussion that can be had at the same time. Why were military personnel unarmed? Why have terrorist become so embolden over the last several years? I will leave it there. I know the answer and that answer doesn’t favor the current administration. The terrorist should know that when the “Right” people, pun intended, are in power, their days will be numbered.
The next shot is a capture of the Moon and Venus setting in the West. The fainter dot just above Venus is the star Regulus in the constellation Leo. I wanted to get a shot of these gems with the courthouse building in the foreground, but they were too low in the sky. I plan to go back tonight as the moon will be a little higher and brighter. It may be high enough to get the shot I want.
This next shot is the coolest shot of the night. There were a few bikes parked on the sidewalk with these decorative lights. I thought this was the best one. This was a 30 second exposure at f16 and ISO 100. There were two things I wanted to do with those settings. First, I wanted to shoot at ISO 100 to reduce the amount of noise in the image. My camera is not equipped with the best low light sensor. Secondly, I shot at f16 to create the star burst you see emitting from the lights. I always liked this effect. The resulting shutter was 30 seconds. I had to do 4 takes before I got it right as there were cars and people I had to work around.
I have made this same hike numerous times, but you always find or noticed something different each time. Believe it or not, but I have never noticed the Variety Records sign in the picture below. This time the changing colors of light from the sign grabbed my attention. This was the only hand held shot of the night. I attempted to use my tripod, but it was not tall enough to frame the shot the way I wanted. I had to shoot at ISO 400 to get a shutter speed I could hold which ended up to be 1/10 seconds. If it was not for image stabilization, I would not have gotten this shot. I have ran into situations like this in the past and had to settle for less quality due to higher ISO or no shot at all. I plan to fix this problem when I pull the trigger on a new mount and tripod setup within the next few weeks. Stay tuned, I plan to do a post about “Essential Gear” and my new support setup will be featured.
After I left Variety Records, I was drawn to the sound of live music. This music was coming from Lucille’s Restaurant. Lucille’s is a diner and concert venue started back in 1953. I believe for some time it was closed, but has opened again recently. While getting this shot, I was approached by one of the girls who worked inside. She asked me what I was doing. When I explained, she asked me if I wanted her to move the chairs out of the way. I told her it was part of the picture. She smiled and asked if I wanted to come inside. She went on to tell me about their hours and lunch schedule. She called for a gentleman to come out as she had a question about the lunch schedule. I took it that this guy was the owner or manager. He asked why I was taking a picture of the building. I told him this was my hobby and that I take a lot of street and urban pictures. He thank me for taking a interest in his place and went back inside. It took me a few takes to get this shot as well. The exposures were long and I had to work around people coming in and out of the restaurant.
Well, I made it back to the square this evening to see if I could catch the moon setting over the courthouse. I was beginning to think that the clouds were going to get in my way. Luckily only a haze remained when I decided to make the photograph. This haze created a gorgeous sunset just out of my frame to the right. This time around I went for the blue sky instead of the nighttime sky.
This next picture is not exactly “After Hours” but I took this while I was waiting for the sun to set.
Images Viewed Best in Lightbox Below!