It’s been a while since I took a late night stroll. I love the stillness and the solitude that gradually falls on the streets as shops close and people head home. Depending on the city, this peace may come early or it may not show itself until early morning. As for tonight’s stroll, the peace comes early.
Franklin, Tennessee is a little, big town shrouded in Civil War history. You will find landmarks and beautifully preserved architecture throughout the town. Franklin’s Main Street is one of the most popular Main Streets in the country. On any given day, Main Street is crawling with visitors, shoppers and street performers creating a festive atmosphere with something for just about anyone. With Nashville just a few miles up the road, don’t be surprised if you bump into a celebrity. Some actually call Franklin home. If they aren’t living there, they may be there to perform in one of the venues. Even with all the fanfare and festivities, the downtown area starts to shutdown late in the evening. After the shops close, the only stragglers are patrons of some restaurants or the movie theater. This is about the time I started my stroll down Main Street.
I started my stroll on the Southwest end and made my way to the Northeast. Right off the bat, the architecture and lighting on the outside and inside of CeCe’s caught my attention. I knew this was going to be a little challenging as I wanted to render the scene in HDR. The workers inside just turned off the illuminated open sign. They were busy cleaning up inside so they were constantly moving. There was a couple sitting at the table outside to the left of the frame and there was a woman setting on the bench directly in front of me. When you throw in the passing vehicles and pedestrian traffic, I had to time my frames carefully. Once I settle on my composition, exposures and white balance, I waited patiently for the right moment. The patrons setting outside finally left and the workers inside moved on to a location where I could not see them. After a string of vehicles drove through the intersection to my right, I grabbed my exposures to get the shot below.
The Sweet Spot
Just a short short walk across the street from CeCe’s, I came across the sign below. It reminded me of our baseball team because our sponsor and head coach was an eye doctor and it reminded me that I need to get a new pair of glasses. Ironically, I lost my last pair when I sat them on the back of my car to take a picture along the highway and did not realize I left them on the trunk until I was several miles down the road.
After my eye exam, I crossed the street by the Franklin Theater. As long as I have lived in the area, I’ve never watched a movie in this venue. Taking in a movie here would make a great date night. I walked around for a few minutes before I decided on my shot. Most shots you see of the theater including some I have taken are shots of the front. I wanted something a little different. As luck would have it, once I was ready to hit the shutter, the last movie let out. I had to wait for at least 10 minutes before I had a clear shot. Even then I had to wait for the workers inside to clear the window before I got my exposures. My back did not like this perspective.
Making my way down Main Street, the lighting on the building face of Chico’s grabbed my attention. Chico’s starts a row of buildings that is probably the most photographed in Franklin. One of my personal favorites is a photograph I made with my Olympus OM1 on Fuji Superior 400. You can see that picture here. Once again I elected to compose a low perspective. I battled a few pedestrians and cars, but things appeared to be dying down.
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, Franklin is filled with Civil War history. At the center of the town square you will find the monument below.
Tried and True
The storefronts provide most of the interesting light in settings like this. Store owners are very creative when it comes to getting your attention. The patriotic display from one store did just that.
It was approaching midnight so I figured I would try to grab one or two more shots before I called it a night. As I looked for a few more shots on the way back to my car, I looked backed at the Gray’s sign and liked what I saw. This sign is also a well photographed icon of Franklin’s Main Street. I did not notice the famous quote from Ronald Reagan on the wall in the Hey Day gift shop until post processing. It’s one of my favorites.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan
I scouted my final shot earlier as I made my way down the street. At the time, there were people sitting around my subject. I made a mental note to revisit the area on my way back. Once again I was drawn to the window light. There was something about how these mannequins were posed and how the light was shining down on their bald heads. It was eerie and fascinating all at the same time. While the people who were setting in front of the window were gone, there was still some people just to the left of my frame. During setup, I got an entertaining story about a woman’s brother who was on drugs and having financial problems. I wasn’t eavesdropping, but given her proximity, I had no choice but to listen. I finally got the shot just after they left.
It was approaching 1:00am so I made that my last shot. I always feel relaxed after some “Shutter Therapy”. It’s just what the doctor ordered! I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I am still working on a black and white film project that will showcase some architecture around Nashville. I still have a ways to go, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!
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