I joined forces with the Night Hawks group, signing up for a photo adventure the Creative Photo Academy does. It’s the Paul’s Photo guys organizing a night shoot at some LA photo spot (for not much money) and everyone shoots their little hearts out. Mark Crase was on hand from the Academy to keep the cats together and for photo questions. Last Wednesday was a Night Hawks visit to a local San Pedro favorite, the Vincent Thomas Bridge.
I’ve shot Vincent Thomas at night before — I had a shot of that in my March gallery show in San Pedro. But I was hoping the Night Hawks would get me a new view to shoot.
We met up at about 7:30 at the fountains along Harbor Blvd. in SP. Basically these fountains are like a small town version of the Bellagio’s. The challenge is how to turn all that into composition. Here are some of my fave shots from that sequence.
The fountains have a pretty good design all things considered. Lots of nice angles, good use of the spotlights in the fountain. And once I got the lay of the land, I wandered down to this end to make the most of those elements. Plus the sun was giving off warm colors. I went with the long exposure to smooth out the light reflections in the water.
Finding my spot before the big show — and following the light. 25 sec, f22
The fountain begins, .8 sec, f4
Once the fountain began it’s sequence I found I had to shorten the shutter speed in order to record a smaller segment of the water dance. Going for 20 seconds (or 5) means you get too many different water effects one on top of the other. But tightening the shutter speed and triggering at the beginning of a new sequence gave me a cleaner look.
Second fountain dance
A second angle, .6 sec, f7.1
With darkness hiding all the crappy buildings in the background, I moved to this side of the fountain. By now, the lit wall around the edge of the fountain was golden bronze and I spent some time using that shape against the line of palms — while getting as much reflection as possible.
I was shooting the main fountain area once the show started again, without much luck. These fountain effects aren’t choreographed to please photographers. But I did get a few things.
Explosion, 1/10 sec. f5
Is this art or clash of cymbals?
Once the show got going I had more luck catching how the audience engaged with the fountain.