Saturday Night Photography

My interest is night photography was rekindled by a woman that I met on the Sift to Bikes Mystery Night Rides in Portland Oregon. Ayleen uses a film camera and takes pictures of the group when the mystery ride reaches its destination. I first started taking pictures at night with my long gone AE-1 when I had a paper route for the LA Times in the 1980s. I used ISO 64 slide film and took pictures during short breaks in the early morning.

So it is Saturday night and I have just dropped off my dad at his hotel room in the new part of Bastrop off Texas Highway 71. I head back to my room which is on the far eastern edge of Bastrop. I decide to take the route through the Bastrop historic section of town. As I cross the Colorado River the lights on the old bridge that is used for pedestrian traffic inspire me. The old bridge is right next to the new ridge that I am driving on. I remember my last night ride in Portland and how beautiful the Sellwood Bridge looked at night. I make a mental note to try to take a picture of this bridge some evening.

As I continue towards my motel I drive past a small café with nice blue neon lights. This café is the Roadside Café which was in the move Home Fries staring Drew Barrymore. There have been several movies made in Bastrop including one of my family’s favorites The Big Green. As I made my turn off Texas Highway 95 onto Loop 150 I decided that now was the time to do some more night photography. I had tested my EOS 10D earlier with a few shots of trucks in the Exxon parking lot behind my hotel. This shot I thought that I would have a better chance to take a really nice picture. I parked my car near the entrance to Bastrop State Park. This is where the movie was actually shot. The current location of the Roadhouse Café is where it was moved after the movie. I set up my tripod and I took four pictures and then went back to my hotel room.

I have never used any of the custom features of my EOS 10 D and had never taken pictures using the RAW file format. These photographs mark the first time that I have taken and digitally process my own images using my laptop, Canon software, and Adobe Photoshop. This is the reason that I got interested in computers in the first place some 20 years ago and somehow got side tracked trying to raise a family and earn a living. The first image is a JPG export from the RAW file format. I digitally tweaked some of the file parameters before saving the exported file. This is just like taking a piece of negative film and making a print in a traditional darkroom. Once you take a picture with the negative you can make many prints with different effects. In the digital world taking a picture and saving the RAW image you can do the same thing. I can adjust the settings and then save it to a JPG file for viewing or printing. The RAW file always has my original photographic information that was captured when I took the picture.

The second image has special effects that I applied using PhotoShop. I took the image and applied the Fresco filter to give it a pop art painted effect. I will continue to use filters to come up with an image that I like and then I will make a print of it. If the print is Ok then I may try to sell copies of it. This is the process that I will go through as I create digital art.