911 Streetlights

blinky lights
Saturday night I had planned to head out to Luminara to check out and photograph the lanterns people had created. I had attended last year, before I was into photography, and really enjoyed myself. Once your eyes adjust to hte darkness, the lanterns really stand out, and become quite magical.

This year was not to be. I left late, a few minutes before ten, and drove down to Beacon Hill park. I missed the entrance to the parking, so I cirlced around, discovered that too many people were leaving to allow newcomers to park, so I circled back and parked along Dallas Road.

I jumped out of my truck, grabbed my gear, and started walking towards the park. There were lots of cars out, and people were snapping up the parking spots as quickly as they could.

The next sequence of events happened rather quickly, but I will try to explain them as best I can. I was looking up the road for a good place to cross. I noticed a vehicle coming towards me, then noticed the right hand light looked funny. I realized there was a motorbike in front of a car, and that is when I heard the engine from the bike. Next, a car coming in the opposite direction (same direction as I am walking) turns left in front of the bike. I saw the headlights on the bike dive a few inches as the driver of the motorbike hit the brakes.

I thought to myself “This is going to be close”, and then bam, the motorbike hit the car. The riders were catapulted over the car and slid along the ground a bit.

I was slightly stunned, but I took off running towards the acident, jumping over some bike parts as they slid down the road. I got to the passenger from the bike, and I stopped there. I tried talking to her, but she didn’t say anything. I told her not to move, and that she was going to be alright. I grabbed my cellphone, dialed 911, hit send, then someone else said they were already calling. Myself and another gentleman waited with the girl until some help arrived.

Some people from nearby vehicles brought some blankets to cover the girl. It was pretty freaky, and my legs were quivering from the adrenaline. After some police officers arrived, I backed up and let them do their business. I had to hang around and give a statement.

As I stood there waiting, I was looking around the scene a bit. There were about 6 police cars in the vicinity (later I noticed two more down the road directing cars), two ambulances, and a firetruck. There were no streetlights at all, so the only illumination was the red and blue blinky lights from the police, ambulance, and fire vehicles. This cast an eery aura onto the scence. I stood there freezing my butt off from the breeze coming off the ocean. I surveyed the bike, and sort of vowed I would never get one.

I discovered that the driver of the car had jumped the curb, and his car was in the middle of a field. He was sitting there looking very stunned. I felt for him. I was in a similar situation many years (car vs pedestrian instead of car vs motorbike).

After giving my statement, I reallly didn’t feel like going to the festival. I had been really looking forward to it for about two months now, and I was a little disappointed that I would miss it, but I really was a walking zombie after that. I grabbed my gear, walked back to my truck, took the above picture, then left.

There is always next year. I just hope the motorbike riders come away ok. I also hope the driver of the car can get on with his life. It is quite devastating to go through something like that.

Technical Critique

Well, photography class is coming to an end, but it sure has been fun. The first few weeks were extremely technical in information. The instructor explained the different parts of the camera, how they work, and how they all interact with each other.

Film affects shutter speed, which affect aperture setting, which is also affected by flash. How do different pieces of equipment affect all of the above.

We also covered regular topics like macro photography, night photography, portraiture, travel photography, and the last class will be sports, and nature photography.

I really like how the instructor taught the course. He has a nice range of technical information, common sense, and technology. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to improve their shots, or who wanted to learn more about their camera.

I set up a gallery to show some of the pictures that I submitted for critique. I appreciate any comments.

Exposure Assignment

The Photography Class last night was great. I learned lots of useful things. Let’s see, topics covered were: focusing techniques, shutter settings, aperture settings, and exposure meters.

Different cameras have different focusing techniques. The instructor explained some of the benefits and drawbacks to split image focusing, micro prism focusing, grid-matte focusing, and the straight up very familiar autofocus.

We learned how changing the shutter speed can affect the picture taken. Changing the aperture size affects the depth of field. The right combination of shutter speed, and aperture size determines how your vision of what the photo should look will actually turn out. Lots of experimentation is needed to get it right on a consistent basis. Exposure meters help you figure out the correct aperture and shutter settings. Like I said, lots of useful topics were covered. This is the kind of stuff I wanted to learn.

The assignment: Lines. That is the only description he gave us. Cool. I am excited by this, but I don’t know if I will really have a lot of time, or any time for that matter, to do this assignment.

Session Composition

Well, last night was the first session of the photography course that I am taking. I am pretty excited by the course. I think it is going to be pretty good. I like the instructor, and his teaching style. Yesterday we learned the basic operations of different styles of cameras. Each class we have assignments to do which are optional. We even get two field trips where we get a bit of instruction, then we just go off and take pictures. Last night he gave us 5 tips that will make our pictures 500% better.

  1. use a tripod, mono pod, or brace yourself
  2. use a shutter cable release or timer
  3. ???? (I can’t remember this one right now, but it was a good one to remember)
  4. looking vs seeing
  5. left eye vs. right eye

This is the course for me. You see, every once in a while I take an amazing shot. I am not sure why they turn out so good. I want to know why, so I can do it more often. This course teaches the technical aspect of taking pictures. Krista got me a cool book on picture composition, a topic not covered in this course.

I am really starting to develop photography as another hobby. I can see why it is so fun.