The first person to comment on how horribly behind I am on my backlog gets… I dunno, karma or something.
Meanwhile, I’ll do things in reverse. Here is just one photo, and five timelapses without sound from Washington, DC, where I was about three weeks ago. (I’ll try to post three weeks of photos over the next few days, so that when I’m all caught up I can actually spend time writing about experiences)
After New Orleans, I made my way by train up to Charlotte, North Carolina, rented a car, and headed South. I spent an entire week traveling around South Carolina, between a few days in Columbia and a few days in Charleston.
I’d never been to South Carolina before, and what I found there blew my mind. Both Charleston and Columbia have amazing nightlife (better than every city of a comparable size I’ve been to, and most cities in general), and an emerging art scene. I came to visit a (not-so-old) friend, and wound up making a lot of new ones.
Above and below: my friend Jessica, who I lived with in San Francisco in 2010. She recently moved back to Columbia, SC.
I’ve also never shot more timelapse scenes of one area in as short a time as I did in Columbia and Charleston in one week. The weather barely cooperated with me in New Orleans, and I got almost completely rained out of DC, but while there were some pretty hardcore storms in South Carolina, not only did I (mostly) avoid getting completely rained on, but the weather put on an amazing show in all of the timelapse scenes I shot there.
All of the images in this post are shot from a single location with my A camera, while my B camera was shooting the timelapse at the very top. More photos after the jump.
In New Orleans, I spent a few hours wandering around between shooting timelapses. Again, I didn’t have time to pick music for these scenes, so think of it as an animated photo.
I rather liked the shapes of the shadow cast on the wall that this man on a ladder was making.
Joan of Arc
Above, a local artists’ tools. Below, the artist.
I love these old painted signs. Decades after being last panted, and even with a window cut into the wall long after, the advertisement is still visible.
Just getting caught up on the blog. Here is a timelapse I shot on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I didn’t have time to add titles and a sound track, but think of it as a “moving photo”.
And here are some still photos:
I’m posting things a bit out-of-order, but just pretend I’m not.
If you hadn’t noticed by now, I’m working my way across the South and up the East Coast, mostly by rail.
It’s my favorite way to travel. When I have gear to carry I drive, when I need to be somewhere quickly (or I’m crossing an ocean) I’ll fly. Otherwise, the train is the best way to go.
On the longer stretches, I’ll set up a whole mobile office at my seat — or spread out in the snack car — and be more productive than I could be at any static location. If I’m California, I often get distracted by social obligations (although calling them “obligations” would be lying as I get sick of working on the computer pretty quickly when there is stuff happening outside). If I’m in a foreign city, I want to explore, not sit on my computer.
Consequently, if I’m on a train for a whole day, or two, I have zero distractions other than making smalltalk with other passengers. More often than not in the rural South or Texas wilderness, I can’t even get cell phone service or internet access. I can usually blow through a 4-day editing backlog in a single day. After a few days of walking around a city, sitting at my computer on a train and doing the “boring stuff” on the way to the next spot is downright physically and mentally relaxing.
I also like watching the country roll by. Unlike a freeway, there usually isn’t a wall to block your view out the window. The photos I shoot from the window have a unique quality, due to the windows being tinted, filthy, and not being made of optical-quality glass. Most of the time the photos are horrible at best from a technical standpoint — and thus frequently useless commercially — but I’ve had several “from the train” photos do well in the stock libraries.
But that certain lo-fi retro quality they have… I like it.
Sometimes a crew member will turn a blind eye while I hang my camera out of one of the few windows that open, but I try not to push my luck.
Of course, shooting from the back window offers the second most interesting view on the whole train (the first being from the locomotive), so when I’m not working at the computer I can often be found watching the view from the last car, camera firmly in hand.
I shot this last night on the West Bank (which is actually South of the city, but whatever). This storm rolled in literally without warning… The weather went from 70 degrees and humid, partly cloudy, to pounding rain in under 15 minutes. At first, I threw my coat over the camera to protect it from what was initially light drizzle so I could at least attempt one shot of the lightning, but within a few minutes it was pouring so hard I frantically packed up and dashed for the safety of the car, which was a quarter-mile trek, over a levy and partially through bayou. By the time I got back to the car I was completely drenched (equipment was fine), and when I got back to the French Quarter, the storm had completely cleared and you could see the stars in the sky.
I didn’t realize it was striking downtown New Orleans until I got back and looked at it on the computer. Counting down the seconds from the flash is apparently not an accurate measure of distance.
Clouds glowing from lightning:
The bolt hitting the Central Business District:
The above photo cropped and zoomed in a bit:
I boarded a train in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon heading East, this will be the last time I’ll be in California for at least a few months.
The weather put on quite a performance as we headed through Palm Springs.
The weather always puts on the best performance when I have zero option of timelapsing it.
The sun set over the Salton Sea just before we crossed the state line into Nevada.
Continuing the industrial theme, I went out last night to the Port of Los Angeles with Mike and Harrison.
Every time I make my way down that way, I discover something new, or explore further down a direction I’d been before. Failing either of those, I at least shoot somewhere I’ve already in a completely new way, noticing details or angles I’d never noticed before.
This abandoned oil terminal (above) was completely covered with no-tresspassing signs, but the main gate was also unlocked and ajar, allowing me to get this shot. Some lights were still on, leading us to believe that venturing inside would be poor logic, so we moved on to other locations.
I spent a chunk of time exploring the idea of these un-light cranes being silhouetted by brightly light cranes in the background, glowing in the fog and melting into pastel colors in the black water below.
While out shooting in Wine Country over the weekend, I made a stop on the way back to my hotel in Benicia, an industrial city on the edge of the Bay Area that I keep coming back to.
There was a spot I had in mind that I saw the last time I was there with dozens of pipes of various sizes snaking along the contours of a hillside. When I went to scout it out, I discovered that since the last time I’d been through the area, a brand-new 10′ tall chain-link-topped fence had been erected where I was hoping to shoot.
Not to be deterred, I went back to a favorite spot of mine underneath the Benicia-Martinez bridge, and started hiking around that area.
I loved the way the shadows from this bridge came into focus on the water, blurred from the long exposure.
This is a Northbound Amtrak Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle. The 4-minute exposure was more than enough time to capture the entire length of the 14-car passenger train:
This is a dock used for unloading crude oil from tanker ships, or loading finished gasoline back onto them:
Here’s the underside of the Benicia-Martinez bridge. It’s a 5-minute exposure, the streaks in the sky are stars:
Here’s that oil terminal again. This is the base of the pipe system I was trying to shoot earlier in the night:
On the way back, I got lost and wound up in an abandoned warehouse district. It being almost 2am by the time I left and without the energy to keep shooting (it was cold, too), I decided to make a mental note to return the next time I was on the north-eastern edge of the Bay Area.
Following up on my other post about my travels to Lake Tahoe, I figured I’d post some photos from Tahoe that aren’t of the team working.
Here’s one of two timelapses I shot, this one in Sand Harbor State Park on the Nevada side:
And these are… well, the rest are from Sand Harbor too. I shot these with my other camera while the timelapse camera was doing it’s thing.