Alleys & Ruins no. 97, NOW (2007, Los Angeles, CA, 1:30am)

Alleys & Ruins no. 97, NOW (2007, Los Angeles, CA, 1:30am)

 

Planning my first night venture into the bowels of L.A., I decide I want two people with me, as opposed to my regular one. When these contacts cancel at the last minute, I’m left to explore alone.Telling myself I’ll just look and not shoot, this plan quickly dies when I find this bridge, just east of downtown.A group is huddled under it when I first arrive, so I decide to return. An hour later I come back and set up, only to find I have to retreat again when a gang sees me, down the tracks, and starts heading my way. But there is just no way I’m going home without this image on film. I return once more, 30 minutes later and set up again. I do my light readings and start an exposure. My standard procedure, in order to compress time and get out fast, is to begin the long exposure and only then ponder whether I want to add my own lighting. I quickly see there is no shot unless I’m very active during the 15-minute exposure.I pull out a flash and get my gels ready, but before I can start my lighting, a train rolls by and stops right in front of me, and then stays put. I start cursing, and looking around nervously - I alternate between pacing, looking for danger, and thinking about how I'll light this scene. After what seems like an eternity, the train picks up again and slowly rolls its way out of my frame.I quickly get back to work. I start the exposure and move in with my lights, adding blue light under the bridge, then switching to a warm filter. At the end, I’m running around half-crazed, firing many bursts, especially on the pillars. In my adrenaline fury, I trip and land face first in the rubble, eating a mouthful of dust, while my flash slams into the ground. I jump up... Luckily the flash still works. I finish my lighting and throw the gear in the van, thrilled and anxious to see the results.

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