The School Year Begins!!!

So, the long summer vacation came to a grinding halt this past week and with it my ability to just go out and shoot on a whim.  In September, I have to be into school before the blue hour gives way to brilliant sunrise so there is no shooting on the way into school.  That will have to wait until November, when Daylight Saving Time gives way to standard time.  By the time the school day is done, I am so thoroughly exhausted that going out to shoot is one of the last things on my mind,.  Staging a mass uprising in Liechtenstein is somewhere below that on my list of thoughts but not too far.

Which leaves the weekends.

So yesterday, Saturday, September the 8th, my cat Jacky-Jack woke me at 4:30.  I would usually feed him and my other cat, Priya-Bean and then go back to bed for another few hours.  But this morning I decided to check the SkyFire plugin for The Photographer's Ephemeris  app and it showed a beautiful sunrise...way north of the mid-Hudson Valley where I live.  OK, no good.  So I checked sunsetwx.com and, to my surprise, it showed a brilliant sunrise forecast for my area.  So I figured it would be worth going out to capture it but not going far.

I slid into sweatpants and a sweatshirt, grabbed my camera bag and headed out.  I drove down Fostertown Road, briefly being stymied by the incredibly long light where it intersects with Rt. 9W and then turned right, then left to Balmville Road.  There I drove across the bridge over Interstate 84 and parked my car on the little shoulder at the south end of the bridge.  My car got a lot of suspicious looks as I was taking my photos as it is a rawthah exclusive neighborhood and my car looks like a dog turd on a bar of gold on that stretch of road.

I gathered my equipment and headed over to the bridge.  It has no ten-foot-tall fence sealing it in from ne'er-do-wells intent on casting objects down onto the highway below.  That makes this bridge unique in the area as it gives one the opportunity to do light trails that would be impossible on pretty much any other bridge.  So I set up my Feisol Tournament tripod, set my Fuji X-T2 with the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens on the Acratech ballhead, used my phone's built-in flashlight to aid in plugging in the Vello remote cable (my Canon one, along with the lens cap to this lens have gone missing since my last shoot) and set up my composition.

I would usually put myself in the middle of the divided highway but there is serious construction on I-84.  They are rebuilding the bridge over Rt. 9W about half a mile further down the highway above which I stood.  The traffic in the eastbound late is therefore diverted off to the right and therefore I set up over the westbound lane and composed the photo thusly.  I checked my phone because I can't wear a watch.  Like I don't wear ties because I can't stand to have anything touching near my neck, watches strangle my wrist.  It's a thing.  So I checked my phone.  5:50, still 40 minutes from sunrise.  So I stood there and took a shot every five minutes or so as the light to the east imperceptibly brightened.

A pickup truck passed behind me and then stopped.  And then backed up.  A window rolled down.  So I turned to the gentleman in the truck who wore a uniform of some kind with an American flag patch on his right shoulder.  He asked me if I had permission to be there.  I was standing on a public sidewalk so I was flummoxed...why would I need permission to be standing on a bridge on a public sidewalk?  But he assured me I needed the permission of the Bridge Authority to be standing there.  He said he could call and ask for me and then thought better and told me he'd just forget he saw me there.  He left.  I was still perplexed.

The light to the east got brighter and brighter but it became quickly apparent that there would be no sunrise colors.  So I snapped off my final shot, at f/10, 60 seconds to get the light trails and ISO 200, which is the base ISO of my camera.  The Fuji X-T3 will have a base ISO of 160, apparently.

180908 Light Trails I84.jpg

I then packed up my gear and went back to my car as someone in a ritzy SUV gave my crappy car the stinkeye.  I figured I was not welcome in this neighborhood and so I would cease my interlopery activities.  That was the only photo I got this particular morning and the weather is going south quickly these next few days so I will focus on updating the firmware and restoring my custom settings on my Fuji X-T2.  I need focus stacking to photograph the model train layout at my dad's house that we will be dismantling and selling over the upcoming year.