Spending a few nights in Denver afforded me the opportunity for some street photography along the 16Th Street Mall and Lodo District.
Living in rural Colorado, I find myself immediately attracted to the cityscape and all the elements that visually define an urban area: rich colors, neon lights, elegant buildings, and yes even the emptiness of great paved spaces and dark alleys. The bars and restaurants draw me in and eventually my senses calm down and as I return to the street, my lens comes back around to focus on the people of this urban landscape and the lives that they live…so different from my own.
I shot these images on my first night out, somewhere between a warm craft of Saki and the comfort of my room at the Brown Palace- using only a 20mm prime lens-ideal for street photography.
Do you find it easiest to shoot images when you first set eyes on a place, while the surrounding environment is still visually arousing all of your senses? A frame by frame visual exploration-documenting with every click of the shutter, unsure whether any of it will ever appear quite the same again.
A number of years back I took a workshop with photographer Dave Black, who is a dedicated artist in the technical process of Light Painting. This is a technique that requires manipulating the scene with creative lighting sources as a long exposure is produced.
The process can be as simple as setting up a tripod and using a basic flashlight to illuminate the scene, the “scene” can be as simple as a still life on your kitchen table, or expanded to an entire landscape.
Dave’s own work is impressive and covers everything from classic western cowboy scenes to an impressive project in which he collaborated with numerous National Geographic photographers to produce varied images from Arlington Cemetery. Dave’s approach to this project kept him working through the night with assistants and a large array of portable light sources.
This image was my first, and to date, my last attempt at Light Painting. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but rather the technique is a style in itself removed from my own journalistic direction. This photograph was produced by setting up a Nikon D80 on Bulb, during a full moon. I tripped the shutter using a remote cable and then proceeded to “paint” light onto the walls of this Anasazi Ruin before tripping off the shutter. I then used a high contrast sepia to brighten the painted areas of the scene during post production.
The possibilities of this process are almost endless, and I certainly had a great time giving it a try- so strap on your head lamp, bring out some of your heavy flashlights, and perhaps a strobe or two with warming gels, and get creative!
Once a year the Southern Ute Indian Tribe goes all out on their Tribal Fair and Powwow held in Ignacio, Colorado. The subsequent Drum Newspaper is equally impressive in content, as we run our largest edition of the year to press.
Post Hard Core: Burning Daylight brings down the house at Gator’s Lounge en route to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Check out the sounds of Burning Daylight and thier latest studio album, Knife Fight Ethic right HERE!
The day begins early in the Powwow arena, relatives honor each other with Gourd Dancing. Grand entry brings the ceremony to life with vibrant colors and movement, the sun sets and the sky darkens. The night air is cool from rain and full of sound; the drums can be heard from a long distance. I find myself slipping in and out of the darkness, waiting for the right moment; light and composition are factoring into my every thought. I am an outsider in this ceremony. I try to be unobtrusive, respectful, and trustworthy. I work a scene and then move on, searching the light for something that will tell this story and perhaps even evoke emotion. A single image becoming something of beauty and importance, that is what I am striving for as my mind races forward. I can feel the tiredness creeping into my body and mind, but the drums keep me going. I ask a man for his portrait, beautiful!…thank you I say and move on. The moon is still young, and the sky an inky black. Large stadium lights bath the edges of the arena, the Ceremony continues.
View the “night time” gallery at FedoraPhoto…click HERE to enter the main website.
Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2008. All Rights reserved.
This photograph was taken by my cousin Ben Shockley shortly after I had traded my Nikon for Corona and camp stove. I enjoy the feeling of this image that is very “Surreal”. Ben shot this image off a tripod, and the extra long exposure not only added the motion but also the vibrant colors that in my mind really make this image stand out! Ben’s use of our headlamps and a strong firelight also added to the success of the image. Be sure to keep an eye on Ben’s Work as he continues to develop his photographic style.
Ben’s photojournalism blog is linked HERE