The mirrored, geodesic dome of Science World at the end of False Creek in Vancouver makes is a perfect location for a last light photograph. (John Enman photo)

The mirrored, geodesic dome of Science World at the end of False Creek in Vancouver makes is a perfect location for a last light photograph. (John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Last light photography has its rewards

“Hurry up, we have to get to the science center while there is still light,” said Jo McAvany as we were finishing a scrumptious dinner at Uncle Willy’s Buffet in downtown Vancouver. Willy’s was a real treat.

It has become almost impossible to find a buffet that isn’t Chinese. Don’t get me wrong – I do like to eat at Chinese buffets, but here in British Columbia they all seem to be the same. There is rarely a menu change, no matter where they are located. Uncle Willy’s menu was totally different and that was fun.

Jo’s husband and two children had come to Richmond with us when we attended another used camera sale. And while Jo and I spent the day in a hall packed with people and cameras her family enjoyed our hotel’s swimming pool and nearby arcade.

After the camera sale we all drove to downtown Vancouver for supper at Willy’s and, of course, some early evening photography along False Creek at the Vancouver Science Center.

Our goal was to catch the last daylight that would illuminate Science World’s giant, mirrored, geodesic dome that’s located at the end of False Creek. That unique structure is one of Jo and mine’s favourite Vancouver photo subjects. I have photographed it in the morning, the mid-day light, when it was illuminated at night, and now in the last afternoon glow in the month of June.

We both had our tripods, Jo was using a 14-24mm and I had my trusty 24-70mm. We wandered along the waterfront looking for a location with water in the foreground and where the light would illuminate Science World before disappearing.

As luck would have it there were several white sailboats moored in the ocean that showed little movement and there were lots of white clouds in the sky. My exposure was ISO 64 and f/8 for 5 seconds for the final shots.

For night shots I usually like to wait until the building lights are on and the sky gets that cold blue light. I like photographing the “big city.” But this time we wanted sky, clouds and building details with the afternoon glow. It’s always the light that makes the image interesting, even with tightly cropped street photos. I am never in a hurry. Jumping out of the car, point and shooting isn’t my style, and other than catching the light, architectural subjects don’t demand me to rush.

We packed up and headed back to the hotel as soon as the light went down. Jo’s husband, Shaun, was wonderfully patient with us, sitting watching his children run up and down the promenade. However, when it got dark her kids were finally tired and it was time to go.

I must admit, after an early morning of packing photo gear into the sale hall at 7:30 a.m. and a day of standing I was tired too.

There will be another trip to Vancouver soon, as I am thinking sometime in July we might go back to photograph the early morning and late evening light on the cobble stoned street in historic Gastown.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week.

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