Saturday night my photography class took a field trip to Fremont Street. A dozen of us gathered under the dome at Plaza, cameras and tripods in hand. What a ghost town that place was, it's kinda eery during construction. I expect the renovations will breathe new life into the joint, but I digress.
Our first task was to snap photos of the Golden Gate by shooting at lowest ISO and adjusting the white balance to daylight.
Our first assignment was to shoot the "Red Barn" and I thought I had my shot locked up, but my instructor quickly pointed out that the neon was overexposed. I didn't even notice my huge oversight. I was completely blind to it on the display. I had to try again.
After adjusting my exposure compensation I was able to better expose the neon. Downside was that a few bums took up residence and I couldn't duplicate my shot. I worked around them the best I could.
By the way, everyone was interested in what we were doing; I had 5 people come up to me alone. A dozen people with cameras on tripods draws a lot of attention. I also had these clowns jump in and model for me. "Work it."
The next assignment was to get a shot of "The Flame" sign from the top of the flame all the way to the bottom of the arrow and have every tube of neon lit.
I did it, but I'm really disappointed with its sharpness.
Our last assignment was to shoot "the Milkman" with the neon properly exposed and show that even though it glows bright red it is also painted white.
My camera doesn't have much for flash compensation so I did the best I could. I was so focused on that I didn't pay much attention to composition. Bummer.
We were free to shoot whatever after that...
Although, I'm not terribly proud of my shots from this outing, I took a lot away from the experience. As it turns out shooting at night took me out of my element. I had never used a tripod before and I quickly learned I much prefer to shoot on foot. Night shots, at least for me, require a different thought process and skill set to achieve the ideal shot. There is a definite learning curve to this photography thing after all. I got my money's worth out of this class on this field trip.