The Amber Lights
This beauty salon–I keep coming back to it, I suppose because it looks so lonely and stoic on its expanse of asphalt. I wanted to capture the recessed lighting in the front eaves, but about a week ago somebody turned them off. Or they burned out. Still, I like the reflections in the window.
The people in the coffee booth have seen me parking in front of this little building multiple times a week, and probably wonder what I’m up to.
Warmth: December 10, 2016
Armed with a whole day’s watching of YouTube tutorials, I drove out at first light determined to master the art of tack-sharp focusing with my new Sony A6000, once and for all. I was headed for the Flake Board wood products plant on the west side of town, to take pictures of its dramatic smokestack and complex buildings. The only accessible vantage point was from inside the parking lot of Garten Recycling, on the other side of the railroad tracks. Surprised that office lights were on at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, I pulled in and parked as casually as I could.
Dozens of shots later I headed back to my car, but not before taking one last picture–the trailer piled with insulation blankets. A guy came out of the recycling office and asked if everything was okay. I told him I’d been wanting photos of the smokestack, and I hoped it was all right if I used their parking lot to shoot from. I assured him I wasn’t from the government, or a law firm, and we laughed a little.
Not one of the smokestack pictures came out, despite “focus peaking” and “focus magnifying” and a handful of other tricks I learned yesterday. And the trailer is just barely in focus. It turned out, however, to be the most interesting shot of the bunch.
I had no idea my visual aesthetic was influenced by the album cover art of my youth, until just this week someone mused that this picture of my office looked a little like a photograph from Pink Floyd’s album Wish You Were Here. Like so many other iconic albums of the seventies, this Pink Floyd record came in a sleeve designed by a company called Hipgnosis.
Now, looking through their work, I have no doubt they’re a big part of the submerged architecture of my own vision.