Night Photography Meetup on Mare Island
Not too long ago I was on Mare Island in Vallejo with 12 others from the Bay Area Night Photography Meetup group. What a fascinating place that is! It was once a naval shipyard. Currently you can find old buildings and cranes no longer in use, buildings converted to warehouses, a museum, some older beautiful homes (used to be for the officers, no doubt), new homes built to look like they were part of the old, an elementary school, a lot of open space, a golf course, an old cemetary, unused train tracks, and so much more. I could go back every day for a month and discover new things. The building above is the museum and was holding a special event that night. This was taken at twilight but with the longer exposure it looks like daytime.
Corrugated building on Mare Island
Nature takes over
We started off exploring some during the day, then met back at the museum to compare notes and maybe head somewhere to catch the sunset. I had a ball exploring the old buildings and can’t wait to return. The above was an especially interesting steel hut. I can’t imagine its use. I also loved seeing the areas where nature was clearly taking over. In other areas, new homes had been built. I came across some old homes that had been moved to a new location and were still up on wheels. Touro University has 40 acres on Mare Island. The whole island is a mixture of old and new.
A flock of pigeons taking off together
Exploring further I came to the emptier side of the island. The sun was getting low in the sky when I caught these pigeons taking off in unison.
Mare Island buildings in early evening
After the sun goes down is when it’s really fun to explore and see what you can catch with the camera. Colors seem to be more saturated when shot with a longer exposure. Buildings are odd colors from the varieties of lights. Shadows are deeper.
Light painting the tracks red
At one point I tried a little light painting. I liked the reflected light on the railroad tracks so I tried to make it stand out more with my red flashlight. Of course, what really showed up was the light of the flashlight, but I liked the result. The exposure above was a little over a minute long.
As I headed back to the museum and my car I was gazing up at the structure overhead and did exactly what I had tried so hard not to do – I tripped on a curb and went down with the camera. My new camera now has a definite mark on it, so I know it’s really mine. Other than that I don’t think either of us were hurt. (Maybe my pride was a bit.)
Then I spent quite a while in front of this gate trying to get a good shot of the shadows. Most of the time I had to wait for a pickup truck to move. He was sitting opposite me with his headlights on, probably waiting for a friend. I wonder if he wondered what the heck I was doing just standing there as I wondered what the heck he was doing just sitting there at the stop sign. It must have been 10 to 15 minutes before he finally moved on and then I was able to get back to shooting. This is the shot I like the best. Overall, it was a fun evening and I was pretty happy with some of the pictures I came home with.