I decided to take the camera into downtown once again yesterday. While walking down Fayetteville Street I noticed that the south end of the street had been blocked off. I came to realize that I had completely forgotten that Downtown Raleigh is currently hosting Oak City 7 (a free concert) every Thursday until the end of August. Admittedly I was immediately distracted from my original reasoning for being down there.
I decided to stick around and check out the event. The usual mix of food and drink trucks, vendor tents, and other random assortment of merchants were all present. I grabbed a small bite to eat (a jerk chicken tortilla, which was pretty darn good) and a choice beverage, sat down and waited for sound checks for the first band to finish.
After listening to the first three bands I mustered the motivation to fulfill the original reason that I had embarked into downtown in the first place. With the sunset quickly setting I decided to turn my attention from the streets to the skyline and thus hopped in the car and found my vantage point.
Here in the Raleigh, NC area it has rained at least briefly everyday for two weeks with exception of one day. Fortunately, the Fourth of July was only a light shower, however this was not enough to curb my need to get behind the lens. Thus, yesterday after I finished up at the office with disregard to the impending scattered showers and thunderstorms I grabbed my gear and went exploring.
Admittedly these rainy seasons are perfect for focusing on shooting personal projects or simply working on various techniques, but sometimes you just want to get out there.
I first set my sights on a newly renovated park in the downtown area. I was concerned that it would be a wasted trip considering the site in proximity to the, ummm… lesser economically privileged region it was located near. However, I had heard that you could see the skyline from the carousel located in the park so I decided to give it a shot anyway. Unfortunately, when I arrived one of the rain showers had just arrived, but my stubbornness prevailed and it didn’t take long to wait it out. Sadly, my original feeling was correct as well as the available view of the skyline was quite limited due to trees.
Bound and determined to at least make one exposure I hopped back in the car and went exploring. It was not more than a few miles down the road that I noticed a side road going up a sizable hill. Little did I know that this was the Dix Hill home to the Dorothea Dix State Hospital. I vaguely recall reading something about an attempt last year to turn this space into a new park within the downtown area as I do not believe much of the grounds are still in use. And now I know why! This hospital has without question one of the best views of the skyline.
Amongst the thousands that attended the festivities in Downtown Raleigh I made my way to the Boylan bridge to meetup with a local photography group. This place is by far the best perspective of the downtown skyline and conveniently so the fireworks as well. We arrived more than 3 hours early to make sure that we had first dibs for the prime composition, relax and mingle.
There was no mistaking what we were all there for…
As the time passed and the sun dropped there was more conversation about which technique, exposure settings, etc people were planning on using.
Being that I’ve shot this scene before (minus the fireworks) I had a pretty decent idea about where the fireworks would break the skyline I had a good mental image of what I was looking for. With my composition set and my shirt off so that I could cover the lens in between bursts for a single exposure, I was ready.