Saturday, January 22, 2011

Other People's Cities are Interesting

Pasadena City Hall, Pasadena, California

I took this a couple of years ago when I went to visit an old buddy of mine. The funny thing is, if I lived there, this wouldn't have been such an interesting shot... I would know in my head that city hall is very scenic, but if I lived there, I think I would have struggled to see if as photo worthy. During that trip, I stumbled across two very interesting public art installations, and commented to an acquaintance how much I loved Southern California because of all of the interesting things that go on down there. His answer? He struggled to find something interesting to shoot in a town he had lived in all his life. Something for me to remember... Vancouver is a tourist town, after all, and all of those folks from other parts of the world with cameras around their necks can't be wrong.

Which is not to say that I couldn't have shot something like this back home. I've got a few that are similar, but our architectural history is different (in fact, it's arguable if we have any history at all, Vancouver is such a young city.) The other thing that would be difficult to replicate is the quality of light. This shot has a certain "SoCal-ness" to it, and it has to do with the quality of the light in the late afternoon San Gabriel valley air. If you think that's a nice way of say that the air is more polluted, you're right. But it does make for a different colour balance experience.

Fans of the X-Files would have experienced the same thing. In the first part of the series, which was shot in Vancouver, outdoor scenes have a slightly different feel to them than the scenes shot later in the series when production moved to California. Well, yes, they took advantage of more desert scenery with the move , but discounting that, what's in the air influences how the light looks, and opens up new avenues when photographing on holidays.

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