Steveston is a historic place on the outskirts of Metro Vancouver that my friend Jo and I stayed at (and spent the evening photographing) on our trip to the August used camera sale in Richmond.
We were lucky to be able to book lodging at The Steveston Hotel, a landmark for the village built in1895.
The last time I visited Steveston must have been about 20 years ago. Other than the marina and the fishermen that sold their fresh catch there wasn’t much. My wife Linda and I had arrived on a cool December day with our big large format 4X5 inch film cameras. However, as we set up it started to snow a very wet windy snow that forced us to wipe off our cameras and leave.
We had parked in front of the Steveston Hotel and hoped to get a room, but it was as every time I have checked over the years since then, full with no vacancy. I didn’t think I could get a room this time either. But as I wrote, we were lucky this time.
Steveston is filled with great places to eat. We chose to get delicious Greek seafood take-out so we could sit out on the boardwalk to enjoy the ocean as the sun went down.
The waterfront walk was perfect for out-of-town photographers like Jo and I for wandering after dark to make long exposures of the night-lights. Long exposure photographs are just plain fun. All one needs is a camera and tripod. Oh, and an off camera release…that I inconveniently forgot. The off camera release allows one to not only reduce camera shake, but makes it possible to use exposures longer than 30 seconds.
Because we didn’t have the off-camera releases we were forced to use the self timer to stop the shake and struggle to get interesting lighting effects with only 30 seconds.
So – set the shutter speed at 30 second, then keep changing the aperture depending on how bright one wants the scene.
Jo was using a 16-35mm and I had, as usual, my 24-70mm lens. With long exposures we could brighten up the boat’s details and soften the moving water. Some times even lighten the dark sky to blue.
I also set up my tripod in an alley between brightly lit shops with people walking around that would, as soon as they saw the camera say, “Oh, sorry” and quickly dart to the side so as not to ruin my shot. I would laugh and tell them they were just fine. After all a thirty second exposure is to slow to catch most movements and even if someone stops they were little more than a dark blur on the worn, wood surface of the walkway.
We were out till a bit after 10pm and all though most visitors had gone home there was no shortage of loud revellers. Tonight as I sit beside the window of my room that looks out on the street, boardwalk and ocean I can hear the odd loud voice happily leaving the bar downstairs and making his or her way to their car. (I am sure there is a designated driver)
Its’ now 11PM and the street is empty except for what looks like a mom and her two children taking their furry white dog for a last walk on this pleasant cool evening. I’m not really tired and am enjoying looking out on the quiet village as I write. I’ll get up in the morning; enjoy a cup of coffee and a bagel in the cafe downstairs. Then Jo will join me and we will finish the morning walking with our cameras in the salty, seagull filled air before making the drive over the mountain highway home.
It is always fun to make some time for another Photographer’s adventure. With all the fires and the middle of the night evacuation we went through I have been a bit on edge and getting away to photograph a different environment is more than any doctor could recommend for a frustrated soul.