Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Seen on a Warm Summer's Evening... And a Question

Christmas in July? Seed pods on a red maple.

Yesterday's venue for walking was a stretch of trails in Rock Creek Park that borders Oregon Avenue NW and took in part of the Barnaby Woods neighborhood between Missouri, Utah, Nebraska, and Oregon Avenues. (I covered a lot of states in just two miles!) Along the way, I saw community gardening, U.S. Park Police horses, deer, cardinals (elusive little buggers. I must get a camera with a longer lens so I can take better pictures of these beautiful birds), sunsets, and fireflies (anyone have any experience photographing blinky butts? I want to do a timed exposure of their blinking mating habits, but thus far, have not succeed.) Here are yesterday's pictures. To see a few more, visit Standing Room Only.

Bench outside a community garden on Oregon Avenue NW

And now, here's a question for you with a little bit of a preface. I love my activity as an amateur photographer. I especially enjoy night photography. Last night, when I couldn't sleep, I sat in my home office looking out the window and enjoying a beautiful, nearly full moon on a clear, cloudless night. I wanted to grab my camera, get in the car, and spend an hour or so taking pictures at 1:30 a.m. As a woman in an urban setting who doesn't live in Georgetown--the only neighborhood in the city with a below average crime rate--I know it isn't prudent to be out alone in the wee hours of the morning for the sake of a good picture. And that irks me.

Horses grazing in a corral off of Oregon Avenue NW

So, here's the question for everyone. How do you keep spontaneity in your photography activities without jeopardizing your safety? I'm especially interested in hearing from women photographers living and shooting in urban settings, but all comments, regardless of gender or locale, are welcome.

Sunset over Rock Creek


Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 07/08

18 comments:

Virginia said...

I love your sunset. The color is great. To answer your question, I think I have been involved in a little risky business myself. My post today is of a brick wall in a less than stellar area of B'ham. Probably shouldn't have been there, but it was midday.That said, you need to be careful about being out at night alone, young lady!

Cowbark said...

Get a big dog!

Just kidding...I actually schedule night shooting dates with a friend of mine who loves photography as much as I do (and lucky for me doesn't have as much equipment as I do - which isn't much - so is usually hankering to get her hands on it...even if it means crazy hours or locations for a photo date!).

Maya said...

I agree with the others. Find a photography buddy. I've just joined several meetup groups though I haven't gone to any of the events yet.

I haven't gone out alone at night with camera in hand specifically to take photos. If I am out at night in a sketchy area, I'm usually looking tough and walking fast so no one bugs me. Though, if I felt no immediate danger lurking about, I'd probably stop to take a photo if I saw something good!

Per Stromsjo said...

I'm fortunate to be living in a town where safety isn't a major issue. Sure, things "happen" in Stockholm as well but not to the extent where I would let it limit my plans and actions. I'm particularly fond of night photography and have spent several nights out and about recently.

Mo said...

I love the bench in the park photo. I go out at night alone. (althought it is better if I can get someone to come with me) I just don't worry about it. Most people don't notice you at night as they are generally doing their own thing. I often get drunks ask me to take their photo. I do, then delete thwm later.

D.C. Confidential said...

Virginia: Thanks! Where to shoot photos and when is always a touchy subject for me. D.C. is considerably safer than it was 10 years ago, but I still think I have to be smart. It just irks me, as a woman. I'm sure men consider their safety when they're out about about photographing, but probably not to the same degree that women do. (I could be wrong, though, and welcome being disabused of this notion.)


Cowbark: I'd like to get a dog! I think you've got the ticket: find a friend to go shooting with.


Maya: Oddly, I feel totally safe at night down on the National Mall, but I'm a little sketchy about being out at night in an area less than 1/2 a mile from my home. There are too many teenagers wondering around after reasonable hours and I just don't want to be bothered with or by them.


Mo: Thanks! And you make a good point. Most folks who are out probably wouldn't really notice me, just like I'd probably totally miss them.


Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

D.C. Confidential said...

Per: I completely missed your comment. My apologies! I think, if I lived in the suburbs, I'd feel similarly safe(r). I've never really felt unsafe in the city, but there is a part of them that thinks going out alone at 2:00 in the morning to take pictures of the moon may not be the most prudent idea in this city. I think I should move to Stockholm or Copenhagen where the crime rates are lower!

Per Stromsjo said...

You'd be welcome. But hurry up, I'm afraid crime rates are going up so a sense of international "normality" (whatever that is) might be our destiny...

Maya said...

I don't care much for teenagers either. I feel nervous around them. Probably because I didn't like being around them when I was one and still don't quite trust them.

D.C. Confidential said...

Per: Crime rates create a sense of international normality?! That's crazy! There's nothing "normal" about crime. Still, I think Stockholm sounds lovely.


Maya: I never enjoyed being a teenager, either. In fact, I hated 13. As for today's teenagers, I honestly don't get them and many of them are mouthy little buggers who think they're entitled to every luxury under the sun. Oops. There I go again, ranting.

Maya said...

I think we agree on this. For the book club, we just read two Judy Blume books, Are You There God, It's Me Margaret and Then Again Maybe I Won't. Both brought me back to those years and how much I hated them. I certainly didn't relate to the main characters in many ways (though in one or two I did). I'm pretty sure Margaret was popular which I certainly was not. :-P

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: Yeah, the only years I was "popular" were the two years I played varsity tennis. Then suddenly, I was someone worth talking to. Whatever. Ironically, I could make friends with a rock (or so says my sister) and I'm known as hostest with the mostest among my friends, but at work the places I've worked in D.C. I'm the totally non-cool person. Working in this town has been like being in high school all over again! Clique-y and icky!

I guess that's the rub for me: I don't play the clique game. I like everyone.

Maya said...

Me too. Not the best thing in the corporate world! I tend to treat everyone the same.

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: Or in non-profits. Or in government. Or in lobbying/law firms. (Can you tell what's on my resume?) And it's so unnecessary.

I've acquired a greater appreciation for two facts in business/work: The Peter Principle (In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence) and fear and insecurity are what dominate and motivate the vast majority of employees and employers. It's really too bad. And, to repeat myself, so unnecessary.

So, I have a reading recommendation: The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn't by Robert Sutton. Good book with some good tips in it.

And, on a completely unrelated note, have you seen PostSecret auf Deutsch?

Maya said...

I see you have broad base of experience to inform your ideas! I have the large non-profit down...

I'll have to check out that book!

No, I don't believe I've seen that one. I couldn't find it at imdb.

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: Re: PostSecret, I should have clarified that PS auf Deutsch is a spin-off of the original PostSecret site. You can check out both here:

http://postsecret.blogspot.com

http://www.postsecretdeutsch.de/

Maya said...

I love that site! I just spent quite awhile reading...

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: Isn't the one in German fascinating? I like the original site, but I'm gravitating more and more to the German because the perspective on life is a bit different while the secrets are universal. Glad you enjoyed that.