Street Diary: Twilight Hour

Yesterday was weird. I woke up around four in the morning and spontaneously decided to take photographs of the Inner Harbor during sunrise.  I packed my digital camera, the  Leica, the Yashica. cable releases, and a tripod then set off.

A photo posted by Patrick (@surfingsalmon) on

It was more than cold outside that morning.  I set up the medium format camera on a tripod with cable release and proceeded to take a few night photographs before the Twilight hour.  I looked up film reciprocity charts and shot away in bulb exposure.  I only struck me after the sun rose that I was shooting Kodak Ektar in the camera.  Ektar provides great saturated colors, almost Ektachrome-like, but has a very poor exposure latitude.  I'm hoping I did a good job metering...  Changing rolls in frigid air was quite irksome.  All the random fine, subliminal details that it takes to properly change a roll of film were thrown out the door.  To top it off, this is only the third time I've loaded a 120 roll.

  A photo posted by Patrick (@surfingsalmon) on

I felt I took a lot of cool frames.  After the sun rose over the horizon, it was significantly easier to meter exposure.  I feel more confident that those shots will turn out fantastic.

Here's where the morning turned weird:

I returned to my car and tried to unlock it.  The thought hit me -- I left the keys in the trunk!  I tried to stay calm and figure out what to do.  The initial effort was futile and I broke down.  The needle on the camel's back was that my phone conveniently died on me.  There was 40% charge left, but the frigid temperatures harshly affected the battery.

I stood by my car on a quiet street, cold and without contact to the outside world.

I reasoned that the only solution was to call and pay a locksmith to unlock my car.  The next problem was finding a means of contacting one!  I tried approaching many folk, but they appeared too busy or told me they were in a rush.  Finally, a woman who worked on the same block as I was parked was willing to donate a moment of her time to hear my situation.  She called a locksmith, and within moments he was en route.

It felt as if eternities passed waiting for the locksmith.  Every limb of my body was cold -- my dexterity was at least halved.  The nice woman down the street, offered me a steaming hot cup of a coffee.  That was really a morale boost for me.  I felt as if there good people really do exist in reality.  Being turned down by all the busy people walking by, beforehand, made me feel that my existence wasn't meaningful -- I wasn't an important enough factor in the eyes of strangers.

The locksmith eventually came and worked his magic.  I was fairly interested in his technique to unlock my car.  It started off with a plastic wedge in between the door and door frame.  Afterwards, he placed a pump-like device (similar to like getting your blood pressure checked) in the small crack formed via the wedge.  A few pumps widened that gap enough so the locksmith could fit this slim, claw-like device through the door.  The claw made its way to passenger-side pillar-shaped lock, took hold, and unlocked the car.  The alarm started to blare, and I ran to the trunk and unlocked my vehicle.

I've never appreciated a car's heater more in my life.