OK, so it sounds weird. Who on Earth photographs their main road near their house? Well, I do.
I live on a road that is quite busy in Spondon. It’s a through road to several significant storage facilities and larger towns about 5 miles north east. So in the day, it gets heavy vehicles passing through and lots of cars.
However, by night, it is remarkably quiet. And, this time last year, it was not only resurfaced, but effectively rebuilt! The council dug down about 2 metres and re-made it and then resurfaced it with new tarmac. So it now has a nice, black shiny surface. In addition, the street lights have not been replaced (and I;m hoping they won’t be) with these newer really bright street lights. They are still the older orange ones. So they make for quite a nice evening lighting, photographically speaking.
For the last year or so, whenever I have walked to the nearby shops with my young aspiring photographer of a son, especially in the rain or after it had rained, I often have said “One day I’ll come out here late at night and photograph this road because I’m confident it will make a great photo”. Well a few weeks ago, after it had been raining and there was s subtle fragrance of moisture in the air, I decided I’d give it a try.
And, my kids wanted to join me, strangely enough. Although to be fair their presence perhaps avoided anyone ringing the police because it looked quite dodgy!
So I loaded the Hasselblad with some Kodak TMAX 100 and attached the 150mm f4 lens, and grabbed the tripod and cable release. It was a Saturday night, and, annoyingly, the traffic was heavier than it is usually at 21:30 but I guess it was taxis and so on taking people out for drinks. So getting 20+ second exposures was more than a challenge than I had anticipated. But, in photography as in life, perseverance paid off. I’d got the vision in my mind as to what I wanted to do, and I’d set the lens to about f16 to get some starbursts on the street lights, so I new I’d need at least 15 seconds or thereabouts without any oncoming cars. Or rear-coming cars for that matter! Several shots got wasted as cars suddenly seemed to appear out of nowhere. But eventually, I managed to get the shot shown above, which was a 20 (or maybe 25) second exposure, developed in Ilfords DD-X developer for about 12 minutes.
I rather like the eerily calm, and the fact that it has a look of the Victorian road still. Many of the houses along it are Victorian and although some more modern houses have been built between them, they are not immediately obvious in the photograph. And the street lights, although clearly electric, still emit a old fashioned glow similar to how the lamps of Victorian times might have looked.
What do you think? Do you have similar shots to share? Comments below.