Sunday, March 18, 2007
Scene from a diner
Adelaide Street: Boulevard of broken dreams?
London, Ontario, March 2007 [Click to enlarge]
Last Sunday, I had some time to kill while the kids were attending an evening program. I could have driven home, but by the time I got there, I would have had about half an hour before getting back in the car to drive back. The eco-friendly angel on my left shoulder said I should save some carbon emissions by not making two trips. The photographer angel on my right shoulder said I should use the free time to take some pictures. They were both right, so pictures it would be. Since the sun was setting as I dropped the munchkins off, I took the tripod, too.
This is a 30-second exposure taken from across Adelaide Street. I was trying to get some long exposures of passing traffic (more in another entry) when I noticed the diner-ish glow coming from the Wendy's across the street. Although I do not, as a rule, shoot strangers' faces, I knew the long exposure and distance would render them unrecognizable. So I trained the lens on the restaurant windows and hoped that no one would look way across the four-lane road and notice the strange guy in a trench coat with a tripod-mounted camera.
I chickened out after only one exposure, but it seems to have been spot on. I like it because there are four mini-scenes going on in this one picture. I wonder what each person is thinking, feeling or saying. I wonder what brings four sets of strangers - alone or in groups - to a Wendy's at 8:25 on a Sunday night. I wonder how many other slices of everyday life go unnoticed because no one thinks they're worth capturing.
In the end, this picture reminds me that no matter how dark and bleak things are on one side of the street, there's always a friendly glow somewhere nearby that offers sanctuary. It's up to us to turn ourselves in the right direction.
Your turn: Do you have any scenes from a diner in your own personal storybook? If so, I'd be honored if you'd share one.
Quick technical comment: If you click on the image to enlarge it, you'll notice ghostly trails in front of the brick from at least one passing car. This is what I love about long exposure nighttime shooting: you never quite know what you're going to get (shades of Forrest Gump, actually.) And even if you preview it on the camera, the image really only comes alive once you've got it displayed on a full-sized screen back home. I love a good surprise.