Exit, Yellow Doors, Blue Windows. Mare Island Naval Ship Yard, Vallejo, California. November 7, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Exit sign above doors to outside area illuminated by dusk light
After meeting up with my fellow night photographers (associated with The Nocturnes, the long-standing San Francisco night photography community) to share photographs and pizza, we all got ready to head out into the night as darkness came on. After the social time I began to get myself into the rather different frame of mind necessary to photographing this subject. Before I even left the building I began to look around inside, and I decided to walk slowly into some corners of this facility that I had not looked at before. As I did I found myself in a bit of a dead-end spot where this door, lit by indoor artificial lighting, let to the developing twilight on the other side.
I associate a number of things with photographing at night. Of course, subjects often take on a very different appearance at night, and rather prosaic subjects can acquire a feeling of mystery. In practical terms, I’m absolutely fascinated by this world that is illuminated by lighting that is far more varied than what we typically see in daylight. Rather that more or less one kind of lighting, there could be many — the blues of twilight, the daylight-like color balance of moonlight, the wild colors of artificial light from tungsten, sodium vapor, fluorescent and other kinds of light. But beyond all of that, I associate the sense of profound stillness and quite with this kind of photography, where I frequently stand alone in dark and quiet places for many minutes as I wait for exposures to complete.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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