Locked in the Parking Garage

An Atlanta photographer's imaginative capture of Grady Hospital near the 85/75 connectorGrady Hospital in downtown Atlanta

Downtown Photography Fun

Whew! I finally got out to get some photos on Friday. It felt so good to get out with my camera.

Between having Covid in December, the holidays, the weather, and getting sick again in January, I haven't been out to shoot in far too long. When my friend Sabrina asked if I wanted to get out and get some city shots and long exposures, I was more than ready. 

I had a place in mind that I'd checked out over a year ago but I hadn't had a chance to return when the light was good at sunrise or sunset. I got a little turned around looking for the spot. There are so many one-way streets downtown that once I'm turned around, it's not always as easy as I'd like to get back to where I want to be. 

Thankfully, we found the right garage and there was no special permit necessary to park there. All you needed was a credit card, of course! I'd say the $10 was worth it to get a nice view for golden hour. 

We drove to the top of the garage and the view was great, except for one building that made it hard to get a perfect shot of the Capitol. I was hoping for a few more clouds in the sky for some texture but the temperature was perfect so I wasn't complaining. The last time I stood on top of that parking garage, I was so cold I couldn't feel my fingers and ended up not staying for golden hour. 

This time it was beautiful out, and as the sun began to set, the sky turned an incredibly saturated orange and yellow. I managed to get a decent photo of the Capitol, despite the building that was partially in my way. A Capitol policeman patrolling the area stopped by and for a minute I thought we were getting kicked out, but he was just making sure we were okay which was nice.

We were especially glad he was around later when we were trying to leave. A woman was parked in front of what looked like the incoming gate and we couldn't get past her. All the metal gates and bars were down, and we thought we were locked in the garage. 

Right about then, the policeman showed up again. He got out and spoke with the woman who seemed confused. I think she thought she was stuck too but the policeman showed up before we had a chance to get out and ask.

Once she moved her car, we were able to get to the exit and when we got close enough, the gate went up and the metal door opened - whew. 

An Atlanta photographer captures the Capitol at sunset

Long Exposures and Photo Stacking

The photo of Grady Hospital with the freeway off to the side is a composite of about four different photos. I opened the photos as layers in Photoshop to edit them together. 

I took one super dark exposure so that the parking lot lights weren't blown out. If you want nice starbursts around your lights at night, be sure to use at least an F8. Then I took a bunch of different long exposures to get some light trails from the traffic and to get the lighting right. 

When I opened the photos as layers in Photoshop, the first thing I did was to auto-align the layers. They were aligned pretty well already since I used a tripod but Photoshop lines the photos up perfectly when you use the auto-align feature. 

I put a black mask on each layer so nothing was showing through. Then I used the paintbrush and painted white on the areas that I wanted to show in the final photo. I didn't do a lot with the paintbrush. I just wanted to bring in a few more light trails on the freeway. 

Lastly, I couldn't help myself and went for the whimsical touch with the stars in the sky. 

I like the way this one came out, but I haven't had time to get it on the website yet. 

I hope you have a great rest of your week and a fun weekend. Enjoy the Super Bowl - or at least the half-time show!

See you between the raindrops:)