The November weekend in San Diego has been a wet one. I decided to take advantage of the wet streets and got up before dawn to do some downtown photography. There's nothing like shooting in the city when the streets are wet and the city lights reflect in the pavement. I particularly like shooting black-and-white , but this morning I wanted to shoot one of the last remaining pieces of neon in downtown. So, with my wife accompanying me we headed to Pacific Highway and Fat City - China Camp.
I wanted to get some photographs of the neon signs reflected in the parking lot, but I was disappointed to find that most of the signs were switched off. The main entrance that has the Fat City sign above it was dark, as was the side of the China Camp sign above the entrance.
I struggled to find much of a view at all and was just going to leave, but thought I'd snap off a few shots as I'd already made the effort to get up.
The problem was that the building was partly obscured by dark trees. I thought of setting up and firing off my wireless flashes under the trees, but there were two city policemen having breakfast in the Dennys and I know from experience how nervous they get when something unual happens, especially when it involves a photographer.
In this shot, the pre-dawn light is just beginning to brighten the sky and Venus is shining bright in the top of the picture.
We stayed around the parking lot for twenty or thirty minutes before heading home. You can see a few more images below.
Across the street
The neon from China Camp was reflecting in the building windows across Pacific Highway. Mingling with the lights from inside the building, it was creating multi-colored patterns. The full size version of this image is pretty dramatic. I looked at several ways to crop the image to emphasize the patterns, but here I have just included it as it came out of the camera.
Another view of China Camp. The same really, put in portrait orientation.
I decided to take a few shots using my special in-camera film noir settings. This shot is straight out of the camera, just re-sized to fit this page.
A final shot of the building using the black-and-white film noir settings.