Black and white and blue: days 765 — 782

Keeping it cool and civil

There’s this thing called “civil twilight”: the 30–40 minutes just before sunrise or after sunset when the Sun’s centre is 6 degrees or less below the horizon. If the weather’s good there’s quite a bit of light around to get things done without artificial illumination. Civil twilight in the morning is when lights turn off, and likewise in the evening when they turn on. Hence the name, I guess?

Fun fact: I don’t know how the city sets this up, but it looks like the lights on Granville Bridge are more generous than on Burrard Bridge, staying on later and turning on earlier. I’ve witnessed both these facts this morning (while taking my photo) and last night (while strolling to the Storm Crow). Are they on timers? I figure they have to be since light sensors would be really unreliable in these parts. Maybe Granville Bridge gets more light because it’s a major commuting route?

So my day 765¬†photo, about 30 minutes before sunrise, was probably just at the edge of civil twilight. You can see there’s some light, though I think the eastern sky was a bit overcast, the following day was much lighter. And as I expected, my shooting time’s stabilised while the sunrise has crept in, day by day. Look at this latest photo! Twelve minutes or so before official sunrise, and a while more before we see actual direct sunlight and the vamps have to go into hiding. Way back when it took about five minutes for the sun to clear the bridge, but now the sun is rising way further north, behind those towers.

(Gawd, look at me being all observant about the natural world and stuff!)

Speaking of natural world, we’ve had some wild weather in the last couple weeks. Snow, snow, and more snow. It’s pretty, for sure, and I got to use the heavy hiking shoes I bought for Iceland (next Maaaaaaay) but… this wasn’t what I signed up for, y’know? And I wasn’t the only one tired of it, either.

Those February 11 posts look unreal with the greyscale, but I promise they are 100% unfiltered. Grey skies, grey herons, white snow, dark trees, black crows, it was all a weird alien wonderland. One time, very early on, I used a black-and-white filter to give my photo a bit of punch. Not here though!

That was during the day. Go out early enough and the world becomes blue and black. But with a bit of luck, you may get all three together.

And then the snow started melting for real on Sunday. A few bits are still there, in corners and shadows. The forecast is calling for more snow, but I refuse to believe it. For now we’re back to a regular Vancouver winter, with good, honest rain.

My latest Sunset Beach photo is special, being the first one I’ve corrected for perspective. It’s something that’s been nagging away at me for weeks: at the angle I’m shooting, it’s impossible to get the horizon and the buildings nicely aligned and orthogonal. Either the closest buildings are slanting a bit to the right, or the far left horizon is not that horizontal. What’s the solution, besides lowering myself from the bridge? Installing a more advanced photo editor so I can fix my photo. I hesitated to do it because I’m not a believer in post-processing (it’s waaay too common on IG and it seems it’s the heavily-processed shots that get amplified), and… well, I’d never done this before on a phone and was afraid of fucking it up. But I was tired of not liking my photos as much as I wanted to, and it didn’t matter if it was just me nitpicking at myself, I wanted to do something about it!

So there we go. I know the lines are still not quite straight; I just did the tiniest smidge of correction as I get used to this new software. But it looks way better, and that’s a relief. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn PhotoShop next?

I make the rules around here: days 756 — 764

Choices!

There’s really only one rule for this challenge: I have to take and post a photo every day, any time between midnight and midnight, to my IG account. No themes or anything, and no saving up photos. Simple! But because I couldn’t not overthink things, if I posted more than one photo in a day only one of them was the official daily pic, numbered and labeled with the #dailypic hashtag. All the others were just… y’know… extra. All they got was a caption.

Over the next year and a bit I changed the numbering and hashtagging to make it (a) simpler, (b) more consistent (all my photos are equally special!), and (c) make it clear how far I’ve come. Today is not day 34 of 2019, thank you very much! It’s day 764! The 1000th day is just around the corner!

And now some more changes with this new year, a couple more… rules, I guess? Rules that are pushing me to get up earlier on weekdays, so I can get more done in the morning, get a nice workout in, and get to work at a reasonable hour. And they’re working, and they’re good for me. But after I took a photo early Saturday morning, and again the following Saturday, even earlier, I realised this was totally not sustainable and I was probably going overboard.

I think deep down I worried that if I slipped once with my Sunset Beach project, I’d drop the whole thing and never pick it up again. But as the Good Book says, non sum qualis eram, so I let myself break the pattern last Sunday and my gawd what a relief that was. I could allow myself to sleep in again! And everything turned out fine because I was up bright and early Monday morning.

The lesson for me is: remember what the rules are for. And remember that nothing’s set in stone; if they don’t work, I can just change them. I have the power, not just to choose the terms of this challenge, but to follow through with those decisions.

So last Friday we set the milestone at 7:13 AM. Little bit blurry, and I’m a little surprised it took 1/8sec exposure, but never mind. We’re most of the way to my goal of 7:00. Maybe I’ll go beyond that? After all the Y opens at 5:30, so…

There were a few days when it was nothing but Sunset Beach. But then I got THE MOTHER OF ALL SUNRISES—made me late to the gym but I knew I couldn’t let this beauty go—and the next day I went on a little walk into Gastown. It’s been a while since I did that, and it felt nice. The world isn’t all sunrises and beaches, it’s also gritty urban stuff. And though I felt a bit under the weather, and the weather itself turned colder, I took a little walk on the Seawall and enjoyed terrible movies. And slept it again.

It snowed on and off today. Tomorrow, I’ll be up again ere break of day to see how much snow is left on Sunset Beach, that should be fun.