The Nighttime Was The Right Time: A Photography Story

As I was flipping through the photographs on my phone the other day, I more or less said this to myself: “Holy crap, I snapped away like a damn fool in 2019!”

I made that observation because it seemed to me that at least 800 photos from last year reside in my phone’s innards. Not only are they mementos, they’ve also proven useful, as a fair number of them have adorned articles published on this site. And you know what? I ain’t done with using the photos. No way! That’s because, in the midst of reviewing the pix, inspiration zapped me with a story idea. Shit, that hurt! And to make matters worse, I think I tore my right pectoral muscle when I grabbed for the idea before it could vanish into thin air. Shit, that really hurt! And still does. Man, the things we go through in the name and service of creativity.

Nighttime outdoor photos. Yes, that’s what this essay is going to feature. I hadn’t given it any thought before but, when perusing 2019’s photographic output, I realized that I hadn’t taken all too many that fit into that category. The heavy majority of the pictures was created in daylight. And half or more of the after-dark shots were from restaurants or music clubs. Indoor locations, you dig.

But we work with what we have. After sifting through the appropriate pictures on my phone, I’ve selected nine to be shared with the world, three each from Philadelphia (USA), Cape Cod (USA), and Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). Nicely inhabited places are they. And pretty safe places for the most part too. But my camera contains no night shots from their woodlands or desolate sections, because I don’t venture into areas such as those after the Sun dips below the horizon. I’ve got a heart and I’ve got a pair of balls, but nobody ever will mistake mine, metaphorically-speaking, for Rambo’s. I know my limitations.

As I’ve noted more than once previously in this publication, walking around while looking at things has been one of my main interests since I entered my early 20s, which occurred 50 years ago. And most of that walking has been done in daylight, as my photos from 2019 emphasized to me.

Spruce Street Harbor Park, Philadelphia. (August 8, 2019)
Spruce Street Harbor Park, Philadelphia. (August 8, 2019)
Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia. (December 27, 2019)

But I like to wander nocturnally too, and should do more of it than I have. What’s not to like? When natural light is low, the world seems to don new sets of clothes. For instance, some areas blossom wildly at night under artificial lights, because those lights contrast so magnetically with the darkness overhead. Think Times Square. Along those lines, there are blasts of man-made colors in the pictures that I’ve selected from Cape Cod and Philadelphia, though the mysterious nature of nighttime is mixed into all of those scenes too. They won’t be confused with Times Square.

Provincetown, Cape Cod. (October 13, 2019)
Provincetown, Cape Cod. (October 18, 2019)
Sunset as seen from Harding Beach, Chatham, Cape Cod. (October 19, 2019)

It’s a different story for the pictures I’m presenting of Edinburgh, Scotland. They are on the somber side. Melancholic. Their shadows possibly hold secrets. When I walked the streets depicted in those photos, I had the feeling that almost anything might happen. And I liked that. I was a bit wary yet relaxed, in a dreamy state that vibrated tantalizingly, deliciously. I guess I’m in a very receptive mode as I type these words, because I’m reliving my late night strolls through Edinburgh right now. They took me to locales within myself that I’m not often tuned into. They were good for my “soul.”

Edinburgh, Scotland. (May 22, 2019)
Edinburgh, Scotland. (May 28, 2019)
Edinburgh, Scotland. (May 28, 2019)

Well, several days have passed since I composed the above paragraphs on the 28th and 29th of December. I was planning to wrap up the essay with only a few more words. But it has become obvious to me that it needs to go on for a while longer. I say that because my wife and I spent part of New Year’s Eve with two friends near Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront. For many years Philadelphia has set off fireworks in the middle of the river on NYE, and the 31st of December, 2019 was no exception. The four of us took up positions atop a parking garage that overlooks the river. We didn’t have long to wait before the big event began at 6 PM.

How were the fireworks? Splendid as always. Not only do I love fireworks, I enjoy snapping photographs of them. And the ones I took the other evening are, of course, nighttime outdoor pictures. So, they are a natural fit for this story. Here are several of them. Happy New Year, one and all! Let’s hope that 2020 will be an uplifting year. And, by the way, please don’t be shy about adding comments or about sharing this story. I thank you.

123 thoughts on “The Nighttime Was The Right Time: A Photography Story

  1. Silver Screenings January 19, 2020 / 1:14 pm

    All these nighttime photos are gorgeous, but my faves are the fireworks. I have trouble photographing fireworks displays, and I admire those who do it well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dave Ply January 21, 2020 / 2:04 pm

    Although I chose my cell phone because of its camera quality, I rarely use its camera. It tends to be a backup for my “real” camera, and if I’m not carrying the “real” camera I’m typically not thinking about pictures. It looks like you’ve gotten much better use out of yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 21, 2020 / 3:08 pm

      Hi Dave. Smart phones are incredible. They can do just about anything, including taking good photos. What an invention!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brockelman February 1, 2020 / 10:37 pm

    “But I like to wander nocturnally too, and should do more of it than I have.” Me, too. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 2, 2020 / 6:59 am

      Nighttime wandering has a different set of vibes than daylight wandering, right?

      Hi there. Thanks for stopping by.


  4. grimspound February 4, 2020 / 3:26 pm

    Great post as always, Neil! And great photos too.!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jeanleesworld February 21, 2020 / 6:19 am

    I forget–what kind of phone do you have, may I ask? These night shots are GORGEOUS. My phone’s going to be dead in the next…year, I think…I’d love to get a phone that can handle night shots!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2020 / 8:04 am

      Hi. It’s iPhone 8. Some night shots come out better than others with it. Maybe the newer iPhones handle night photography better than mine does. Not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld February 22, 2020 / 7:15 am

        Still way better than mine! I’ll have to watch those new iPhone features…

        Liked by 1 person

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