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

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2020 / 10:24 am

      Hi Martina. Thanks for stopping by. You can always rely on Philadelphia to put on a good fireworks display on New Years Eve.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. cath January 6, 2020 / 4:33 am

    Happy New Year, Neil. What a great way to start 2020.

    Spruce Street Harbour Park looks amazing – and I love the name.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2020 / 10:26 am

      Hi. Philadelphia created that park about 5 years ago on what had been under-used land near the Delaware River. The park has become very, very popular.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. joyce hamilton January 6, 2020 / 8:01 am

    Great article . … the photos!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2020 / 10:27 am

      I love seeing fireworks on New Years Eve. We missed a couple of those displays in recent years because it was ridiculously cold outside.
      Thanks for dropping by, Mimi. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Debra January 6, 2020 / 8:35 am

    Nighttime is the right time…for your photography. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Fictionophile January 6, 2020 / 9:08 am

    Thanks for sharing Neil. Kudos on the fireworks photos. I can never seem to catch them as perfectly as you have.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Laurie Graves January 6, 2020 / 9:11 am

    Beautiful! One of life’s great pleasures and teaches is to walk and look. And snap pictures,if you are so inclined, which I am.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Des January 6, 2020 / 9:40 am

    I think the shot with the purple lights hanging from the trees is may favorite. I’d love to have something like that in my back yard! Great photos, Neil!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Jacqui Murray January 6, 2020 / 10:31 am

    My phone, too–full of pictures. I go through and delete but I take more than I delete!

    Love your pictures, Neil.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. ellie894 January 6, 2020 / 10:38 am

    I’m glad you took time to sift through your photos. Night captures are tricky and you’ve done beautifully!

    Take care,
    Suzanne 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. talebender January 6, 2020 / 11:02 am

    Your memories of nighttime walks are probably more colourful than your photos. Nice piece.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2020 / 4:38 pm

      Hi. I really am going to try and make it a point to go on more nighttime walks. They have a different feel to them than daylight walks.


  10. SandyL January 6, 2020 / 11:27 am

    What would we do without photos? I was looking back on 2019 too and I recalled all that I had forgotten … and gheez, I’d forgotten a lot. Nice memories Neil 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Cindy January 6, 2020 / 12:28 pm

    Just strolling through your nighttime photos of Edinburgh was good for my soul–the cobblestone streets, the dim lights, and that vivid blue-black sky! Melancholy, maybe, but beautifully so.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2020 / 4:42 pm

      You know, I think that the camera captured the Edinburgh skies pretty accurately. Powerful colors up there in those skies!


  12. dfolstad58 January 6, 2020 / 12:30 pm

    How fitting for your post beginning the year that it ended with fireworks; starting the year with a bang. i like how you noted the mood of the Scotland pictures, maybe melancholy but I thought it was relaxing and peaceful also.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2020 / 4:44 pm

      Hi, and thanks for the visit. My wife and I had a great time in Edinburgh last year. That city has a wonderful ambience.


  13. tiffanyarpdaleo January 6, 2020 / 12:48 pm

    I hear you, I take WAY too many photos! But I love all the ones you chose to share, especially the Philly ones! Happy new year!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. andrewcferguson January 6, 2020 / 1:07 pm

    Great concept, and great photos, Neil! And you’re right about Edinburgh – it’s very safe to walk around, but also very haunted. You’re never totally alone!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. tylerus January 6, 2020 / 1:37 pm

    As always, wonderful photos – love the fireworks. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2020 / 4:48 pm

      Philadelphia does a great job with fireworks. The display that we went to last week was terrific. See ya, Tyler!


  16. Robert Parker January 6, 2020 / 1:55 pm

    That park with the purple lights in Philly looks cool, and you did great with the fireworks shots, too. I read a story years ago, about Burke & Hare, the Edinburgh body-snatchers, and not sure I’d walk around there by myself at night!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. alhenry January 6, 2020 / 2:38 pm

    The Woodmere Art Museum pic gets my “favorite” vote. I guess it’s the Stephen King-like structure with its tower hauntingly lit in an eerie, ethereal blue. I also like the first fireworks pic for its crisp perfection. Of the Edinburgh photos, gotta be the third. Looks like a stage set for a whodunnit. Glad to see you’re branching out, venturing into the dark (but not too dark) with your camera.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2020 / 4:50 pm

      We saw an excellent show at the Woodmere that day: a retrospective of Edith Neff’s works. I hadn’t known much about here before going there. She was a terrific artist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • alhenry January 6, 2020 / 5:18 pm

        Yes on Edith. I love the vividness and motion of her work.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Helen Devries January 6, 2020 / 3:01 pm

    Happy New Year to you and yours….and looking forward to more of your photographs and the walks that inspire them.
    Auld Reekie is impressive in daylight….and somehow mysterious when the daylight falls.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter January 6, 2020 / 4:14 pm

    Happy 2020, Neil. I love your fireworks shots, and all the others. I have a phone full of photos too – there are several themes in there that would make good posts if only I git round to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. cindy knoke January 6, 2020 / 4:40 pm

    The fireworks are a fitting finale to a magical set of captures. Happy Clicking in 2020!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. tanjabrittonwriter January 7, 2020 / 12:13 am

    Thank you for sharing your nocturnal perambulations with us, Neil. I can’t believe you took “only” 800 photos. That shows some serious restraint on your part. 😊
    Happy day- and nighttime wanderings in 2020.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. sniderjerry January 7, 2020 / 7:44 am

    Hi, Neil. Not long ago I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, finally it dawned on me. I should have taken a picture or two like the great shots in your story. Happy New Year! Jerry

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Paddy Tobin January 7, 2020 / 8:54 am

    Good to have you back at the keyboard for the new year. It is a time for recollection as well as looking ahead and it certainly would have been a pity not to have shown your night-time photographs. Onward for 2020 with my best wishes and my anticipation of future essays!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Alyson January 7, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    Lovely pictures – Pretty sure I recognise some of those spots in Edinburgh too. Happy New Year Neil and happy blogging in 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 7, 2020 / 3:07 pm

      Hi. The first Edinburgh photo was taken on the bridge that leads from Cockburn Street to New Town. The third picture is Cockburn Street itself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson January 7, 2020 / 5:19 pm

        Yes I thought so – Been along that street fairly recently. Would have been lovely to capture the castle at night but not easy.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, Another Blogger January 7, 2020 / 5:58 pm

          Yeah, you’d have to scout around to see which location gives the best view of the castle. Maybe Princes Street Gardens would be a good spot.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Alyson January 7, 2020 / 6:02 pm

            A unique street, not just in Scotland but globally.

            Liked by 1 person

  25. eden baylee January 7, 2020 / 1:03 pm

    Wow, I”m surprised your phone is still working with that many photos residing in it! Do you save them to an external drive at all?

    As for the shots, they are really great, love the fireworks , and they are so vivid especially coming from a phone camera.


    Liked by 2 people

  26. Isabelle January 7, 2020 / 4:41 pm

    Happy New Year, Neil! 🎆 Thanks for a lovely read and magnificent scenes ✨

    Liked by 2 people

  27. George January 7, 2020 / 5:18 pm

    Wonderful stuff, Neil. I love the difference in mood, especially between the brooding Edinburgh pics and the exuberance of the fireworks. The Cape Cod sunsets have me yearning for summer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 7, 2020 / 5:55 pm

      I was on Cape Cod only three months ago, yet already I miss it!

      Hi George. Stay warm. Summer is just around the corner more or less.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. K E Garland January 8, 2020 / 10:38 am

    These photos are excellent! I feel as if I was at each place, especially the New Year’s Eve ones!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. johnlmalone January 8, 2020 / 8:52 pm

    I like that you acknowledge shadows hold secrets; I think all we can do as photographers is hint at them; it’s up to the wordsmith in us to construct a story 🙂 Cheers, Neil from down under 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 8, 2020 / 10:42 pm

      The nighttime shadows In Edinburgh were captivating to me. Parts of that city are absolutely loaded with character.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. JT Twissel January 8, 2020 / 9:15 pm

    Ah, shades of Hooper! Most of the shots I take at night don’t turn out so well but you seem to have the knack. Especially those fireworks shots. Good job and Happy 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Annika Perry January 9, 2020 / 9:54 am

    Neil, it is amazing how easily photos are amassed on our phones – I remember when I used to have to consider every shot before clicking; was it worth the cost of the developing the film, no small amount for a student! I love the variety of the three cities, Edinburgh has that certain vibe, of friendliness yet anything could happen, anytime! Very atmospheric. Finally, wow! I love the firework photos, what a magical start to 2020 and may it be a very happy one for you!😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 9, 2020 / 12:17 pm

      What you say about photography is the truth. Digital photography has made things so much easier and convenient for most people. It’s great.

      Hi Annika. Many thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Paula B January 9, 2020 / 2:13 pm

    These are terrific photos, but my favorite is “Edinburgh, Scotland. (May 28, 2019).” I could see that one hanging on my wall. Paradoxically, the red garbage cans add a delightful pop of color! Happy New Year to the only other blogger whose posts I read with anticipation. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 9, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      I hadn’t noticed those garbage cans till you mentioned it. Our hotel was half a block downhill from the cans, on the opposite side of the street.
      Thanks for the compliment. You’re making me blush!


  33. Yvette Carol January 9, 2020 / 7:51 pm

    Wow, your photos are magical, Neil!
    We had fireworks on New Year’s Eve, too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 9, 2020 / 9:44 pm

      For NYE, fireworks are just the ticket. Watching them is a great way to greet a new year.


  34. parkermccoy January 10, 2020 / 2:01 am

    Wow, those are wonderful photos. I especially like the one of the museum in Philadelphia. Those blue lights are awesome. I’m always a sucker for a blue light. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Ally Bean January 10, 2020 / 7:28 am

    I’m glad you shared your photos here, but my goodness you are a shutter bug! All your photos are wonderful, especially the fireworks ones. Most festive.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 10, 2020 / 11:16 am

      Thanks, Ally. When I began this site (in 2015), I didn’t anticipate that eventually I’d use my photos in quite a few stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. America On Coffee January 11, 2020 / 3:43 am

    Unbelievable beauty! I love using filters on my camera lens. It helps me with my creativity! Have a good weekend Neil!

    Liked by 2 people

  37. SpiritualJourney17 January 12, 2020 / 10:18 am

    These nighttime photos bring in a different perspective to the scene. Great capture on the fireworks. Happy New Year and more finger snapping photos to add onto your phone!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. D. Wallace Peach January 12, 2020 / 1:38 pm

    Some beautiful nighttime photos. I love lights at night and how they make the world seem magical – especially those taken in Philly, and the fireworks. Great shots.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. johnlmalone January 13, 2020 / 3:20 pm

    ‘ walking around looking at things… snapping away like a damn fool’ is a good description, Neil, of the inquisitive artist at work. That excess of material is what we draw on for our public work. It brings joy yo others while pleasing ourselves. Thanks for commenting on my post, Neil. Have a good week. It looks like being a mild one here. No heatwaves in sight 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Michele Anderson January 15, 2020 / 7:25 pm

    I love nighttime photos, and love to take them–especially in Hawaii. There’s something about the moon over the ocean that I can’t get enough of. Love your pictures Neil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 15, 2020 / 10:26 pm

      Thanks, Michele. Being at the ocean at night is a fine way to spend some time. There’s something special about that.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. cincinnatibabyhead January 17, 2020 / 1:39 pm

    Fantastic Neil ! I especially like the first 3 sets. Get a real sense of place and a bunch more. Set off all sorts of thoughts for me. The amazing thing is you caught that with your phone. A little luck and instinct captured some good stuff. I love night shots.

    Liked by 2 people

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