A quick bite to eat by day and a semi-plotted course of places to hit. You’d almost think you were planning a burglary, but you’re not.
You take a nap.
The sun goes down and the moon comes up.
Your playground is ALMOST ready to be explored.
Somewhere around midnight you get in motion and set off for your first location. You park and grab your gear. You traipse to God knows where and then you hear the dogs.
The damn wild dogs.
You wore thick pants for this (and a number of other reasons), but after listening a second longer you can tell that they are farther away than you think. You keep walking and climb through the chain link fence carefully.
Shortly afterwards you have the vista you’ve been wanting to capture for damn near a month in front of you. Your eyes have adjusted to the dark (but your flashlight is on your hip ready to be shone or swung as a weapon if approached by the wrong element) and you take the sight in with fresh eyes.
You get out your camera (since I travel without even a monopod to save on weight) and squat down close to the ground. You use the viewfinder to sight gauge what you want then adjust by tucking the camera on your chin.
You take a deep breath and then depress the button. You let the burning inside your chest tick like an eternity awaiting that shutter click. You hear the click and then greedily look at your screen to see if you have to shoot the shot again. You see lights in the distance and take in the sounds of the city around you.
This raucous balance of nature amidst the concrete jungle is its own unnerving beauty but you appreciate it even more than most. Why? You had to work harder than most to get to see it and now can share it with other eyes.
Sometimes you’re the first one to do it and other times you aren’t. You look around for something to make sure that your shot is unique and carries its own flavor. You snag it and then run back to your vehicle to make it to the other places you had in mind.
Sometimes you come across something that wasn’t even planned for. This is where the mark of spontaneity comes in. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Ledges, bridges, and drains (sometimes the middle of the damn street) is not off limits when it comes to capturing what you see in your mind’s eye.
And then you look at your watch.
The sun is gonna come up soon.
After a night of avoiding camera eyes, questions by errant security, friendly words with local vagrants, a close call or two with the safety of yourself or your camera, and a need for sleep creeping on again, you head home.
And when you get home you immediately start moving your pics to your computer so you can start edits later that day.
A night in the life of an urban explorer.