after the blue hour…

the city comes alive with lights while the backyard goes to sleep, or at least some creatures in the backyard sleep after the blue hour.

In preparation for photographing the lights of the holiday season and the Christmas markets of Europe, a friend and I tried to capture the transition from Blue Hour to night from the Stone Arch bridge looking toward the Minneapolis skyline.

Dodging pedestrians, runners, and bicycles on the bridge, here is what we saw.

A foggy day an hour or two before sunset on the Stone Arch bridge.

Capturing the city bathed in sunset lights was an impossibility on this foggy day, so there was early onset of monochromatic blue after official sunset time (4:40 p.m.).  It’s only 5:20 p.m.

The city begins to light up, as the skyline floors of the IDS building come on. It’s 5:48 p.m.

Building lights and signs begin to illuminate the cityscape as the light begins to dim more quickly.  It’s 5:55 p.m.

Less than two hours after official sunset time, the buildings are outlined with lights  that cast a yellow-pink glow in the sky above.  It’s 6:18 p.m.  And now it was so dark, I had to use the side railing of the bridge to stabilize my monopod for the 1 second exposure.

There was some biology observed before the photo session began.  Just as we stepped on the bridge, Debbie spotted a hawk perched in a tree right next to the bridge railing.  Apparently, having just finished a meal, it looked at us, wiped its beak, pooped, and flew off.

Possibly a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, not happy to see us focusing our cameras on it.