St. Louis Trails: Gateway getaway
Recently on my way home from shooting in Minneapolis, I stopped by the gateway arch in St. Louis to test out a shot I had visualized. To go along with my recent city star trails, I wanted to get a good shot of the arch with the stars trailing around it.
Upon arriving at around 230 am, I scouted out the spot and found a safe place to park. I then snuck into the park and started scouting locations. I had to walk 3/4 of a miIe to get to the arch from where I parked. I shot from a few different spots from the shadows around the arch, but those were not good enough, I had to risk it and go right up in the light and shoot where I could easily be seen and get kicked out. So after an hour of shooting I finally found my spot right under the arch looking up. Then my battery died... :/
Something I usually always check is my battery life, but of course the time I have to walk almost a mile in the dark of a city I don't know very well, I forget and my battery dies. Well I was not going to leave without getting that shot. I walked the mile and a half back to my car to swap batteries and back out to the arch.
I had marked my tripod leg locations to get the same exact shot and set it up and wouldn't you know some cops start rolling through the park with their search lights beaming through the woods.
One thing I always do when I am at risk of being caught doing something illegal is make first contact. Talking to them first shows that I don't mean any harm and keeps them from assuming I am up to no good. So I waved the cop down and asked "you guys looking for me" and he replied "No but you need to get out of here unless you want to spend the night in jail". So I told him I was from out of town just driving through and getting some photos and he lowered his tone and told me the park opened at 5am.
So this was a bummer since I had set up my shot and had not gotten more than 5 minutes of the 90 minute shot I needed. So I told the officer I would pack up and leave and sorry, I was unaware and all that jazz. Then went back over to my camera and started picking up my bag and stuff as he drove off. I saw him drive over a hill and decided that I was going to stay until I saw him come back and then grab my camera and bolt.
So I kept a sharp eye, which was hard since it was approaching 4am and I had been up for 22 hours already. The cop never came back but right as my shot was reaching its end as the park was about to open, a few men came running through the woods with flashlights so I grabbed my gear and ran back to my car.
After all that I am happy to bring you what I believe is a one of a kind shot of the Gateway Arch at night :)