Overpasses and Underpasses

What I really should be doing right now is editing two particular projects. I’m helping Jump-Start put together a short reel for a grant application. I said I’d turn in a preliminary edit tomorrow afternoon. Also, my Luminaria film needs some serious attention. The deadline isn’t going to go away.

On a positive note, I now have all the video shot for my Luminaria film. I just need to knit it together into something on the fabulous side of adequate.

The film is a simple affair. A series of night shots of ST Shimi hoop-dancing in interesting areas of downtown. We’d already shot several locations along the river walk. In Main Plaza. Under the arch at HemisFair park. And tonight we shot bridges.

First was Houston Street where it passes under highway 281. This is part of Bill FitzGibbon’s permeant art installation titled “Light Channels.” Both the Commerce Street and Houston Street underpasses are lit with LED lights which change colors and flash in patterns. They are collectively and colloquailly known as the “Disco Underpass.” It’s an awkward place to shoot. The level of light coming off the LEDs (though they create a lovely tableau) is fairly dim for shooting video. Even with my f1.4 lens and my ISO cranked up around 4000, it was a challenge. I set up a little kicker light I picked up years ago to mount on my Canon GL2. I used my Gorillapod as a light stand. Here are a few still images from the shoot.

Next, Shimi and I headed over to the Hays Street Bridge. Now I should come clean and admit that I’m generally suspicious of urban renewal projects. They usually portend some savage gentrification master plan (which is why I hope that the vile motherfuckers responsible for the Cevallos Street Loft project all fall on their asses and fail — if it succeeds as the developers wish, it will drive a stake into the heart of Southtown and South Flores, eventually pricing all of the artists from the neighborhood). But I digress.  I was talking about a bridge project. A bridge which is fucking awesome. It serves no real purpose. Sure, it goes over a railroad track. The train still runs down there. But the steel girder bridge was not originally built to handle heavy vehicular traffic. When I visited before the renovation, it had a wooden surface which was heavily rotted. Anyway, the bridge has a new wooden floor. It is now a huge foot bridge. But more than that, it’s a park, a piece of preserved history, an example of industrial construction as historical sculpture … it’s a lot of things. But mostly it’s fucking awesome.

I want to stage theater, dance, and film events here. I want to use it as a location in every film I shoot.

Here are a couple of photos from tonight’s shoot. The wider shot is perfect, except Shimi has her eyes closed. In the close-up photo I have used my kicker light mounted on my Gorillapod with its articulated legs wrapped around a nearby girder. The wide shot is all existing light on the bridge.


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