A Darker Minneapolis

Minneapolis is a troubled city these days; some dark clouds hang over it.

The problems facing Minneapolis today are shared by other big cities, and they’re well known. Downtown has lost vitality, the streets are often grim.

But it’s not over. Big cities have ups and down as the years roll by. For every boom, there’s a bust, then the cycle repeats. Recovery can take a long time but better days will return.. The future is never what we think it will be, either good or bad; things always head off in new and unexpected directions. Count on it.

I thought about all this as I stood out in the chill on the 10th Avenue bridge. I was looking for a bright, optimistic view of the city at “blue hour” with traffic streaming by in the foreground on Interstate 35. But clouds rolled in, creating a dark and dramatic scene at sundown. I went with it and tried to create something that felt like today’s reality. It had to be monochrome – mostly.

To capture nighttime traffic when a highway isn’t crowded, you can do a long exposure, but that may produce just a band of pale ghostly white streaks across the whole photo, no real sense of action. At this distance a shutter speed of about 1/6 captured bright trails with sharp endpoints – but only a couple at a time. So I layered portions of several shots for an image that captured that vaguely exciting and slightly scary feeling of being next to a highway at night.

5 Replies to “A Darker Minneapolis”

  1. Minneapolis is a place I have never visited, but I can relate to the unease that we sometimes feel in visiting a city. Probably gets worse as we get older! I can remember how problematic Washington DC was when we moved to the US almost 30 years ago, and now it is like a transformed place (at least some parts of it are..) I do also recall being in Liverpool maybe 12 years ago and some “youths” spotting me and starting to yell in my direction – really brings out the fear, I’m afraid. Luckily, their girl friends told them to leave me alone and they went on their way! The joys of being a photographer!
    Your image works well for its subject – nice idea to introduce some color into the vehicle lights – sort of implies that they have life and the city is sleeping?

    1. Steve, the way I look at it is – as we get older, we don’t get smarter, but we do see a bigger picture, and maybe a more realistic one.

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