This Photograph Took Almost Eight Months To Create

Light trails leading towards the cityscape of Pittsburgh at sunset

It’s crazy to think that I took 8+ months to create a single image, right?  I mean, it’s not like I set my camera on a tripod and took a 20,736,000 second exposure (the approximate number of seconds in 8 months).  No, I simply scouted the location about 8 months before life allowed me to return and take the photo I previsualized.  It took 3 separate visits to nail down what I wanted to do.  

The first visit was simply driving through on my way home from someplace super interesting (maybe?) and noticing the interesting perspective.  Next, I revisited on a Sunday morning to further investigate (image below).  Finally, I waited for life and weather to line up for the best chance of success (image above).  The wildfires out West and up North caused haze and after my wife forwarded me a message she received in her weather app of choice (the haze would create an “enhanced sunset”) I knew it was time to tackle this shot.*

Pittsburgh's cityscape taken with the Leica M10-P from the south side of the city.

There is something incredibly rewarding about these images that take a lot of forethought and time to create. Something you can’t get from cutting corners. Of course, like anyone, I’d love to be able to snap my fingers and have the world dance for my photographic delight… Software companies are banking on our lack of patience (i.e. laziness) and desire to take short cuts by offering sky replacements at the click of a button and even… Wait for it… Changing of entire seasons to add snow to summer scenes or autumn color to summer foliage. At what cost though? Nothing too serious, just your images integrity. Okay, now where is the ladder to this soapbox, I’ll step down.

Thanks for reading! Check out and follow @PhotolisticLife if you’d like to check out and follow more current work. There are several personal projects I’m hammering away on that I’ll share through Instagram (until something better, please someone come up with something better, comes along). If you find yourself on Instagram you can check out the “Philadelphia” story below my bio to see recent work that was commissioned for a client in, you guessed it, Philly.

More from John Barbiaux
Quick Tip 113 – Dramatic City Photography
City or town photography can be a tricky thing, there are people,...
Read More
2 replies on “This Photograph Took Almost Eight Months To Create”

Comments are closed.