All things must come to an end.

Such was my time of living in Pasadena, California. It was unbelievably a treat; to live two blocks away from Colorado Blvd., the location of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade was quite an experience. The city felt homey, and cozy, and was a nice cocoon for four years. Whatever God had planned for that time and space happened, and it became clear that it was time to leave and make a change. Before leaving, I saw an image in my mind. One of my favorite views had always been of the Pasadena City Hall. I saw an image of myself in the foreground and the Hall in the background, saluting the structure with a peace sign as if to say goodbye.

Two years ago, I finally purchased a remote shutter in order to do some night photography, other than that and some external flashes for event photography, I’m not really the most gear-heavy photographer. Whenever I take a self portrait it’s always a fun challenge of figuring out my focal distance so that I’m in focus. Maybe it’s time to invest in a radio trigger? Probably.

Doing it the hard way again, I left my apartment (literally a block away from the City Hall), with tripod and D800E in hand. First step was getting the right angle. Along the way, I captured a few last images of the Hall:

A mantra I’m starting to develop as a creative/artist came into play on this day. That mantra:

Always stick to the original vision.

Ideas big or small will come and go from my mind, whether that’s for an image or for putting together a gift for someone, and I’ve learned that usually whatever pops into my mind first is the way it should look, or the way I should go about it. For this “Goodbye Pasadena” portrait, when I first imagined its location, it was in front of the Pasadena Public Library, and after circling the City Hall a bit, that space in front of the Library is exactly where I ended up creating the portrait. Stick to the original vision.

As I started taking shots, my problem, surprisingly, was not my being in focus; it was positioning. I had a Goldilocks situation going on as you can see from these first two attempts. If you look closely in the first you can see my arm in the far, far right:

That second image wasn’t too bad. In other circumstances, if short on time, I probably would have gone with it. But, ya know, if you have the chance to get it right…

I took a guess on my mark and pressed the timed shutter again. A few breaths, a few clicks from the camera behind me, and a raised peace sign. I went back to the camera to see. As I reviewed the images, as soon as I saw the first one, I scrolled through them saying exactly the following out loud:

“Boom. Got it. Done.”

Thanks for everything, Pasadena.

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