I love shooting on the city at night. There is a completely different energy when all the busyness of the work day has subsided. Less people, less busy. It is generally calm and quiet. The business crowd that occupies the core during the day is replaced with peoples perhaps less visible during the hustle and bustle of the workday.
I really enjoy wandering around the downtown core with camera and tripod in hand discovering things that catch my eye. Last night I spent a while exploring before setting up in front of an alley. This particular alley had kind of an endless quality about it. It seemed to go on forever. The different light sources and colours, people off in the distance, they all added much mystery and interest.
As I was lining up and focusing the shot I noticed a solitary figure enter in to the frame. As the individual drew closer I could see he was carrying a bag of cans and bottles and was likely homeless. He stopped to chat. He said, "I love this alley. I walk it many times a day. I call it peace of mind." He went on to suggest that is what I should entitle the picture - peace of mind. I said, "I would" and he carried on his way.
A few things struck me from our brief conversation. I am amazed at the power of the camera to evoke a conversation. I have had countless conversations with people curious as to what I was photographing. Some wanted to see the image I was composing and some have even been photographers from years gone by and we struck up a lengthy chat. The other thought that popped in to my head was that I have never had an unpleasant experience (knock on wood) during my time roaming the streets at night. People have always shown a curiosity and an interest in conversation rather than altercation. It is a nice reminder that people are people and fundamentally we are all the same.
Below is my image of the alley. Peace of mind.