San Diego Power Outage

Somewhere around 3:40 PM last Thursday I was sitting at my computer editing a recent shoot when I heard that familiar whizz that lasts a nanosecond before everything goes strangely quiet.

“Hmpf, power out.  Well it’ll be back up soon…..,” I thought.  In the next 20 minutes I learned via Google on my cell phone that pretty much all of San Diego was reporting a loss of power.  I changed my mind and started to mentally prepare for going the night without any electricity.  My wife works 5.1 miles away, she left her office at 4 pm and it took her almost 3 hours to get home.  I was one of the last people that Vons let in; they had no power for lights but a back-up generator was apparently running the checkout stations.  I bought 4 bananas and 2 bottles of wine…..

The below picture is something that happens at the Oster household during blackouts.  I made the wife put on the Vader mask, get on the tricycle, and I started shooting.  But for the blog, you have to be content with a snap she grabbed of me.

ISO 800, 18mm, f/4, 20 seconds.....sb800 is lighting the trike.

I took a stroll around the neighborhood at 10 pm:

ISO 400, 18mm, f/7.1, 30 seconds

ISO 400, 18mm, f/7.1, 30 seconds

ISO 400, 18mm, f/7.1, 30 seconds

ISO 800, 18mm, f/10, 30 seconds

ISO 800, 18mm, f/10, 30 seconds

ISO 800, 18mm, f/11, 30 seconds

The below was shot at 11 pm.  There was a nearly full moon out and this huge bank of condensation was moving above those homes.  Sort of interesting what moonlight caught in water vapor looks like for 3o seconds.

ISO 1600, 18mm, f/5.6, 30 seconds

All in all I had some fun.  I don’t do much (if any) night or long exposure photography, but I did re-learn a few things.  I’d love a cable release, as 30 seconds really was just not cutting it and my ISO’s were way too high.  I’d love a wider lens.   And I really do need to pick up some ND filters for daytime shooting, including a 10-stopper.   So that was my night.  What did you do?

About Bryan Oster

Photographer of people and food. You can see some of my work at my site (, and at my blog (
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