Columbus, Ohio 2012
Rolling into Columbus, Ohio from the west it was obvious this was going to be a better-than-average opportunity to come away with some colorful after-dark, skyline photos of the sixteenth largest city in the United States. Thanks largely to the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers northwest of the downtown area, Columbus has a lot of photogenic appeal despite it’s relatively small geographic size.
While there aren’t a lot of high-rise buildings in Columbus, a majority of what they do have are clustered on the east side of the Scioto River that winds through the plentiful greenspace along the waterway.
View from west side of river
This was going to be a one-night only shoot, so I decided not to venture into the town, but to stay on the riverfront where I knew I had my best chance of success.
My first choice for parking was going to be on West Long Street, a park area just north of town that offers a very nice view of the skyline, but for some reason all the meters had no parking signs posted, which was strange for a Sunday night, but maybe street cleaning. As it turned out, my second choice of parking worked out much better and ended up being in the middle of the area I would be walking. I was able to find a metered spot on West Broad Street, just east of Marconi Blvd/South Civic Center Drive.
I walked west across the Broad Street Bridge, which offers several views/angles of the riverfront area of downtown. After crossing the bridge, I walked down to the well-paved riverbank in front of the COSI. Safety at this time of the evening was not a concern (as it would be later in the night). I was able to get some good shots from this vantage point, but wanted to get to the northside of the river before it got dark to see what I had to work with later on.
To get to the North Bank Park area, which is where I was originally planning to park on West Long Street, I had to walk back to the east side of the river, then north on the trail that runs alongside Marconi Blvd. Safety is not an issue before dark on this trail. By nightfall, while most of the patrons had gone home, there were still occasional joggers, bikers and a few lingering couples passing by now and then. I still felt very safe despite the relatively sparse surroundings.
View from North Bank Park
Satisfied that I had all I was going to get from the North Bank Park, I walked back down the trail to the Broad Street bridge. This time as I headed across to the westside park area, I started to get concerned as it was not only completely deserted, but not very well lit either. However, it offered the best photo op from directly across the river. And I wanted that shot. So I went on back down to the bank, staying as alert as possible.
Not only was I in a deserted area next to a river, but also right next to a large bridge underpass. It was a bit spooky, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. With the understanding this was not the best situation to be putting myself into, and rather than retreat and regret, I decided to stay and get as many shots in as I could before heading back up the bank … to safety! If anyone did try to cause trouble, I was on my own with no backup.
Undaunted, I spent about 30 minutes in the area, and was more and more nervous as time passed.
While I could have easily put in an hour or more trying different angles up and down the shoreline, I decided not to press my luck and head back up the embankment … to the safety of the bridge traffic. But just as I started up the steps I noticed movement to my left, just behind me. It was a man laying beside a dumpster in a sleeping bag. As I looked back over my shoulder at him, he also looked up (likely to see who was waking him at this hour of the night!). With my short-hairs on end, I didn’t take the time to give a second look as I headed up the hill – rather swiftly!
I crossed back to the eastside of the bridge, where there was not a lot of people, but enough enjoying the evening that safety was no longer an issue.
Last shot of the night – looking to the north (on east side of river)
A few more shots from the east side of the river and I decided that regardless of what I had, it was all I was going to get for the night and I headed back to the van – conveniently parked a half-block away!
An uneventful van ride home and another city on the visited list!