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  • Writer's pictureDave Pidgeon

Traffic, Long Exposure, and a famous theater (or is it "theatre")

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

Light trails move past Fulton Theatre in Lancaster City, Pa.
Traffic passes by the famous Fulton Theatre in Lancaster City, Pa.

LOCATION: Outside the Fulton Theatre on North Prince Street, Lancaster City, Pa.

EQUIPMENT: Canon 5D Mark IV | EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM | Manfrotto Tripod

THE STORY: "Is there a photography workshop going on around here?" the man on the sidewalk asked me. "I keep seeing all these photographers around here, and I was just wonderin'."

His observation was correct.

I spotted one image maker with a couple enjoying an engagement session and a few others who appeared to be tourists, their lenses and camera phones pointed skyward at buildings and monuments, firing away without much thought or care.

Then there was me, hauling a tripod, my camera attached to the strap of a backpack, hunting gorgeous light.

"No, but I bet the weather has something to do with it," I answered him. "When Spring flirts with you in mid-March, you want to flirt back."

"Yes indeed," he said.

I continued on down the sidewalk, but with a little trepidation. I wanted long exposure images of the traffic zipping through downtown Lancaster, but I left the neutral density filters stored in a drawer back home.

Is there anything more useless than a neutral density filter left at home?

Nothing left to do but play a waiting game with the sun, to quietly perch myself on a sidewalk before a beautiful scene, find a calm spot in my mind and heart to rest in, and watch the light change as the evening unfolded.

My aim was to create an exposure of at least five seconds, 10 if I could get it, so I could get adequate light trails of the cars and trucks

It finally came at blue hour, that magical time of transition from day to night.

The Fulton Theatre provided the perfect backdrop for what I had in my mind. Being a Thursday night and there being a show, the iconic local theater glowed perfectly. It's home on North Prince Street also meant plenty of traffic would pass by during blue hour.

I placed the camera and tripod between two cars parked on the side of the street, careful not to point the wide angle lens too far out into the street, and fired away with a remote trigger.

When Spring flirts with you, flirt back.

Dave is a seasoned writer and photographer from Lancaster, Pa. You can write to him at

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