This is the set I’ve been sitting on since Saturday night. I wanted to document St. Petersburg in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. I had seen a lot of people posting pictures similar to one another... the same empty downtown street in the middle of what should be a busy day. I wanted to do something different.
It took a few days for me to figure it out. I was kinda in a funk last week (aren’t we all these days?) and wasn’t feeling like shooting. But then it hit me.
St. Petersburg’s downtown really comes alive on weekend night. Sure, it’s plenty busy during the day, but we aren’t a big city. If there is one thing Floridians do better than most, it’s flock to the bars and clubs. We are a party people. And on the weekends, St. Pete’s small downtown explodes with life, light, and sound.
But not now. The bars are closed. The restaurants that haven’t gone dark are relegated to take-out only and they’ve almost all cut back their hours. There is no traffic and no headlights. Lights from the bars, clubs, and restaurants are off, as is the music that blasts from them. The local party people aren’t spilling out on to the sidewalks.
It’s just empty. Sure, some downtown condo dwellers were out walking a dog or two. There were a few cars on the streets. Two pizza places that never seem to close were still doing take-out and deliveries. That was pretty much it.
It was surreal and beautiful.
My plan was to shoot everything with the intention of converting to black and white, using the 50mm f/1.8 lens. The lens just wasn’t wide enough. And manual focusing in really poor lighting conditions was not working well. So I switched to the 18-300mm and got to work shooting at ISO 1000.
I walked around for about two hours and this is what I came home with.