Hi everyone, Azriel Knight here, and today I present to you some footage I actually previously abandoned; I’ll tell you why in a bit, but first, let me paint a picture of when this was and where it fits into everything else on this channel. The footage was recorded on July 12th, 2017, between midnight and 3 AM. If published, it would've been just before my video on 7 essential darkroom accessories. It’s a follow-up to a video I recorded on May 8th, where I visited a church about an hour outside of Calgary. I’m not religious, but I love photographing churches and this one is special to me because it was built by my ancestors, George and John MacDougall. They were true Albertan pioneers, and George MacDougall is buried there. On May 22, exactly two weeks after I was there, some [BLEEP] decided they were gonna burn it to the ground.
News Video: “but the landscape now bears the blackened remains of that historic sanctuary.” ”Virtually in the middle of shaving, I got a phone call from our contact person-- she was pretty shook up, and, uh, she had informed me what had happened” ”Fire erupted in the middle of the night. Someone who had spotted the flames and plumes of smoke called the fire department.” ”We have had break-ins before and we’ve had attempted arsons here before, but, we’ve always caught them in time””But not this time””Obviously heartbreaking, there’s like so much history here”
Azriel: So what viewers never ended up actually seeing is I went back in July to do some night photography. Hi everyone, Azriel Knight here, and on this episode, I’m going to be doing some long-exposure night photography.
I have to admit I haven’t given myself enough opportunities to get that starry night sky look, and it’s way overdue. I think the last time I got a legitimate shot was when I was staying in an apple orchard in B.C., and this was like four, five years ago. I know where I wanna shoot tonight, too. I wanna shoot at the remains of the MacDougal church, and I did a whole vlog on it. Umm, I got some great photos, and I had a good time. Exactly one week later, uh, somebody burned it to the ground, and now it’s been confirmed, it was indeed arson, so, umm, it’s, it’s a real loss, it’s a terrible loss, and as sad as it is, I do want to go back and get some shots, um, before they essentially sweep up all the mess, and now that the investigation is over, I’m hoping that the police tape will be gone. I’m hoping I can get close enough. If I can’t, my backup plan is Ghost Lake, just down the road, and um, I’ll see if I can make something out of that. The subject tonight, though, is the stars. If I don’t end up getting anything in front, I just want to practice long-exposure photography; I just wanna get a feel for it, and, uh, hopefully, when I learn something, you’ll learn something as well. I feel like I’m forgetting to mention something too. I’m sure it’ll come to me. Tonight, I’ll be shooting on my Canon 5D MkII with my 16-35mm f/2.8.
Azriel Voiceover: Hmph, this is where things start to go really bad for me. What is missing after this is my usual dashcam footage, and what I have on the way down was fog. Actually, it wasn’t fog, it was smoke from B.C. forest fires rolling into the province, but at the time, I kept referring to it as fog.
Okay guys, I’m here, and as you probably noticed, there is fog everywhere. I don’t really know if I’m going to get much of a shot. I’m going to take a walk around and see how cut off it is, cause right now, I can barely see past the gate, and uh, this might be a lost cause, we’ll, we’ll see. Yeah, totally fenced-off. It’s a real shame. So, as you saw, no clear shot. There is such thick fog, I’ve never seen such thick fog. Uh, I’m having the worst luck. I’m going to try anyway; I’m at least gonna get a shot or two for posterity, uh, the moon’s really bright , so I’m hoping that I get something out of this, but if I do get something tonight, it’s going to be nothing like what I expected. Doing a lot of guesswork here with the exposure, but I think I’ve got something I can work with. I’m going to get in closer now. I feel like the fog is subsiding a little bit. I’ve gotta tell you, too, I can hear barking in the distance and it’s getting a little closer. I also heard coyotes at some point. Burned down church in the middle-of- nowhere, in the middle of the night, surrounded by fog; I’ve gotta admit, it’s a little unnerving. I can hear cars in the distance. Okay, (clears throat), I wanna make this quick, because I hear the sound of car tires nearby, but I don’t see any lights on, and it’s kinda freaking me out. I’m going to show you real quick, with my studio lights, the damage, but I;m going to be like a beacon in the night for a moment, (sniff) so I’m gonna make sure I’m doing this fast. There it is. Pretty bad. Okay, I have to admit, that was kind of a bust. I’ve never shot fog before, and, uh, it was incredibly challenging. It’s the middle of the night, I don’t even know if I’ve got my focus right. A couple of the shots looked really cool, really minimalistic, but I;m not going to know until I get it in Lightroom, cause I just, just couldn’t see anything. There was one thing I saw on the way here, and if I can stop somewhere safe on the way back, I think I’ll get a pretty cool shot. I really hope I can stop there, because, uh, I'm not satisfied yet tonight. (Voiceover: When I left, and I made my way back into Calgary, the smoke had gotten so much worse. Here I am driving down the highway in the middle of the night, I can’t see two feet in front of my headlights, and it would come in these thick patches, and then it would clear up for a bit, and then it’d be right back to zero visibility. I had no warning whatsoever. Somehow I made it home alive, and I thought ‘holy f***, that was dumb, at least I have the dashcam footage, this is going to make a hell of an episode.’ Well, I had used the memory card for something else, and I forgot to reformat it when I put it back into my dashcam leaving it completely full.
>> Video: No! Oh please, God no! Momma no! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
And that’s why no one ever saw it, because as interesting as the story might be now, at the time it was far from complete in my eyes. Uh, so here’s the photo I ended up with that night. Uh, not bad, the fence isn’t too obvious, but it's still annoying. You can probably see why I, I didn’t bother. Funnier still about this whole scenario is that this night photography episode was the result of another botched episode I recorded just two hours earlier, where I tried caffenol for the first time , but I got my g****** ratios mixed up. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was incredibly upset. I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane; if you want to see more stuff like this, uh, let me know, and until next time, stay classic! Thanks for watching, if you enjoy these videos, please consider becoming my patron on Patreon. With Patreon, you’ll enjoy things like early access, limited edition postcards, and your name in the credits. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and until next time, stay classic!
Transcript By: Gemista