I'm out on Newport Road at night in the dry with the camera on a tripod. This is to test white balance, according to the course I'm following. Take shots under artificial light but with differing white balances - see how the colours shape up.
I'm using a long exposure - three seconds - which lets passing cars and buses appear as illuminated streaks. The road is silent, hardly any traffic. Just the slow throb of the traffic lights, the red wink from the bus shelter sign board, sodium orange from streetlamps, house windows glowing tungsten, tv screens inside them flickering. So much ambient light. There's a moon up there somewhere. Can't see the stars for ambient dust.
I get stopped by drunks. What are you doing? A woman with a bloke on a bike ask if they can be in a shot. What's it for? Makes ghosts, I tell them. I get the woman to walk along the pavement, take a shot. Show her. That's you, a blur like a ghost. I am a ghost, she says, laughing. They roll off towards the Royal Oak. Looking for the light.
The results are great. Huge white mist from a London coach. Red streaks from breaking sports cars. A taxi I didn't notice smearing itself up onto the pavement and a puff of smoke that's the passenger exiting.
Photography or real life? Poetry actually.