I’ve been blogging for quite a while now. I admit it gets tiresome at times. A year ago, I would rush home after doing pretty much anything and blog about it immediately. But 170 posts later, that blogging thrill doesn’t come as easily as it used to. It takes something special to get me excited to blog.

Something like Wednesday night.

Nelson Mandela Bridge at night, shot from the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.

I love cities. I love walking in cities. I particularly love walking in cities at night.

When you walk through a big city at night, you feel a different energy than you feel during the day. The noises are different, the people are different, the smells are different. And of course there are the lights.

The #1 Bar in Braamfontein. The headlights of a car (combined with a slow shutter speed) created the beam along the street.

Wednesday night I went on the first-ever Joburg Photowalkers night photowalk. We walked through Braamfontein, an edgy, gritty, up-and-coming neighborhood on the edge of downtown Jozi.

Walking in downtown Joburg at night is special because you can’t easily do it on your own. The route we followed would not be safe to walk alone after dark, especially with cameras. But this is the cool thing about photowalking. There’s safety in numbers. Thanks to rockstar photowalker Mark Straw, we had our own security detail from Braamfontein Improvement District Security, to make certain we stayed out of harm’s way. So we all relaxed, unfolded our tripods, and enjoyed the night-time sights of Braamfontein.

Walking down a median strip toward Mandela Bridge as the sun goes down. This was probably the most dangerous part of the walk.

We tramped through some areas that are not really meant for pedestrians. I’m wearing hiking boots to the next night walk.

Trains + bridge + evening sky = beautiful. I took this while squeezing my way along a narrow dirt path next to a major thoroughfare. We were protected from the traffic by a cement barrier.

Usually the Mandela Bridge is illuminated by a light show at night, with multi-colored beams that flash on and off. But Wednesday night the bridge was lit up solid pink. 

Once the sun went down and we’d had our fill of bridges and trains, we headed into the commercial section of Braamfontein. There was a lot going on. Music blared, Chrsitmas lights blinked on the street corners. People looked at us strangely. Some laughed and waved.

This photo looks straight out of a horror flick.

Worlds colliding.

Our final stop of the evening was an office building called Orion.

Orion. It looks like an average office building but turned out to be so much more.

Mark had arranged ahead of time for us to go up to Orion’s roof. We piled into the elevators and went to the 17th floor. From the 17th floor, there was a narrow ladder going up to the roof. It looked a bit scary. Several people opted to stay below and enjoy the view from the 17th-floor windows. I slung my tripod across my back and climbed.

“Sh*t!” I gasped when I reached the top.

I was stunned by how beautiful it was.

It was quiet up there, and pleasantly warm. There was a 360-degree view. If I’d had a sleeping bag and a pillow, I would have laid down on the asphalt and spent the night.

The Orion rooftop was sublime. I felt perfectly happy and peaceful there.

The buildings in the foreground look blue because of the Orion sign.

I am fiercely, head-over-heels in love with you, Jozi. I’ve never loved any other city like I love you. And I’m determined to stay.

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