So, after equipment upgrades, and much expectation, I headed back out at 3 am to get the shot I took with my phone many months ago while sitting at a railroad crossing downtown San Diego.
The results left me flat.
Maybe the lighting was different. Maybe my phone camera, not being very sophisticated, could only give me one option. Plus, I wasn't confident in the safety of the neighborhood at 3 am, so I felt distracted.
Equipment upgrades needed: better tripod with swivel ball head and quick release mount, and a remote shutter control. (I'll take any suggestions you may have for these items) Canon Mark 5D iii...
I will learn more and get more familiar with my new setup and keep plugging away. I've gotten some very nice shots already, plus it was kind of a date night for my wife and I, so after all, it wasn't really wasted time.