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Photos from the edge

Photos from the edge

19:59 21 March in Photography

_MG_0162Every now and again, when I can manage it, I take a day to drive around and take pictures. I pack my equipment, get in the car as I were going to work, drive, and stop for pics when I see something interesting.

This is always a mixed bag. I might get a few pictures that work, occasionally I come home with nothing, but at least I always enjoy the ride.

This past Friday I took my trip, and while the pictures didn’t turn out as I would have liked, I had an amazing day, even for the addition of one terrifying moment…


I packed the night before, sorting out my equipment. Until now I’ve been bringing EVERYTHING, which can make for a rough trip if I end up on foot.  This time I removed all macro and specifically portrait items from my gear, and squared away the rest.  The pack was still on the heavy side, so I decided to bring a separate smaller bag, with the idea that I could stop and take out just what I needed for a given purpose before I proceeded on foot.

The Drive

I headed East.  The hills around my home are nice, but north and east of here the become more pronounced. I drove the highway until just shy of Albany, the got off and drove into the country, all the while catching up on The Nerdist podcasts.  I ended up stopping in Voorheesville, and having a pancake and bacon at the titular Voorheesville Diner, which was a lovely quaint little place.  As I ate breakfast I looked at a map of the area and found John Boyd Thacher Park. It looked good, so I settled up and off I went.

The Park

The road was steep and winding. The curvature of the road demanded a speed of around 30, which went from suggested to enforced once I entered the park boundary.  It’s late winter in Upstate New York, so the colors are drab and the trees are bare. I didn’t expect much until I rounded a corner to the lookout area… Then I was as giddy as can be!

An amazing vista was before me, with a huge sky over a wide valley, and I could see for miles.

The Shoot

I parked the car and started shooting, just grabbing the camera and going to stand before a wall built over an amazingly high cliff.  I got excited.  I went back to the car and grabbed my whole rig.  Picking what I surmised to be the highest point on the ridge, I set up my tripod and started shooting more.  I swapped lenses, and shot.  Then I noticed a snow storm…  A snow storm was rolling across the valley!  It’s movement was perceptible to the eye, so naturally I had to set up a time-lapse session.

I positioned the camera best to catch the storm, left of frame to watch it move to the right. I turned and started towards my bag to get my timer, when a gust of wind came up, and lifted the tripod into the air and tossed it over the wall!

It landed on the edge of the cliff, the strap having caught on a plant, preventing it from going over completely.

I screamed, quite cinematically, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!” And feel free to imagine my arms waving, and my hands grabbing my hat, because I’m pretty sure I was the very picture of panic right then.

Without thinking I jumped over the wall, quickly bent down and grabbed the strap of the camera, pulled it to me, then jumped back over the wall again. I then proceeded to hug my camera while I hyperventilated for quite some time.

The Result

The pictures were a bit of a disappointment when I got home.  I think the adrenal response I had skewed my memory, like I thought things must have turned out great, and I shot a lot of pictures, but I did neither.  A few shots came out alight, but nothing much.

That afore mentioned adrenal response affected me the rest of the day however. I didn’t feel right again until I woke up the next day.

So, here are the few images that turned out.

I’m going to include some quick shots from my iPhone from the adjacent Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, where I had a long talk with the woman running the place about butterflies, their life cycles, and taking time-lapse photos thereof.

Even given the one frightening moment, I had an amazing day.  I plan to return to the area when the seasons change, and I do want that time-lapse… But I’m bringing my much larger, and MUCH heavier tripod when I do.

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