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Mt Beacon Firetower
Mt Beacon Firetower

My wife Brenda and I hiked up to the summit Mt Beacon and then proceeded to the historic 78 yr old South Mt Beacon firetower yesterday evening. The Scenic Hudson trailhead is a very short drive from our home, and  once at the top, the views are fantastic from the Catskill mountains all the way to new York City. Reaching the tower half hour before sunset after a mile hike, the light was changing rapidly, and dramatically as well. It was one of those instances when I barely had any time to react to the changing conditions, and I just enjoyed the views and had fun with the camera. Though I often have preconceived  ideas of how I’d like to approach a location, experimenting is always the best way to learn, regardless of the outcome.

It really helps to know your gear well, as a few seconds making adjustments can make all the difference between capturing or missing something special. Most cameras have presets that you can program to give you one click access to common settings, and I have one as a starting point for landscapes: Manual Mode, f16, ISO 100, mirror lock-up, and 2 second timer. All I need to adjust afterwards is shutter speed, and aperture depending on the composition. Of course, this is a very basic explanation, but the concept is to eliminate the technical, and focus on composition and emotion.

Cloud Patterns
Cloud Patterns

Improvising visually felt very much like my younger days playing bass in a jazz band as the leader looked in my direction and nodded for a solo. When the rest of the band stopped playing except for the drummer and all eyes rested on me, I said “oh $@%@” in my mind, and attempted to make believe I knew what I was doing.

I learned much from those valuable experiences, as well as countless mistakes, and in the process gained the confidence to follow my instincts. Always follow your instincts, regardless of what you do, and more likely than not, you won’t be disappointed.

It felt good descending in the dark after enjoying a great evening in the outdoors. And the company couldn’t have been better. Map and More Info.

Hudson River View
Hudson River View

“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

RR Jr

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Your two shots you have posted and words about following your instincts are fantastic. I love the Hudson River View with the pooled water and reflection of clouds. The warm tones in your shot titled Cloud Patterns pulls the viewer directly into the shot and forces your eye to look beyond the horizon line. At least this is what happens to me when I look at your shot! Great work!

  2. Cloud Patterns & Hudson River Views are both fantatic images illustrating the beauty of the Hudson Valley as well as your skill with form & color. Simple yet complex – Bravo ! What a hike to capture two great images.
    I think Cloud Patterns is one of my favorite images that you’ve captured.

  3. Hey RR!
    Love your work!
    My husband and I got engaged at the beacon fire tower 5years ago. Would you be interested in selling the beacon fire tower photo?

    Cheers,
    T

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