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