Blog Post 3 - The Adirondacks

If you have been keeping up with the news recently, you'll know that parts of the east coast have been experiencing record breaking snowfall. In Lancaster, we received just over 28 inches. Because of this, over the weekend I was trapped inside my house with little to do. I thought it might be fun to look over some old Lightroom catalogs of photos I had taken during 2015. The catalog that really stood out to me contained the photos from trip to the Adirondacks with my friends Chris and Ted. The catalog was full of breathtaking scenery and home to my favorite photo I’ve ever taken. Lets start from the beginning. The primary goal of this trip (at least from my perspective) was to get photos of the Milky Way. Milky Way shots are my absolute favorite photos, but since I live in a heavily light polluted area, neither the human eye, nor my camera are able to see it. What is great about the Adirondacks National Park is that there is little to no light pollution at all. This means at night you can see almost every star in the sky, as well as the Milky Way galaxy. We packed up the car and headed up for our three-day adventure on July 23rd. When we got to New York, the three of us went to Chris's grandmothers house, which was right outside of Utica. That night I attempted to get some photos of the Milky Way, but Utica is light pollution heavy so we only managed to get a few photos of the sky. This wasn’t that big of a deal though because the next night was going to be spent at a cabin, which was pretty deep into the woods and far away from any stray city lights. The next day, we headed up for a hike on Hadley Mountain. The hike was pretty fun and only took about a few hours, which was nice because I was carrying my heavy photo gear. When we got to the top, the three of us were displeased with the view, which was obstructed by trees and a large watchtower. Chris wanted to go off the path and see if he could find a better place to get photos. Although I didn't think there would be, I decided to go with Chris just incase he was right. After about a 5-minute walk, we came across a huge rock, which overlooked a 200-foot drop. Chris decided to take a seat near the edge and really embrace the beautiful scenery. It’s an interesting experience being removed from technology in the way that we were on that trip. I know personally I only had cell phone reception once, and it was on the top of that mountain. When I saw that my phone had bars, I was immediately on it doing things like checking Instagram and replying to text messages I had missed. Chris on the other hand wasn’t on his phone at all. He was able to completely remove himself from technology and fully embrace the experience. For whatever reason, this really stood out to me. With my phone finally away, I started to take some test shots of him sitting on the edge to get my exposure correct, which basically means making sure the photos aren’t too bight or too dark. I took a few photos and looked at them through the back of my LCD screen. I was looking at the photos purely for the histogram (a graph that tells if your photo is too over or under exposed) and didn't really pay attention to the photo I had taken, but more on that later. Once I got my exposure I took a few landscapes of the lakes and then we decided to head back to where Ted was waiting for us.  We drove back to the cabin, ate dinner, and got ready for the night. Chris passed out almost immediately, so it was just Ted and I waiting for the clock to hit 1 AM. The best time to see the Milky Way from the northern hemisphere is the night of the new moon in July at 1 AM, which was going to take place on that night. Ted and I went outside to a location we had scoped out before it had gotten dark. We looked up to see a completely dark sky. Neither of us could believe it, cloudy on the best night of the year to see the Milky Way. I'm not really one to get upset over things like that but it was kind of a bummer for us to have traveled all that way for it to be cloudy. The next day we left to head home for Lancaster. I slept most of the way home and didn't take out my laptop to start editing the photos like I had planned. As soon as I got home, I dumped all of the photos I took onto my computer to edit later because I had to head over to and event I was shooting. After the event I went straight to my computer and started editing the photos from the trip. They were okay, but none really stood out to me. That is, until I was going through the photos of the very top of the Mountain. The Photo I took of Chris that was meant as just a test shot really stood out to me. For some reason, I couldn't click away from it. It not only showed the shear beauty of the lakes and mountains, but it also captured the peace of mind that Chris had while overlooking the lakes. I went to the Adirondacks with the intention of getting photos of the Milky Way and inadvertently took what is my favorite photo I’ve ever taken.

Until next week! - Evan