Thursday, January 22, 2009

Taking A Shot

Anyone who's had to travel over the Julia B. Buxton (south end) bridge into Agawam from Springfield knows what a traffic bottleneck is. Especially when the bridge is going through one of it's endless repair or restoration jobs. Double-especially at about 5 pm, any weeknight.

The one good thing about sitting stuck in traffic dead in the middle of the span is the fantastic view of the Springfield skyline that can be had from there. Virtually parked there one evening, I kept my cool by first just ignoring the other drivers zipping by in the next lane and rudely cutting in line ahead, (I've done it too, after all). And second, by contemplating how I could best walk to this midway point on the bridge and photograph that beautiful city scene.

This past Wednesday night after work I gave it a try. A quick pit stop at home for the camera and tripod, a quick hi and bye for Kelly, who has by now resigned herself to my complete immersion in my latest hobby, and I was quickly zooming back down 291 towards the south end bridge.



One unresolved problem with the plan was finding a good place to park, as there was no place to stop on the bridge itself and to walk from the very beginning of the road at either end would mean an excessive amount of dangerous road side foot travel on that dark busy road. After a little driving around I found that there is a parking lot at a bar almost directly under the bridge on the Agawam side, and near it I discovered some steps that conveniently lead right up to the beginning of the span where the sidewalk that lines the bridge begins.



Well, maybe not that conveniently, as frozen snow made the climb a bit of a chore. Each step had to be stomped through a hard crusty layer and a foot carefully placed on a slick layer of ice underneath. But it was still better than trudging up the hillside, or starting from the beginning of the road a good quarter mile off.



It was a little past 8 p.m. and freezing cold out. The roar of the cars and trucks, and the bursts of cold wind they generated as they zoomed by at high speed, so close, was a little intimidating. Looking over the railing on the other side at the black icy water far below, didn't help either.



But I had determined to do this. Funny that just about a year ago I was whipping out a cheapo Kodak point and shoot I kept in my pocket, and taking quick snapshots for the blog. Now here I am trudging over old dirty crusty snow on a freezing cold night on an icy bridge in the dark with a tripod, on a mission to take a particular picture.



This hobby has definitely gotten more complicated. But is more complicated any more fun..? The jury's still out on that...

Getting used to the noise and wind and heights by the time I reached the middle of the span, planted the tripod in the frozen slush, and commenced to clicking...





Back when the picture taking was still just a cute little past time, I would look with disdain at other hobbyists trudging around laden down with gear and tripods and lenses. I'd think "Boy, I'll never get like that guy." Where they having fun? It seemed like a lot of hulaballoo for taking a few pictures.



Now clumsily switching lenses and digging in my pocket for a lens cap, while trying not to drop the whole the tripod assembly over the railing and into the river, It occurred to me that I just might be slowly becoming 'that guy'...

16 comments:

Mary E.Carey said...

I'm following your journey in photography with much interest -- and anxiety that you're leaving me so far behind I'll never be able to catch up. Those night pics of the buildings reflected on the river suggest to me it is worth trying.

AdamH said...

Beautiful skyline pictures!

No way would I go out on that bridge, though. Ugh!

CBL said...

Amazing pictures.

I think there are much worse hobbies to have. It's not a lot different that mountain climbing.

Anonymous said...

Lucky for us you are becoming "that guy"!

Mattenylou said...

Thanks for the great pics! I've lived just down the road from this bridge my whole life, but have never taken the 'walking tour'. When our folks told us to "stay off the Bridge" fifty years ago, we listened!

It's the best place to watch the July 4th fireworks, so I've heard.

wombatclov said...

Nice job. What a nice perspective on the city,

Jeffrey Byrnes said...

I admire your courage when it comes to standing there as the cars are flying past. Thats something I would do. Great photos!

~K~ said...

Been following your blog for a bit...becoming "that guy" is good for you! I love your photos!
I'm more of a beginner nature photographer, but your street photos have me intrigued!

Anonymous said...

Great photos from a very brave photographer.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful shots. I always knew you had the 'eye', and it's great to see your blog evolving into such a creative blend of all your talents and interests - happy shooting!

Anonymous said...

Tony, not only do you find adventure everywhere, you also find beauty everywhere and are not afraid to seek it out. Good job as always. Larry

Radar Check said...

"Best pictures ever", that guy could be at home hours deep into video game and bag of doritos.With the onslaught of old age staying moving is becomeing more the option.

Tony said...

Thanks you guys for the very kind comments; I'm glad you're enjoying the blog...'in the valley' marches on..!

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Great photos. I especially like the photos documenting the trek to take the great photos.

Elizabeth said...

I go over that bridge every day, and I've often thought of doing just that, although I don't have a tripod. I think I'll wait for it to thaw a bit, first. ;)

Anonymous said...

Your hobby, which combines the beauty of art and informative, albeit creative writing, is no surprise to me. You have always been "that guy" - maturity help us to refine these characteristics. Keep up the great work! I love your blog.
~Kid's Mom~