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'...