Making the best of lousy weather

Last week, my friend Chuck and I went north to one of our favorite photo venues …. the Adirondack Mountains. On this occasion we decided that Long Lake would make a good home base for a weekend shoot. All along, we were planning to campout (yes, in our tents). However, a sinus infection caused us to alter those plans and opt for a room at the Shamrock Motel in the village instead. Maybe next time.

The Hudson River seems to always give us something to help make our day. I liked this one converted to black and white.

The Hudson River seems to always give us something to help make our day. I liked this one converted to black and white.

As you might expect, we were hoping for some wintery weather. You know – fresh snow, snow clinging to those tall Adirondack pines, icy banks on the mountain streams, et al. We also had googled “new moon dates” and we were hoping for clear skies at the sight of the Old Sabattis Station so we could do some star photography.

Despite the not-so-promising weather forecast the days before our departure, Chuck still arrived in my driveway at 0-dark-30 Friday morning and we loaded his SUV for the drive north. Hope springs eternal, especially for nature photographers.

It may seem strange, but when we stopped for a roadside stream, I came away with this "roadside porcupine".

It may seem strange, but when we stopped for a roadside stream, I came away with this “roadside porcupine”.

As daylight started to crest the eastern horizon the skies looked pretty good. We could actually see some blue in the sky. “Hey,” we told ourselves, “the weather station has been wrong once or twice before. Why not today?” However, as the road droned beneath us . . . Utica, Alder Creek, Old Forge, Inlet . . . darn, the blue was waning. Gray clouds, while thin, were obviously taking over . . . Raquette Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Long Lake . . . grayer, grayer, gray.

Well, let’s head out to Sabattis Station and check out what would have been our campsite, sans sinus infection . . . get a idea where we might set up to shoot tonight, if these clouds happen to move out.

I had to minimize the gray sky to keep this images from looking completely flat.

I had to minimize the gray sky to keep this images from looking completely flat.

It wasn’t to be. Our star photography would have to wait for another trip. Maybe the weekend of February 8 might give us another chance for open, winter, moonless skies.

We weren’t going to let gray skies totally ruin our weekend, however. We had found time during our drive to enjoy one of those roadside Adirondack streams that are so common and it was a safe bet that, Saturday morning, we’d find something to shoot at the Hudson Headwaters

Our "brief" stop at Buttermilk Falls was certainly worth while.

Our “brief” stop at Buttermilk Falls was certainly worth while.

and Santanoni Camp in Newcomb in the morning. Ultimately, both venues delivered, though perhaps not as striking as we might have liked. But, by the time we wrapped-up at Santanoni, the gray skies were challenging our spirits even more than our photography.

As we headed back to Long Lake, a quick check of the weather forecast wasn’t able to brighten our spirits, even a little. The temps were warming. Any snow that was on the trees was fast disappearing. And, the forecast anticipated even warmer temps Sunday . . . “100% chance of rain,” AccuWeather said.

That pretty much let out any steam we had. We decided to check out of the Shamrock and grab some breakfast before pointing ourselves

Isn't it amazing how much a  log frozen in the ice can add some color to a winter composition?

Isn’t it amazing how much a log frozen in the ice can add some color to a winter composition?

toward home. Before we could get out of town, however, “Why don’t we make a brief stop at Buttermilk Falls?” Well, it didn’t turn out to be all that brief and it was probably the highlight of our abbreviated weekend. We had managed enough photography on a dreary Adirondack weekend to be glad we had not let the forecast make the weekend a total wash-out. A couple keepers under challenging conditions is part of what makes nature/landscape photography almost as addictive as one-armed bandits at Turning Stone or a Barkeaters chocolate bar any where you can grab one.

There’s no question we’ll be back for more, keeping our fingers crossed for more wintery conditions and maybe even clear skies for the February new moon.