I'm Doing It!
Last night, just shy of midnight, I was fumbling around in dim starlight by a creek in Acadia National Park. Every rustle, splash, and snapped twig had me on alert. Most of the noise was coming from two deer foraging about a hundred feet to my right, and I think there was a beaver across the road, or a very industrious otter. I had spent the better part of the previous hour sitting in my van, waiting for the Earth to rotate, worrying about some animal knocking my tripod into the creek. Earlier in the day, I had scouted the location, and everything looked pretty good. After taking a few test shots to get exposures and framing figured out, I just had to wait for the Milky Way to line up to where I wanted it.
Then after all that planning, it all comes down to a single shutter click...
...where I immediately realized that I wasn't going to get the reflection I had hoped for. The overarching lesson so far seems to be that plans work best as rough guidelines. I moved everything to a new spot, reframed, ran a few test shots, adjusted, and then finally got the shot I had been hoping for.
This is what I've wanted to do since I bought the van. I've taken photos of the Milky Way before, and I absolutely adore the experience (and the results), but this is something different. To be able to drive to a remote, beautiful area, scout locations during the day, and take photos at night. To plan my life around the movement of the Earth in space, rather than wait for the position of celestial objects in the sky to line up with weekends. To be able to lose a day to weather without it being that big of a deal.
When I've taken pictures of the Milky Way before, I've felt a sense of accomplishment, a giddy voice in my head shouting "I did it!" This time, on my drive back, giddy as ever, I realized that joyful voice in my head was shouting "I'm doing it!"
It's like when I first learned how to ride a bike. That feeling of accomplishment without even a consideration of completion. I'm not finished, because there's nothing to finish. I'm doing it. I'm on the ride. WHEE!
I'm still discombobulated with joy today, I had originally planned on writing a more chronological post about stopping off in Providence and Boston on my way up to Maine, but if I didn't get that out, I think I might have peed myself. I still might.
Okay, so, Providence. I stopped off in Providence to see my friend Tanya, who gave me the final push to go on this adventure. She had done something similar, and when I was debating on buying the van, I messaged her for advice. She said "if you have that itch, nothing else will scratch it." That's the moment I decided, because I knew she was absolutely right. She's also been wonderfully supportive, sending me links to van conversions, and just generally being really, really excited for me. She's also scary good at Mario Kart, and handed my ass to me.
After wandering around and taking a few photos of Providence (which is adorable), I headed off to see my friend Amber in Boston. Fun fact: we met online on a Usenet newsgroup about 18 years ago, and this was the first time we've actually met in person. I don't have any photos from Boston, because we spent most of the time talking each other's ears off.
Then it was off to Maine, which is just an absolutely stunning state.
Acadia is just full of camera candy. I've barely scratched the surface, so I think I'll have to hang out here a few more days. Even if I have to drive 30 miles to take a shower.