One of the best views of the western side of the Presidential Mountain Range is from the Cherry Mountain/Owl’s Head summits in Twin Mountain. The hike is modest, with a five or six mile round trip, so although it’s not a difficult hike, you are committing to one shot if you hike the ridge. The problem with that commitment is that the view is of one of the most temperamental ridges in the world, and the view is prone to clouding up, and unexpected changes in weather.
And thus, has come my dilemma, time and time again. I value flexibility in the evening shoot, and like the ability to change my mind depending on how the conditions develop. Committing to one view is risking the entire evening. This year though, I was determined to shoot from this ridge. In my annual goals post last month, I stated that I wanted to take greater risks. And earlier this month, I did…hiking up to a clouded in view. Hardly a waste! The forest was glistening in rime ice and the forest was alive with rare boreal birds.
Unfulfilled, this weekend, I tried again!
This time, I was fortunate to have some friends and fellow photographers with me, and made the time go quickly, and the risks of hiking after sunset less. The hike was similar…the rime level was a little higher up, but there was little snow underfoot, and the travel easy. The view from Cherry Mountain was spectacular, but a little shielded, so we hiked the beautiful Martha’s Mile trail to the wide open ledge on Owl’s Head. And waited.
It was a beautiful night. Few clouds over the Presis, light winds, cold, but refreshing temperatures. Everything was setting up perfect…until a layer of cirrus on the horizon choked out the alpenglow at the last minute. Gone was the light.
Here’s where having good friends is so important. I was upset, and voiced my opinion. It resonated with one of my companions, but not the other. He was grounded, and stated…”You know, it may not be what you wanted…but this is still beautiful.”
So I took out my camera again, and captured my favorite shot of the ridge from the west that I’ve ever taken. Not what I expected. But Beautiful. Perspective.