Third times a charm.

June 24th, 2012 was going to be the day I photographed sunrise from the summit of Mt. Washington, NH. The mountain on the other hand was not informed of this plan and did its best to thwart the effort.

The tallest peak in the Northeastern U.S., Mt. Washington’s claim to fame is being “Home to the worlds worst weather,” where on April 12, 1934 a wind gust of 231 mph was recorded, a record for the highest wind speed measured on the earth’s surface that stood for 76 years, until 1996 when Cyclone Olivia snatched the record away. The summit is also shrouded in fog an excess of 300 days a year.

Foiled again!

Somewhere in that cloud is the summit.

Not far after we passed the 5 mile mark on the auto road, we were directed to a pull-out, the summit was completely fogged in and it was suggested we go no further. From past experience, I wasn’t going to argue. The first time fellow photographer Denise Ryan and I tried for a summit sunrise, we waited hopefully as the fog teased us with the possibility of clearing. It didn’t. As I recall, neither one of us pressed the shutter button that day. Lesson learned, if the summit is in the clouds, head down.

A tough act to follow.

On this years adventure I was accompanied by John Vose of Jericho Hills Photography. John’s wildlife photography is outstanding, take a look when you get a chance.

Anyway, this year I was going to better last years photographs, plain and simple. Easy right? The first two images in last weeks Weekly Challenge post are from last years attempt at sunrise on the “Rock pile,” as Mt Washington is affectionately known. Shouldn’t be too hard to top those, just be on the mountain for sunrise, piece of cake.

Not so much as it turns out. Remember those 300+ days I mentioned, this was one of them. The clouds obscuring the sun to the east weren’t any help either.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, at least initially. The sunrise was a non event, with clouds off to the east all but blocking out the sun, add to that ย not being able to get as high on the mountain as I would have liked, and almost all my enthusiasm was gone. My unrealistic expectations for coming away with photographs topping last years was in hindsight, foolish. I shouldn’t have even been trying to “top” last years photos, I should have concentrated on making this years. Looking at the images from this year, on their own, I’ve become pleased with the results. The sky may not be as dramatic as last year, but overall I think the the images are basically good.

In a first for me, I’ve actually included a person in one of my photographs.

16 thoughts on “Unrealistic Expectations

  1. Great save! I think it’s the Denise effect (ha!)…when she and I did a sunrise by Massabesic, I wasn’t presented with what I wanted and was bummed, then I pulled my head outta my butt and shot something decent (the Do you fuel your fire? post). I think part of what makes a good photographer a better one is being able to see the best in any environment regardless of expectations. You pass the test!

    1. Thanks Kris, and I think you may be on to something with the whole Denise thing. Every time I try for waterfalls with her it is a beautiful, cloudless day, but shoot for sunrise and she brings the fog with her ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Jeff, you certainly made something out of almost nothing! You were able to capture the pastel colors of that morning beautifully. Nice shots !!

  3. They are still pretty spectacular, and I mean it… I know and understand how you must have felt… that’s life and can be applied to all of life’s experiences not just photography… you are a PMS sufferer too ๐Ÿ˜‰ (as in PERFECT MOMENT SYNDROM – I have not made it up ๐Ÿ˜€ – it is a real thing and identified by psychologists). There will be more perfect moments for you, and you made the most of this one that was a bit less perfect. I am impressed as usual Jeff.

    1. Thanks Paula, and you are so right. When the what I’m looking for doesn’t appear it can really throw me. If my plan falls apart there are times when I can’t see the photograph before me to save my butt. Other times, as Kris pointed out, I’m still able to make a half decent image. Not always, but sometimes ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. They’re all good shots, but the third one is stunning, I even like it more than last year’s shots. The layers of colors in the mountains and the sky are beautiful. You can’t complain, Jeff, you get to shoot in a wonderful place, and both times you managed to come home with great shots!
    I went shooting today and the sky wasn’t all that wonderful, but after four months without taking more than a few shots, I welcomed it with open arms. A half-decent shot is always better than no shot at all, and these are nowhere near half-decent!

    1. Thanks Belen, you are so right. Looking at these photos after a few days allowed me to see them on their own and not compared to last years. The problem I often have when I expect one thing and the weather doesn’t cooperate, is that it really lets the wind out of my sails and I have a hard time getting my mojo back. If the scene doesn’t live up to my unrealistic expectations or hopes, I often have a hard time coming up with a “plan B.”

      I need to keep in mind that a bad day with my camera is better than a good day at work
      ๐Ÿ˜‰ But there are no bad days with your camera are there?

    1. Thanks Brandon. Most of the time that is exactly how I think when heading out with my camera. However, when I do have a specific plan, and things don’t go according to that plan, and I was so focused on the plan, It throws me and I have a hard time not thinking about how the plan went down the drain, instead of how I can make something out of what I do have. ๐Ÿ˜€

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