Monday, May 5, 2008

Best view of Baltimore... for now

Exploring the west side of downtown Baltimore can take some guts, even in your car. But on this clear, August day, I was determined to find this particular shot. So many times, I'd seen the Baltimore skyline light up in the evening as I was driving up I-95. So many times I'd wondered where I could set up my tripod when the haze relented. After what felt like a couple of hours of driving up and down the roads near I-95, and a couple of dead ends (eek!), I finally came upon Carroll Park off Washington Blvd. It should have been obvious from the start. The park is basically comprised of flat land with a big hill in on the western corner. Perfect. It also should have been obvious because I could actually see my apartment window from this newfound spot (can you guess which one?). I guess it's all about perspective.

Every now and then I go back to that spot when I think it might be a particularly nice evening. This shot was taken about a month later.

I actually went to that spot again this evening for the first time in months. Unfortunately, the air was not as clear as I'd hoped, nor was the sky as interesting. What caught my attention the most was that one of the trees in the foreground had grown significantly in the past few months, making it impossible to get the same shot. I had no doubt that it was still the best view of the city, but it was like part of my discovery had disappeared.

To go off on a slight rant tangent, in many US State and National Parks, there is a battle between the viewpoints and the trees that always seems to be won by the trees... in the foreground. It seems obvious that the trees weren't in the way when many designated viewpoints were built. Yet no one seems to be willing to cut down/back the foreground trees to preserve the magnificent views. How are photographers supposed to get the shot? More importantly, how are people supposed to be talk about the magnificent vistas if they can't see them? How are they supposed to be motivated to preserve the forest if they can only see the trees? Clearly, a few trees have got to go for the good of the forest.

Anyway, the moment you've all been waiting for...

Carroll Park, Baltimore, Maryland
39° 16.746'N, 76° 38.557'W

Canon 5D
Canon 70-200/2.8
Bogen/Manfrotto 3021PRO tripod with 488RC0 ball head

I didn't have my TC-80N3 at the time, so I just used the mirror lock-up and 2 second self-timer.

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