The drive from Buffalo to Lake Placid, much like the drive from New Jersey to Buffalo, was long, but for a time in all directions lush green forests hugged the horizon. Coming from Ireland, where we've cut down most of our natural forests to make way for agriculture and sterile pine plantations, it's a spectacular sight. All that was about to be interrupted, though, by some local yokel.
I didn't mention before but did you know that Americans drive kinda fast? Maybe it's the slower pace of life in Ireland or the fact that everything is farther apart in the US, but travelling slightly above the speed limit seems to be the average on US freeways. Sometimes, however, like anywhere else, you get the really mental drivers. Let me elaborate. At one stage we were travelling along on the the outside lane, only about 5 mph over the limit. Ya know, dawdling. When I look to my left and see a lady overtaking me. Now, those of you who are paying attention will realise that, no, this lady was not passing me on the inside lane (which it would be in Ireland and is also dangerous), this crazy mothertrucker was on the grassy verge between the two freeways! Clearly she was in a bit of a hurry, no doubt to get to her cousins wedding. She couldn't, after all, leave her husband-to-be standing at the alter because that would be embarrassing. However, in her haste and possible PCP hallucination, she lost control and swerved toward me. I reacted and swerved inward but thankfully the car to my right was paying attention to the lunatic on my left and anticipated my reaction. The looper spun out on the grassy divide / median / verge and there was no pile-up. Crisis averted. Not to be discouraged however by her very close encounter with a white-eyed Irishman, she went for it again, the little.....trooper. This time she passed, and I and all my other fellow road users breathed a collective sigh of relief. A few minutes later we passed her again. This time she was stopped at a concrete divider between the two freeways and sauntering over to some cops on the other side. Sauntering.
We finally made it to Lake Placid in one piece. My palms had dried, my pupils had returned to their relaxed state and I had a chance to change my underwear. We went for dinner and then a short walk. The hotel we were staying in is right next to the town's lake, which is rather paradoxically called Mirror Lake. The actual lake, Lake Placid, was a bit further north. But the name of a small bay to the immediate north of the town of Lake Placid? The aptly named Paradox Bay. The founders of the town, it seems, had a deep appreciation for irony and a profound self-awareness.
Lake Placid is nestled in the middle of the huge Adirondak State Park, and while maybe a bit touristy, has a nice vibe to it. Because of it's geography it benefits from water-sports, hiking etc. in the summer, and snow-sports in the winter. Mix all that up with hunting and fishing and you get year-round visitors. Yeehaw. Did I say that right? Anyway...You might notice from the sign in the photo below that Lake Placid hosted a Winter Olympics. The XIII Winter Olympic Games in 1980 to be exact. Great job......Placidians? However, if you squint real good you might see a poster advertising North Country Schools production of Monty Python's "Spamalot"! It was on while I was there, man, and I missed it! Balls. I'm not joking, I would've loved to have seen it.
Most of the visit was spent driving around or chilling in the hotel because it was raining. We felt right at home. Dad bought a rain jacket that was slightly too big for him and I bought one that fit juuust right. I was happy and that's all that matters.
I've said all there is to say about our short visit so I'll just show you some more shots of the area and tell you the gear I used to capture them.
My travel tripod, the Chinese made XCSOURCE Q-666C is not available from Amazon at the moment but Manfrotto make some really good, light tripods: the BeFree aluminum and the lighter but more expensive carbon fiber version are both quality but any light tripod is better than lugging around their heavier big brothers so you can enjoy your trip even more! At the moment I'm using Cokin filters. I don't bother with graduated filters as I blend exposures manually in Photoshop (I feel that it looks more natural) but I use full ND filters A LOT in order to get movement in coastal / river water or to smooth out rippling water. Cokin have an entry set of full ND filters that are ideal for beginners. For the B+W shot of the river below I used this 10 stop ND from Cokin's Nuances range. Quality glass with very little colour cast, if any.
If all this talk of filters is going right over your head, don't worry, it flew over mine too when I first started reading about it. Once you start exploring the world of filters, though, it opens up whole new realms of photography. I will make a post about filters in the future but if you want it sooner rather than later just let me know in the comments below!
Whelp, that's all she wrote. Be sure to subscribe to my mailing list so you can be updated on any future blog posts. You might want to stay tuned for the final installment of my travels in the US, because in my next post I'm going to tell you about the time I was mugged in Brooklyn, NYC.