Pavilion, New York, Panorama, 2012
I realize this photo may be a little tough to see. It’s quite wide. Click on it and you should get a larger image.
This photo reminds me why early mornings are so often wasted on sleep. I can’t claim to be all high and mighty about this. For the last six months my body clock has favored late nights over early mornings. I was up early enough to observe this scene only because I wanted to get a jump on a twelve-hour drive.
It was dark when I left the western suburbs of Buffalo, New York. By the time I passed through the little hamlet of Pavilion, the sun was peeking over the horizon in earnest. Pavilion, by the way, is not far from the town of LeRoy, New York, which the eminent artist Walt Taylor claims as his birthplace. I cannot verify this. There were no historic markers or roadside rest stops claiming Taylor as one of LeRoy’s own.
Normally I’d be trying to make time on the road. But as the sun peeked over the hills I couldn’t help but notice the shadows in the center of this photo. I was so distracted thinking about those shadows that I was a half-mile down the road before it occurred to me that I should go back and photograph what I’d seen.
The thing about making such decisions that early in the morning is that the light changes rapidly at sunrise. It only took me a few minutes to find a place to turn around and go back to where I could park, stand on the seat of a tractor parked on the side of the road (to get a little elevation) and take the pictures that were stitched together to make this panorama. But already the story of the scene was changing. The light was becoming less golden. The clouds in the distance were passing by quickly.
You have to admit it’s a pretty gorgeous morning. This is beautiful country. The clouds are worthy of El Greco. The shadows recall the hill towns of Tuscany. The sounds I heard as I took these pictures were birds singing and frogs croaking among the reeds in a pond that is just out of sight.
If I thought I’d see sights like this even one morning out of seven, I’d get up earlier.