You may recall that a few weeks ago, Hurricane Noel blew through this area as a nor’easter. The night before it arrived, the sunset was absolutely stunning. The colors were so vivid, full of deep crimsons and vibrant oranges. That night I had grabbed Kurt and Grace and raced a couple of streets down to take photos… but I still wasn’t high enough on a hill to get the shot I wanted.
Last night Kurt was out hanging the Christmas lights off the eaves of the house. He climbed up on the roof to attach the light clips, and while he was up there, he noticed how gorgeous the sunset was becoming. So he stomped on the roof just above my head in the office to get me to bring him my camera.
Like I’m going to let him take a good shot and get all the credit! Ha ha!! Actually, he does take good photos, but this was one I wanted to do myself.
So I stuffed my camera into its bag, made sure it was zippered shut so it wouldn’t fall out, and gathered my courage.
I didn’t stop to think too hard about what I was doing; I just did it.
Up the ladder I went, onto the roof of my house.
This wasn’t the first time I’d gone onto the roof of a house. I managed to get out on the roof of our house in Nebraska, when I was about fourteen. My brother’s and my bedroom windows opened out right onto the roof, and it was easy to climb through Mark’s window to get out on the roof.
Let me reassure you of my intentions before you think I was sneaking out to meet a boy during those long, sunlit evenings. I was far too good of a goody-two-shoes to have done such a thing. Instead, I was going out on the roof to clean the windows.
And my mom hadn’t even asked me to do such a thing!! I just got tired of looking through a dirty window.
I am such a nerd.
But last night was the first time I’d climbed up on a ladder to get to the roof. It wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it was going to be. For one thing, Kurt’s new ladder (he bugged me for years to buy him a ladder, and we finally found a reasonably-priced one at BJ’s when we first moved here) is quite stable. The way he had the ladder extended, most of the rungs were doubled up, adding to my sense of security. It was only the two rungs in the middle that made me nervous since those were the only single rungs.
Once up on the roof, I felt quite nervous about slipping off again. I managed to take a few shots with my small lens on the camera before I realized that I really did need my zoom lens. That’s why I carried up the entire case, instead of just my camera. I didn’t want to kick myself later for not having the right lens up there with me. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to climb down the ladder and then climb back up again!!!
I’m crazy, but not that crazy.
This is the shot I really wanted to get, and was able to capture. It’s the Claiborne Pell Bridge, spanning the water between Conanicut Island and Aquidneck Island, which is where we live. Newport lays between the trees and the bridge in this photo, as well as beyond the bridge on the left side of the image. Conanicut Island and the town of Jamestown is to the right of the bridge.
This bridge was built with huge ships in mind. The USS Forrestal as well as the USS Saratoga, two old aircraft carriers, are both mothballed here in Newport, which means they’re just sort of sitting there in port. If the bridge wasn’t built tall enough, the carriers wouldn’t be able to pass underneath it. The funny thing is, it doesn’t look that tall, and I’m not that nervous driving across it. It reaches as high as 215 feet in the air, amazingly enough. I had major issues driving across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington, which only reaches 187 feet. I think it’s because the Tacoma Narrows Bridge spans what is almost a gorge between two cliffs, while the Claiborne Pell Bridge gently increases its height over its span.
My issues with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge also may have had something to do with the first incarnation of the bridge being known as Galloping Gertie. You can check out footage of the bridge twisting and rocking and eventually destroying itself on its Wikipedia page.
So there you have it. I conquer some of my fear of heights and scale a ladder to get a great shot of a gorgeous sunset. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to get the shot!
Thus far, I have the following on my list to receive a Christmas card from yours truly:
If you too want to join the cool kids’ club and receive a Christmas/holiday card from me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your snail mail address and I will get one out to you post-haste.