Christmas Eve at a covered bridge

It’s Saturday morning. Snow on the ground and snow in the air.

This is supposed to be a time of cheer and celebration. Holiday and harmony.

Unfortunately … this year I’m spending Christmas with myself. Ugh.

Well, maybe I can make something out of this. Something worthwhile. Something that takes away the emptiness.

You know what? Car’s full of fuel and battery power.

You know what? Cameras are fully charged and I have some clean SD cards.

And it’s moments like this where you basically make your own holiday traditions.

Plus … I really haven’t snagged a decent three-dimensional stereoscopic covered bridge photo yet. And if I travel today … it’s not like I’ll encounter much traffic.

At some point, I can use these photos for my upcoming stereo View-Master-compatible film reels. I’ll need seven distinct images – and I don’t need all of them to be snowbound. But if I get one or two today, then that’s a start – and I can add the others at another time.

Okay. Nikon Df duo in the car. Tripod in the car. Figure it’ll be a good drive to Vermont. Off we go.

And 20 miles into my journey … something screamed in the back of my head.

“Hey, Miller, you stoopnagle, you forgot the mounting rod for your stereo setup.”

Shit. Without the mounting rod, I can’t put the two cameras on the tripod simultaneously. Shit shit shit.

Okay. Nothing to do but turn the car around and drive home.

Drove home. Yep, there’s the mounting rod. Just where I left it. Jeez Chuck, you’re as dumb as the day is long.

Okay. Let’s go to Vermont.

And I need to say this. Route 7 to Vermont was actually clear of snow. Easily driveable.

And the minute I crossed the border into Vermont … the roads were coated with snow and slippery slush. I basically shut my travel from 50 miles per hour to 25, and even then I felt like I was speeding.

No matter. Here I am in Bennington. If I’m going to do this, let’s do this. I’ve been shooting images of Paper Mill Covered Bridge in Bennington for a while. You know my routine. I’ll shoot the same subject over and over until I find the angle or the mood or the concept I want. And as I arrived at the Paper Mill Covered Bridge …

The whole ground was covered in white, powdery snow. Perfect. This is what I want.

Grabbed the Nikons and the tripod – AND THE DAMN MOUNTING ROD. Someone should make me a T-shirt that says “Don’t forget the mounting rod.” I take a size XL.

There’s a pathway to the Wallomsac River, the waterway that flows under the covered bridge. The only tracks on the ground may have been made by a raccoon. No human footprints or boot prints. Which means … nobody’s captured this image with the snowfall. At least not recently.

Which also means … I have to be careful. Yeah, I’m wearing good strong boots, but all it takes is one nasty slip and I could fall on my ass. Or my cameras could end up in a snowbank. Or my head could bounce off a snow-obscured tree stump.

So I figure I’ll just follow the raccoon’s tracks – at least until it goes up a tree or something.

Made it to the Walloomsac shoreline. Let’s set up the gear.

Perfect. Get these shots now before 25 Instagram polluters find my spot and join me.

Squeezed off as many shots as I could. Then trudged up the hill – following my original footprints – until I reached the parking lot. Okay, everybody – into the nice, warm Lightning’s Girl.

Okay. Back to New York.

And I should note this. As I drove into the town of Pittstown – somewhere between Hoosick Falls and the Tomhannock Reservoir – I saw the flashing lights of a cop car in front of me.

Johnny Badge must be out for some Christmas Eve ticket-quota-completions. Let’s see. Seat belt on? Check. Going the speed limit that’s appropriate for these weather conditions? Check. Are you Chuck? Check.

It turns out that the cop car was accompanying a flatbed wrecker. Seems someone tried to exit Route 7 to go to the Sunoco station – and misjudged the road INTO the Sunoco station and instead ended up in the ditch. Yikes.

I drove around the wreck and went into the OTHER entrance to the Sunoco station. A Jeep with Vermont license plates followed me. We got out of our vehicles.

“Did you see that wreck?” I asked.

“Yep,” the other driver said, a Green Mountain twang in his voice. “You can’t take those turns in this kind of weather. I was following you for ten miles. You were driving safely.”

We both went into the gas station – he purchased some windshield wiper fluid; I grabbed a cheeseburger and a couple of diet colas.

Okay. I’m home now. Let’s check these SD cards and see what I got.

Oh my. This is swank.

Let’s get the static photo first.

Bennington County, 15°F. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo (c) 2022 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

That works. Cropped out most of that factory on the left.

Now let’s see what this looks like in stereo.

I’ll take it. Save this one as one of my 7 images for a covered bridge View-Master-compatible homemade reel. This works for me.

So yeah, it was worth it for a trip out and back (and a short trip out and back because I forgot my mounting rod). Especially if I can get a shot like this. Save the static one for the short pile for 2023, for sure.

Start off my holiday season with this, and go from there.