When life gives you lemons . . .

As the saying goes, "when life gives you lemons, make margaritas!" (Are margaritas made with lemons?) In this case, when you have been planning a photo outing for a few weeks and Mother Nature decides she doesn't want you to make those kinds of images, well, you just make different kinds of images!

A few months ago I went on a little photo tour and met some people from New Jersey. One of those people is the talented Carla Francis. We kept in touch and soon decided to make a day of it on the Jersey Shore. While sunrise photos are a bit cliche, for some of us it's good inspiration and good practice. Our plan was to get up before the sun and go to Asbury Park to witness the magic that is sunrise over the ocean. It would be the second week of spring, what could go wrong?!

First day of spring

Then Spring happened. Ugh. This did not bode well for a sunrise on the beach. When temps picked up things almost looked promising! The week of our jaunt we became obsessed with the weather. Carla on the Weather Channel and me on Weather Underground. Little icons of raindrops appeared and disappeared, then exchanged with little images of snowflakes along with temperatures more fit for Santa Clause. 

Our plans kept changing with each weather report but we were determined not to give in to Mother Nature. The morning of our escapade, it was apparent that the sky was not going to cooperate. Cloudy we could manage, overcast was a whole different story. The sunrise and water were going to be indefinitely postponed as we changed our navigation to Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook, NJ. As an historical site I hadn't been to, Fort Hancock was A-OK by me, and Carla had been chasing an image from there for quite some time. 

On arrival, Mother Nature continued to not cooperate. We were presented with flat, boring skies. 

Army base has camouflage trees

To add to the joy, it was cold. (Yesterday, if you were around me, the bubble over my head was constantly praising the designer of long underwear and the inventor of hand warmers!) We would not be deterred! We found buildings.

Ft. Hancock 

Low and behold we could actually get inside some of them to get a bit of respite from the cold and the wind.

Ft. Hancock

Broken Window, Ft. Hancock

When it got too cold inside the buildings we got back in the car to warm up and drive to our next destination. The sky, still not cooperating with the addition of a few snowflakes, did not make us feel warmer.

Barracks, Ft. Hancock

While Carla went for rustic detail I tried, in vain, to capture the barracks. And then the clock struck 11:30 and our tummies said it was time to move on. After a hearty lunch, and deep discussions punctuated with hearty laughs, we decided to give Asbury Park a chance. 

Carousel House, Asbury Park NJ

I had been to Asbury before but never realized the hidden gems along the boardwalk. 

Inside Old Casino, Asbury Park NJ

And then it was off to the water to see if Mother Nature might cooperate. She didn't deliver as we were hoping, but I'll call it a practice round. 

I learned a lot from this little trip. One thing I learned is that my hiking shoes are waterproof. My mittens are not. 

Down the Shore, Asbury Park NJ

I learned that old abandoned buildings, while seemingly useless, can give you much needed comfort on a bitterly cold day.

Ft. Hancock

I learned that if you open a different door, a door that wasn't in the plans, possibilities await. 

Ft. Hancock

The biggest lesson of my day, was this: When life gives you lemons what do you do? Hope that Carla comes along with the delivery because you will be guaranteed a day filled with much laughter and great fun. By the end of the day, we were both so invigorated what was in our cameras no longer mattered. While the images I came home with are not what I was chasing, nor are they technically exceptional, none of that matters. What I see when looking through my contact sheets from yesterday, and what I will see in days and years to come, was a fun day with my new friend. When you start to tally the things in life that are most important, I'll take a new friend over prize winning photo any day of the week. 

Down the Shore, Asbury Park, NJ