Summit Dates: September 3, 2004, May 17, 2010, December 7, 2013, January 1, 2018
Of the 27 highpoints that I have visited, Ebright Azimuth is by far the easiest one to get. While many of the others aren't exactly difficult, with this one you can literally stop your car, open the door, step out, and be at the summit (although the precise location of the summit is still somewhat in dispute). It's at an intersection in a suburban neighborhood at the northern tip of Delaware. It's so easy in fact that I have visited it four times. Usually when I visit a high point, I have made special plans to visit it and the whole trip is centered around it. With Delaware however, all four visits to the highpoint were the result of simply passing close by on my way to somewhere else and figuring I would stop by since I was in the area.
My first visit to Ebright Azimuth came on September 3, 2004. My friend Brooke and I were on our way to Atlantic City, New Jersey to go see my favorite band Van Halen perform live in concert. The high point was not far off the route to AC. Unlike today when you can just put in the location in your GPS, at the time GPS was not widespread so I just relied on instructions I found online on how to get there. It's well marked so it's not that difficult. When we were there we were approached by a woman who lived around the corner. She appeared to be the unofficial welcoming party for the high point. She told us a few tidbits about the high point and even gave us a little brochure about it.
Unfortunately, the panorama that I shot on that visit is essentially unusable. Despite it being a beautiful day for shooting, my technique at the time was not as good as it is now. I was still shooting on film and my exposures were all over the place. I was using the auto aperture setting on my camera which made each exposure slightly different and resulted in a panorama that would've taken much more work than I wanted to put into it. I now know, of course, to keep the exposure consistent for the entire set of images for best results. It would be six years before I would have the opportunity to reshoot it.
To the right is a picture of Brooke and I with the summit sign. At the time it was located across the street from where it is now. In the panoramas below it would have been by the bushes on the corner near the left end of the image.
My second visit was on May 17, 2010 when I was on my way back from a trip to Florida to see the next to last launch of the space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center. Seeing the launch was one of the coolest things I've ever witnessed in my life, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see it. I was positioned about 7 miles from the launch pad and I couldn't have asked for a better day. It wasn't too hot, there was a gentle ocean breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. I shot the image on the right with my 210 mm lens, and even then I had to crop out about 80% of the image to get this composition because I was so far away from it.
The only bad part about this trip was the night before the launch I was bitten by about five fire ants. I had encountered these little bastards when I lived in Texas and they're not fun. They bit me on my right foot which swelled up to the point where I drove myself to the emergency room after the launch. They put me on a steroid regimen for the swelling and by the time I reached the Delaware highpoint a few days later the swelling had come down considerably.
At the high point I was finally able to rectify my mistakes from six years earlier and capture some decent exposures to make a nice, clean panoramic image. The resulting panorama from my second visit is also the only one that I've made so far which incorporates a selfie. I don't normally do it, but it just seemed to work for this one.
My third and final visit to Ebright Azimuth was in the wee hours of December 7, 2013. Just like the previous two visits, this one occurred as the result of going to a separate event and this just happened to be on the way. My girlfriend Shiri and I are fans of the band Sponge (who saw the height of their national popularity during the mid-90s). She has seen them so many times that she's actually friends with the guys in the band. They were doing an East Coast tour and we were driving from Shiri's home in Brooklyn to the bands gig in Baltimore, Maryland. The high point was just a few miles out of the way.
I normally don't plan too much as far as trying to be at a highpoint during a specific time of day. Usually I have a small window of time to be at a highpoint and get my images, either because my travel itinerary doesn't quite have the flexibility to hang around all day or because the nature of a hike dictates what time of day you get to a highpoint.
With this one I wanted to try something a little different. I had never tried a nighttime panorama from a highpoint and this was a good opportunity to do it. I opted to wait until after the Sponge concert and make the visit on the drive back to Brooklyn. This way I wouldn't feel rushed thinking I had to hurry up and finish so we could get to the show. Sponge shows usually go till after midnight and then we hang out with them afterwards, so by the time we got to the highpoint it was almost 3:00 in the morning. Being early December I had several hours before the sun would come up so I knew I had time as far as that went. However, being early December also meant that it was cold, and on this particular night it was also raining which made it feel extra cold. I set up in the exact same spot that I had on my second visit and started shooting. Shiri was there to hold the umbrella over me while I shot to keep me in my gear somewhat dry. I needed my bare hands to operate the controls on the camera and as a result my hands got so cold that by the time we got back to the car they actually hurt quite a bit. I had to just sit and let them warm up a little before I could even drive. But I got the shot!
Added my fourth summit of Ebright on New Year's Day of 2017. And in keeping with tradition, I only stopped because I was on my way back from something else. The day before, my friend Brooke (who was with me on my '04 summit) and I went to Baltimore to see comedian John Oliver perform. On the way back Brooke wanted to stop at the Baltimore Ikea. It was far enough off our original route we took down that Google maps suggested a different route on the way home. A route that took us right by Ebright Azimuth. So of course I had to pop in for a visit. It was pretty cold out, so we were there just long enough to take some selfies and we were on the road again. To date it's only my second winter highpoint. The other being Mount Greylock in Massachusetts.
Other posts in this series: