Today started bright and early for me. Well, more accurately, still dark and early. At 5:00 am I got up to enjoy the task I had set for myself today: Get images of the sunrise at Niagara Falls.
I live around 40 minutes away in Port Colborne. At that time of the morning there is little if any traffic, and on a Summer day you can wind down the window and listen to nature waking up around you as you head into the rising sun. I find that few things lighten the spirits more. With a beverage from Tim Hortons to sustain me, I arrived as planned in the perfect spot at the perfect time: Table Rock.
Inches from the falls, Table Rock is a tourist destination with a food court, restaurants, shops. The usual things you would expect in a place like Niagara Falls. This is where 90% of duck-face selfies with the falls in the background are taken. However, this popular tourist and photography spot is almost entirely vacant at this time of day. Photographers love to congregate here at dawn. Time seems to stop as the most breathtaking view of the sun coming up through the mist unfolds. And no tourists to get in the way.
So here I am. On time, on target, and ready to rock and roll. That’s when things started to go wrong.
Last time I came here, Parking lot A, a short walk away, was free until 8:00 am. This not broadly advertised detail was taken advantage of by all locals wanting to shoot sunrise over the falls, as you could be in and out at leisure without cost: The parking lot was rarely empty. Not so today.
On my arrival I was greeted with a sign which said parking is now free only until 6:00 am. And since full sunrise this morning was not until 6:22, I had arranged to arrive just after. Bum, I said to myself.
It will now cost $28 if I want that photo, which gives me parking until noon. I only needed at most a half hour. Sorry, Niagara, I don’t want that photo that much. Not today. I drove on.
After a pleasant ride around town enjoying the sights, sounds, and excitement of a slumbering tourist area waking, I made my way to the top of the escarpment. From here you can look down on the falls from above. Not quite Table Rock, but still a spectacular perspective offering a viewpoint that encompasses the Niagara river stretching right back to the horizon.
Stopping here is not permitted, since the road would be permanently blocked with people enjoying this view. At this time of day the chance of getting a ticket in this tow-zone are minimal, so I took a calculated risk and stepped out of the vehicle long enough to take five steps to the rail. And got this.
Not the shot I planned, but it will do. It’s a memory that I survived to see another wonderful dawn. Enough to ensure the trip was not a bust. Even though I didn’t get the shot I wanted, I was happy.
After this I drove around for a while and spent one very pleasant hour just sitting by a creek I found. Watching fish swim, flies dance, and listening to the crickets and the woodpeckers and the frogs.
Roll with what you have, that’s what I say. Life is good. Onward…