I don't know what drew him to the same illuminated spot on the same frigid night at precisely the same time. But I knew it was him the moment that I saw him standing there, looking at his camera, mounted on his lightweight, sturdy tripod.
It's not the first time we encountered each other like this. Earlier this year, at the beginning of my Hog's Back Project, on another frosty winter's evening, I saw a familiar Mini Cooper pull into the parking lot, next to my own car, as I was heading to my spot. I thought, at the time, it could be James' car, but I wanted to get to my spot quickly, get to my position, get my shot, and get out. If it was my photo and social-media friend, I would know soon enough.
Last night, as I drove along Echo Drive, where it comes to a dead end at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, I told myself, "Good God, that's James." I pulled up to him and asked him where he parked his car: there were No Parking signs along both sides of the narrow road. He had parked further away, along one of the side streets on the Lansdowne side of the Rideau Canal.
Too far for my purposes, I thought. I just wanted to get in, take my shots, and get out. I decided to risk it, chose to park in one of the two spaces that were reserved for Bell vehicles. What were the chances that two such trucks would come at this time of day? And besides, I would be close enough to run to my car and move it if that ever came to pass.
The iron gates that, in the past, have blocked me from approaching this former monastery, were open, and James and I decided to cross the line to get a closer vantage. It was only a few minutes later, while both of us were engaged in long exposures, that those automatic doors closed, keeping us inside the borders that posted No Trespassing signs.
The second sign that I was to disobey that evening.
We were trapped, so we decided that we may as well continue with what we had set out to do, to keep working until our fingers and toes told us it was time to go. Which, in this unseasonably frigid weather, wasn't long.
As luck would have it, around the same time that we started to complain about the cold, a vehicle from within the grounds moved toward the gates. We gathered our equipment and followed. Only our footprints and the three, triangular holes of our tripod legs would reveal our presence.
If you haven't seen the photography of James Peltzer, check out his Flickr album.
On second thought, don't: he's a much better photographer than I am.
I'll show my work tomorrow, for Wordless Wednesday.