I finally replaced the lens I busted on my ride to Colorado Bend, and it just so happened a building under construction caught fire near my house.
I figured it would be too hectic down by the hotel, so I drove across the dam, parked my car on the side of the road. SLR and tripod in hand, I scrambled up the hill in what must have looked like the nerdiest battle charge ever. Thank god it was out too dark to see from the road. My sandals where slipping all over the wet grass, and I went ankle deep into a few fire ant mounds.
I set up my first shot, as I looked back down the hill I noticed lights approaching my truck, parked by the road at the bottom of the hill I had just conquered. The light of another passing car lit up the reflective decals on the first car's door. I sighed when I recognized the word. "P O L I C E".
I'm more familiar than most with what can happen when the police find you in a place you "shouldn't" be. Fortunately the police were not looking for a skinny white guy wearing sandals, shorts, and glasses that night. I approached the officer with my camera in hand to demonstrate my square-ness, which I assume was the right move because he then immediately began to talk to me about the fireball in the distance. He had a voice like Bo Duke and freckles that made me certain he was even younger than me.
After a few minutes he went to serve and protect somewhere else, so I hiked the dam again and set up my camera. Smoke poured across woods between the fire and the dam, and the lights from cars crossing the dam made the passing smoke come alive as it crawled out over the water.