Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Valley Forge Radisson Hotel and Casino at Night

I was busy all day Sunday. By the time I was free, the sky was clear and dark with a quarter moon shining brightly at the peak of its trip across the sky. I immediately thought about Valley Forge Park and the National Memorial Arch and the moon. I didn't hesitate, off I went to the park.

The park closes at dusk each day. However, there are four roads through the park that are open to traffic at all times. Those roads are as follows.  PA rte 23 that runs east to west.  PA rte 252 that runs north to south. Gulph Rd that is one of only three roads into a developed housing community in the southeast corner of the above map and County Line Rd that almost bisects the park north from south.

I entered Valley Forge from the west on PA rte 23, very close to General George Washington's Headquarters. Where rte 23 bends to the left I stayed straight onto Gulph Rd. Gulph Rd passes within 100' / 30m of the arch and then continues into the developed housing community.

I slowed my speed to a crawl as I traveled past the arch. I looked for the location of the moon. It was behind the arch but high in the sky. I was also aware there was a car approaching from my rear. I thought it might be a park ranger. You've read of my ranger encounters. Not wanting to confront a ranger, I continued on Gulph Rd towards Thomas Rd and the housing community.

The car was still behind me. I couldn't discern whether it was a ranger or not, so I continues on Gulph Rd past Thomas Rd and into the community. I was probably half way to the intersection with Richards Rd when the car turned off onto a side road. It wasn't a park ranger. I quickly made a U-turn and proceeded back towards the arch.

When I was again directly in front of the arch I could see the moon wasn't in the right position for a great photograph. I drove on. At County Line Rd I turned right. I thought there might be a place along that road that would give me the correct point of view to bring the moon closer to the arch for a good image. I drove slowly down the road ducking down and looking over my right shoulder to see out of the side window towards the arch and the moon.

There are several tall trees planted close to the arch that blocked a clear view of the arch as I drove. I thought I came upon the spot.  I stopped the car, opened my door and stepped out to get a good look back at the arch. I leaned on the roof of the car and took a long discerning look at the arch. I and the moon were too far from the arch to get a good photograph. I was disappointed. I got back into the car and continued towards rte 23. Keeping a sharp eye to the road not wanting to hit any deer.

So there I was, driving through Valley Forge Park at night. The park was closed. I was avoiding whitetail deer on a dark unlit curvy road. My mind was racing. I didn't want to waste my time or the trip. So I changed my goal.

Sometime within the last week, I decided I wanted to get on the rooftop of either the Valley Forge Casino or the nearby Radisson Hotel. I thought there might be some great images of the park from up there. Especially near sunset with the sky all red and orange and the park spread out between the casino and the fiery sky. In order to get to the rooftop, though, I needed to speak with someone at the hotel or casino. Someone with authority.

It was getting late in the evening. It was 20:30. I didn't think the person with authority would be working on a Sunday at that hour. I hoped, however, there would be someone at the hotel desk that could give me the name of the PR/marketing person and their phone number. So I headed to the Radisson Hotel. The taller of the two buildings.

I entered the hotel without my camera. I introduced myself as a local blogger writing about the park and explained how and why I desired to get onto the roof. After rejecting the suggestion I talk to someone in security, I requested the name and phone number of the PR/marketing person at the hotel. Without any further questioning I was given a name, phone number and hours of the day when I should call. Goal accomplished.

As I walked away from the hotel, my mind and eye turned to photography. I began to see possible images. I returned to my car, grabbed my camera and walked back to the hotel. I began to  

create some photographic images of the hotel

and casino.

Trip not wasted!

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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