How I Got the Shot: Platform Tent Reflection

Platform tent reflected in a pond at the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake

Exposure Data:
1/30 second, f/5, ISO 200
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 80-200mm lens set at 200mm.

From the 19th to mid-20th centuries, fishermen, hunters and recreational pleasure-seekers erected hundreds of platform tents on Adirondack islands. The Saranac Lakes islands alone hosted more than 300. All were removed from state-owned islands by 1974, when public leases expired. Yet platform tents retain a romantic legacy of island camping in the Adirondacks. For more on the allure of Adirondack islands, see my article “Treasured Islands in Adirondack Life’s 2015 Annual Guide to the Great Outdoors.

I found this platform tent reflected in a pond on the grounds of the Adirondack Museum. I carefully chose my vantagepoint to include as much of the tent’s reflection as I could, without other distracting elements, and used a telephoto lens to further isolate it. I photographed the reflection as I saw it, upside-down. I later inverted the image to present the tent as a painterly abstract, a fitting tribute to the platform tent’s lakeside history in the Park.

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations to camera clubs, environmental groups and others. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute (API).  He will join Adirondack Life and API staff for the Adirondack Photography Weekend, September 18th-20th in Lake Placid. For details, and API’s full schedule of fall photo workshop offerings, see  For more on Mark’s work, visit