Photograph by Nick Zantop
Ashley and I headed to Ocala National Forest in North Florida for some primitive camping. In a state overrun by population and development, finding a place where you can enjoy dark skies and wilderness can be tough, but Ocala National Forest is one of Florida’s wilder spots. Located in the center of the northern part of the state, it encompasses more than 600 square miles of pine forest, prairie, rivers, lakes, and springs where wildlife sightings are common.
During this visit in the spring, the temperatures plunged to 37° F at night, making us glad that we were sharing what is technically a single person backpacking tent — the Eureka Solitaire. While it’s designed for a single camper — and some reviewers seem to feel it’s too small for even that many — we don’t have any trouble fitting into it along with our sleeping bags. At only 2 pounds 9 ounces, it ends up being lighter than the camera gear I’m always carrying.
As Ashley was arranging the sleeping bags inside the tent while I made sure the fire was out, I saw that the scene of the illuminated tent surrounded by darkness would make for a great photo. I grabbed my camera and to capture the shot from a low angle I placed it on my hat on the ground and used the bulb setting to leave the shutter open for nearly two minutes. To get the tent evenly lit, I asked Ashley to slowly paint the back wall of the tent with the flashlight from the back of the tent to the front of the tent.