Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow Photography: A Farce

Though it is still pretty cold, I noticed the snow was beginning to melt off the roof. I've been wanting to take monochromes of the snow all week, but hadn't dared brave it until today.

Why I thought today would be a good day, I do not know. Maybe it was because yesterday (when I was originally going to take my monochromes) I ended up sipping a latte and eating a dried out biscotti while typing the story of how I got to the coffeehouse... in the coffeehouse. When I got home from that, it was too dark for photography.

Earlier today, I blazed a new trail, somewhat literally, getting to work. I always take this shortcut through the lumberyard parking lot to avoid making this funky sharp turn. When I turned off at the lumberyard, though, I noticed that much of it wasn't plowed--including the part I was driving through. Fortunately, I didn't get stuck.

Fast forward about three hours...

I'm finally getting around to taking these monochromes. I got out my tripod and camera and headed out into the cold. Armed with the camera case around my neck and the tripod case flung over my shoulder like a Continental soldier, I slipped around to the backyard where the packed snow path ended and abruptly turned to about ten inches of snow.

Looking down at the tracks in the snow, I wasn't paying attention to where I was going and reached my destination a little earlier than intended. I realized this when a small twig poked the side of my face. Good thing I had my glasses on...

I jerked away from the tree, somewhat overreacting, though more on instinct than anything else. Forgetting that I was on a small snow-covered slope, I quickly lost my balance and toppled into the snow. This would have been funny were it not for a few things:

1) Snow is very cold.
2) I had a new tripod with me.
3) I had a fairly new digital camera with me.
4) I didn't want to have to replace #2 or #3.
5) I couldn't seem to get up.

I flailed around for a while, making a not-so-angelic snow angel, while feeling the way I assume a fish out of water feels. Or the way I feel in water. Finally, I was able to get up, but my tripod case was dusted with snow. I looked at my camera case, which was, miraculously, still around my neck. It had a sifting of snow. Still, I didn't want it to melt, soak in, and ruin my camera, so I started brushing the snow off as quickly as I could. Eventually, I had to take my gloves off. Mistake. Instantly, all the heat in my hands and fingers evaporated into the air.

Then, I just like in the lumberyard parking lot earlier today, I realized I had made a huge mistake, but I was determined to follow through with my plan. Yes, the trees were almost snow-free by this point, and yes, I was standing in nearly a foot of snow on uneven terrain, and yes, my toes did feel like they might just fall off, but I didn't let that stop me. No sir. I took that tripod out of its case, hung the case on a tree branch (not the one that got my attention earlier), and I extended the first set of tripod legs. Couldn't seem to get the second set of extensions out, but no matter, I had enough height that I could get some cool shots.

By this time, the cold had gone to my head. I basically had no idea what I was doing, but I had to get those shots. So, I anchored the tripod in the snow, twisted my camera into it, and almost took a picture of whatever happened to be in range. Then I realized that the tripod was off-center. Oh yes. This was the hilly part of the yard. I just wanted to get it over with, so I took no time focusing or even picking a real subject. I just aimed my camera/tripod duo in the general direction of some trees and hoped for the best.

About four shots later, I was ready to go back to the house. I grabbed the tripod case off the tree branch, started to put the legs back, remembered that they were now covered with snow, opted to clean them off where it was warmer, put my now-useless gloves back on, and started running for the house.

After I wiped off my tripod and bag, I decided to let it all air dry a little more. During this time, I took a look at the monochromes. They weren't the greatest. The quality was superb because of the tripod, but the framing wasn't too hot. I think I have one shot that I actually like. I'm not even sure I'll share it--might just have to keep that one to myself.


BJ Roan said...

Great story. I think you should share...

Linnea W said...

I hope we get to see your monochrome prize on MM!

I slipped on an icy gentle slope about a month ago. My feet just flew out from under me. Luckily I landed on my padded buttock, but I ended up also falling on my upper still hurts! Maybe I should get my butt to the doc for an xray!?

I enjoyed your story and could picture your every move as you tried to capture that perfect shot!

Robin said...

Sounds like quite an adventure!

Patois said...

But do your ears hang low? (I can never hear "Like a Continental soldier..." without hearing that song.)

Brilliantly written saga.