February 8, 2010

Did Somebody Say Snow?

blizzard 2

Top: Panorama of the entrance to the park across the street from our house taken during the blizzard (part of a series of photographs I’ve been taking). Bottom: Our street as I struggled to get back inside (our house is at the extreme left). Click on either image for a larger view.

We knew it was coming. They had been warning us for days. The good people of the nation’s capital thought we were seasoned winter citizens after the last big snow in December. But at the last minute we all panicked and cleared grocery stores of anything that was edible (it was good to hear the veggie and fruit aisles were barren for even when we panic we seem to be a healthy lot).

I don’t mind being snowed in, but only if I’m comfortably ensconced in a Swiss chalet with waiters to bring me food and drink and resort tractors to clear the walks for my afternoon stroll. Yes, it’s nice to look out my window at the gently falling stuff. But I can never forget what I am about to face once the precipitation ends. Waiter, would you be so kind and bring me my ergonomic snow shovel?

The snow started Friday evening. And by Saturday morning it was once again a winter wonderland. Of course, it was my artistic duty to immediately go outside to take a few photographs. I bundled up, put on my heavy duty snow boots and brought a soft wipe to gently clear my lens of the morning’s cold dew. It was coming down pretty heavy and when I took my first step off our porch and I immediately sunk to my knees in that dew. For a moment I felt like I was going to drown. It was a funny reaction don’t you think?

I had to first get to what I thought might be the street. It was hard to tell where our property ended and the road began. I waded through the snow, thinking this must be what wading through molasses was like —or better yet, the La Brea Tar Pits. I could feel that mammoth’s fear of entrapment. I slowly made my way to the park’s entrance about 50 feet away. Once I got there I decided I’d make a panorama rather than the single shots I had been taking on previous sessions. Using a stitching software I’d come back to the warmth of my computer monitor and put them together. It was cold and the wind was starting to pick up. I took my photos, doing a few additional exposures for good measure and started my trek back.

My survival instinct under control, as I got closer to the house I looked down the street and saw the second scene. Brown and white all over, with just a touch of bright yellow. Perfect.

Creative energy expended, I opened the front door with my photographic booty where my daughters were waiting with a nice hot cup of coffee. Who needs a Swiss chalet?

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