Baby, it's cold outside

This has been a tough winter. More so than usual it seems, but maybe it was because last winter was so mild.

As a kid I lived in the snow belt of Western New York. I don’t remember the schools closing just because it was cold or for less than a two-foot snowfall. And we lived in the unfortunate location of being a half block less than one mile of the school, the distance allowed for taking the bus.

Anyway, this recent cold snap reminded me of how the air and light change when it gets cold, really cold. Anywhere around the 0 degrees mark, give or take.

So I went out this week just after sunrise to see what I could see. Here are a couple of images from the jaunt. I was out and about for about 30 minutes, and could have gone longer but for the fact of having to take my gloves off to operate the camera. I don’t remember that piercing cold that settles in the joints and makes your fingers not want to cooperate.

Of note to photogs: Batteries die quick in low temps. Make sure you have a spare battery and keep it next to your body (or even better, take the battery out of the camera, keep it warm and then put it in the camera when your are ready to make some photos). Keep your camera inside your coat until you are ready to use it. Don’t shoot with the light, shoot against it. Look for patterns. Good luck.

The desaturated season

A Dogs DecisionI do not care for the type of winter the northern United States has to offer. Perhaps it's because I lived in the southern states for so many years. As a child, I lived in the land of the Lake Effect in Western New York. I A Winter Walkthought 200 inches of snow a year was normal. I never learned to ski. I could only wobble across the ice on skates. Cold, snow, sleet, ice and slush are not my friend.

But I can endure them, and I do, so I can go on walks this time of year. I’m not a power walker, usually just a bit faster than a stroll. That way I can observe and watch and wonder.

The best part of winter is that fresh snow transforms the landscape, converting the world to grayscale.  TurnaroundThat is something I am comfortable with, having photographed nearly exclusively in black and white the first 20 years of my career. When out in the snow I imagine my camera is using Tri-X or Plus-X instead of pixels.

Patterns emerge, curves are more defined, and contrast rules the landscape. And, you can see what has gone before you. Footsteps are a winter thing (sand and mud excluded). What Is Composition?And it surprises me I don't see more photographers out and about.

So I look for the symmetry, the contrast, the curve and the footstep.

Note: All photos taken with an iPhone 4.