Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-03-24 – Snow and ice

_MG_7831Snowy and icy roads, aching legs, back and feet – must be spring in Minnesota.  Kind of one of those moments when the state says, “Springtime?  Nope, only kidding!”

Sunrise Stats!
First light: 6:36 AM
Sunrise: 7:06 AM
Daylight: 13 hrs, 21 min

The kind of morning where no matter how beautiful it might be outside or how fine the walk feels, you still look forward to getting back home and curling up under warm covers.

On the other hand… the new snow coating is spectacular.  It’s wet and heavy and a bit slick in places, but it looks so fine on the branches, accenting the dark of the bark.  It’s the kind of morning where you spend some time torn between wonder at being the first person to walk the path, capturing sights that are only visible to the dedicated, and disbelief that you would have conceived of a project like this which requires such sacrifices.

_MG_7835Consternation and inconvenience; that’s what these late spring storms are all about.  And yet no winter is complete without them.  And we didn’t get anywhere near the amount the weatherfolk were predicting – which is more often the case than the reverse.

Now, if you’ve never experienced a late spring snow, there are a few things to keep in mind when you go out to take pictures of the white-coated trees.

  1. Allow extra time to get where you’re going.  Sure, the snow is going to melt right smart quick; but until it does, it’s packed hard to the road and slicker’n hydraulic fluid on a garage floor.
  2. Dress for the wind, not just the temperature.
  3. Boots.  Always, always boots.  You have no idea what the surface is like under the new coating; there could be mud, icewater, ice, or you might be about to step into a deceptive deep drift.
  4. _MG_7838When behind the wheel, SLOW DOWN.  Increase your following distance, because you have no idea when you might hit an unexpected patch of wet ice.
  5. Overexpose your photos a bit to make the snow white instead of a sickly shade of bluish; remember, the internal software wants to make the image neutral – as many dark pixels as light – so you have to adjust your ISO, aperture or shutter speed so the light meter is a stop or two above center on your indicator.
  6. If something catches your eye, make a point of getting a shot of it – or two, or three.  You’re never going to see that exact combination of snow, tree branch/building/fence, and light again.  Preserve it.
  7. Carry a spare pair of gloves.  If you touch any of this kind of snow, your hands will be instantly soaked and cold, cold, cold.
  8. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!  And take a little time away from the camera to simply admire and appreciate.

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