and 45 Degrees
Have you ever punched yourself in the face? I’m not talking about getting punched in the face, that’s a different kind of pain. I’m asking if you ever flat out punched yourself in the face? It may be an odd question but it sets the stage for the self-inflicted punishment of a 10 hour drive from Jackson, Mississippi to Chicago, Illinois, in January.
I’m a focused driver when it comes to road trips. I put the pedal down until there is a low fuel light and stop just long enough to tank up, down a red bull, and maybe water the daisies. I figured if I left Jackson after breakfast (where it was 50 degrees) I could get home to Chicago in time for a late dinner (where the forecast was for 5 degrees and snow).
“Road Sign”–Took this the day before I left (it was in the mid-fifties).
Snow and cold are part of living in the Midwest, but that feeling of rolling out of Jackson on I55 wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans and ten hours later exiting I57 near Chicago with windshield wipers working fast to keep the snow off the windshield lets you know what winter (and sometimes fall or spring) is really like in the Midwest.
“Lake Renwick”–Taken the day after I got home (it was a sweltering in the low twenties).
Another grey day.
The Midwest, Snow, and Man v. Nature
Do you brag or do you bitch about the snow? Midwesterners tend to have a hate and love to hate relationship with the snow. We hate it when it snows, but we also love to brag about how we were out in it and were bad asses.
When the forecasts roll in there is the usual bitching about how bad the snow will be, how the roads probably won’t be cleared in time for work, and how people forget to drive in the snow. There is the usual grumbling about cleaning snow off cars, shoveling driveways, and salting sidewalks. And there is always the complaining about how it will be worse than last year or the year before that.
Then the snow arrives and we brag about how we managed to get to work even though the streets weren’t plowed and how we dodged the idiots who forgot how to drive in the snow. We boast about how much we shoveled (we don’t mention the snow blower) and how we got it done in record time. Finally, we complement our own bad assery for surviving a snow that was worse than last year or the year before that (even if it wasn’t).
The snow and the cold in the Midwest may not be as bad as Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” but we do like to bitch when it comes and brag about how we got out in it and survived.
A light snow.
When the street lights are still lit.
or The Satisfaction of Shooting in the Snow
Snow is part of life in the Midwest. We expect snow. We get snow. But the snow often comes when it isn’t expected, and it’s seldom that we get the amount that was in the forecast. It’s this unpredictable element that makes shooting in the snow a satisfying experience.
There is a wonderful quiet that comes with a snowy night. Streets empty and the general background noise of the city fades away. The snow changes the landscape. Prospective subjects present new perspectives when covered with snow. The forecast may not call for snow but it’s important to be ready for it. When the snow starts to fall it’s time to get the camera ready (my go to winter camera is a Mamiya 645), lace up a pair of warm boots, and wait for it to get so quiet you can almost hear the cold.
‘Snowy Street with Lights’
Snow in the Midwest is a given (it just not always predictable). This means there are always going to be opportunities to get out and shoot in the snow if you are prepared. Snowy nights can make for some great photographs if you are ready and willing to get a little cold.