The Light in the White

Every few weeks, a New England winter typically offers an oasis of relative warmth in the form of a day with 40 or even low 50 degree temperatures. This provides much welcomed reassurance that winter will not last forever.

But not this year.

After I write this post, I intend to shovel the snow off my home’s roof in preparation for more weather drama expected tomorrow. Less than a week ago, a storm covered the region with a foot of snow, which has barely melted at all since temps have been locked at freezing or below ever since. Tomorrow’s forecast is for a weighty rain/snow/ice mix.

Time to get the ladder out.

Manic Metaphor
So at the back of my yard, a mulch bed extends out from end to end, outlined by solar lights placed every eight feet or so along the edge. Despite winter’s shortened days, one of the lights still manages to shine at sundown.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been continuously fixated on that lone late-day glint in the landscape.

I think I am subconsciously interpreting the bright spot to be some kind of beacon of hope. It seems to be a symbolic bulwark against the cold that is serving as a guiding light to spring. This is a stretch of my imagination for sure, but it’s been a long long winter.

Whatever that light represents, it has certainly given me reason to pause—and also an opportunity to take a few photos.

Cold Zone
Now I genuinely embrace and appreciate all four seasons, each with its diverse offerings, but I have a distinctly low tolerance for the cold:

  • My electric blanket is fired up nightly from September to June.
  • I’m most comfortable, meteorologically speaking, in August during the summer muggies.
  • No matter how many layers of cold I wear on a winter day, my teeth begin chattering and my eyes tear up within minutes of being outdoors.

2014-0216_REIgloves 056Nevertheless, I was determined to take some shots of that light. So off I went. As expected, my fingers locked up within minutes of being outside. (I wore my bike gloves to leave my fingertips exposed to operate the camera.)


So I am less than satisfied with what I produced. The images don’t capture the connection I had been feeling when watching that light from inside the house. Could I have done better? Definitely.

Perhaps it was my unwillingness to lie down on the frozen snowpack to attempt more interesting angles. And once within range, I barely changed my position as I took my shots. It may also have been the distracting voice in my head shrieking, “take the [profanity omitted] pictures and get back in the [profanity omitted] house.”

2014-0211_WhiteLight_ 092But maybe the onscreen/in-print images just can’t align with the mental one I created over the past few weeks. For now, my metaphors are resonating more strongly with me when viewing that light in real-time.

Perhaps I’ll appreciate these images after time passes and I have a fresh perspective. But that may not be for a good long while—probably not until sometime next August.

*  *  *

So what about you?
In general, to what extent does cold weather impact you, if at all? What is your strategy for shooting photos in the cold?

REI Bike Gloves:

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Filed under Hope, Photography

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