So it was four o'clock and I was meeting people at five, and I have a new lens. Naturally I wanted to try it out even though it's the dead of winter and I have nothing to photograph. It's approximately 160 below zero outside (estimated) (and that's Celsius), so I was pretty determined to stoutly hew to my wimpish precepts and stick in the car, preserving the clarity of the lens by lowering the window to snap a quick grab shot then raise it again before too much cold spilled in.
Then the sun came out as I was passing near the town's old decommissioned railway station. We have not seen the sun in eighty days (estimated), so I quick parked the car and hopped out. The new lens is one of those crazy lenses that will not zoom like a proper lens ought, and I wanted to make the station building a little bigger in the frame, so I headed down the tracks.
About thirty paces. As far as I got. You see the limit of my progress above. That railway station was suddenly quite big enough.
And anyway who cared? The wind was blowing sheets of snow crystals and the air, as I have said, was slightly warmer than the freezing point of nitrogen. I suppose I should have known better. Every particle of heat rapidly drained from my (gloveless) fingers. Dang near freezus me bejabbers off—Jay Z was it cold! (I had apparently stopped thinking in English.) Snapped a couple of frames. Not only did not stop to chimp but barely looked through the viewfinder. Scampered back to the car. My fingers were tingling with pin and needle jabs and I had only been out in it for three minutes, no more. Maybe five.
Perfectly good pictures can be got from the car.
I like the new lens, I think, even though this sort of picture is not what I had in mind when I acquired it. However now I think I have some combination of frostbite and exposure, as well as a renewed admiration for people who brave cold, the fools.
And it's supposed to get colder.
I don't think I have ever put this in words before but I've often thought it:
It's hard to start photographing
it's hard to stop photographing.
I was late to dinner.
(TOP is off tomorrow. See you on Sunday I hope.)
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Mike C: "Forget the fingers! What about the lens? Which one did you get???"
Mike replies: Not gonna say yet. Because a) I'm not sure if I'll keep it, and b) if I mention what it is, then I get emails and comments for the next three months asking me when I'm going to write about it. It's better to wait to say what it is until I actually do write about it, and then people can get on my case all at once. :-)
ShadZee (partial comment): "It got cold in San Diego today as well. I had to put my jacket on—it went below 65."
Paul Bass (partial comment): "Twelve below in Midcoast Maine last night. High temperature yesterday was 6, with a wind chill of –25. It is supposed to warm up to a balmy 17 today!"
Gordon Lewis: "Thanks for reminding us that, despite how infrequently you show your photos, you are actually a very good photographer."
Mike replies: Thanks kindly Gordon, but it's not that I show them infrequently, it's that I make them infrequently.
M. Stanton: "In photo school we had a to take a photo showing perspective. The teacher said he would fail anyone who took a train track photo. He was sick of them. That has put me off rail photography since."
robert quiet photographer (partial comment): "Great photos both. I like the sunlight in the first photo and the lamp light in the second. It's all about light?"
Mike replies: It is—as far as I'm concerned anyway. That's the big secret. Just look for good light.
Karel Kravik: "Didn't you write about not shooting on the railway tracks lately? :-) "
Mike replies: I did bear that in mind, and walked beside the tracks, not between them. It doesn't look like it because of the longish focal length of the lens, but I was standing four or five feet away from the tracks when I took that shot.