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Tuesday, 19 February 2008



Thank you for the reminder of why I no longer live in Northern Minnesota! But, I now live where the winter rains beat against the side of the house for days on end. During a 'rain event' there is no place I'd rather be than in the darkroom. Pure therapy. Is there a reason you've 'liberated' yourself from a darkroom?

Best wishes for surviving 'til Spring,

Okay, Mike, after that post, I am no longer that homesick for my native city and state. Was +60F here in the NYC 'burbs on Mon. 2/18.

I grew up in Montreal and now live in Ottawa. A few hours after Wisonsin gets snowed on, it happens to us except we get more of it. The snowbanks on either side of my driveway are now so high, I can't see over them. My left arm is in constant lactic acid pain from heaving the snow up that high.

It's a Canadian cliché to complain about the weather, but man this year is something else. But, I have to say that I love it. And I would be out there shooting pics all the time except that so far this season, every time that I have had the time to take pics it's been grey and miserable, always the worst timing possible.

We should be grateful. Winter gets rid of insects and street gangs. And it stopped Hitler and Napoleon too. Let's pray that no breed of mosquito ever adapts to winter.

Set the EV compensation to +1 and go outside, it's beautiful.

Just eight "snow events" in two weeks? Here is Syracuse, NY, that's considered to be an example of Spring.

(The local record for consecutive days with measurable snowfall is around 44 or so.)

Move south Mike. My wife and I did a while back and have no regrets. It's a day off for me and we will most likely be shooing bees away while having lunch on the patio.

I think 4 days, snow and cold, kids off. Not to mention "sick" days, here, just downwind from the big lake.

I've had very good luck investing in snow blowers; usually much lighter "events" for a good period after the investment.

A good hat makes up for a bad barber, as well as snow events.


Well, here in NY we decided to enjoy winter by going ice skating on Monday, but with temperatures in the mid- to upper 60s the Wollman Rink in Central Park was covered with water. After the zamboni had attempted to improve things we got a sudden violent downpour of rain for about 5 minutes after which we returned to the ice/swimming pool and aquaplaned with abandon for an hour or so before walking home jacket-less, wet and warm.

This has been a wonderful winter! I have never had so many chances to take photos in clean and beautiful snow. I wish every Wisconsin winter was like this winter.

> the study has showed that two-thirds of our deer-season injuries requiring hospitalization are caused by hunters falling out of trees

I suspect the deer take no small measure of joy in this fact. (They only wish said hunters would climb a little higher.)

On the other hand... I'm still waiting for a proper dose of snow. Not terribly confident it will come though.

FWIW, there is an easy explanation for increased snowfall: global warming.
We are talking a few degrees of warming, which means that Winter is still very cold. But those few degrees put much more humidity in the air, resulting in bigger snowfalls when it would snow anyway.

I'm an old Wisconsin boy (Port Edwards/Wisconsin Rapids), so I can relate to all this snow and cold stuff...it really has warmed up since the 70's and 80's when I remember 6 weeks where it barely nudged above 0! Still, -12 is dangerously cold if you get stuck in the wind.

Regarding my Zeiss ZF Lenses review, I do label every “mouse over” and include a “How to Read” explaining them as well. But if the label can't be seen (eg really large images and/or small browser window), then it might be less clear, but the label is always there (excepting errors and omissions!).

Personally speaking, beet juice is something I've never tried. Prune juice has been enough for those few times when I've been impossibly stuck, but luckily I don't often need anything to restore my traction.

In Western Washington in 2006 we had something like 18 inches of rain in 12 hours at Mount Rainier. With interesting effect. Last fall we had similar events in the lowlands, and Interstate 5 between Seattle and Portland was 10 feet submerged for a couple of weeks. Later this winter they've been firing artillery at the mountains to make the snow behave while bored truckers waited at the highway passes.

But then I'm from North Dakota (Land of the Frozen Dead) and nothing since I moved away has been able to scare me as much as living there did.

Lucky you, Mike. The snowstorms have been going around the Twin Cities. We currently have a snow deficit, and I haven't been cross-country skiing since the holidays, though that is partly due to a lengthy bout with the flu.

I was really hoping, though, that you would tell us how your digital cameras performed in the cold. I'm still hanging on to my Nikon FM2 in case I ever go winter camping again.

Chuck (another former North Dakotan)

Nice ramble Mike,

I know, I know.......I'm done with it as well ( Especially the shoveling since my driveway is a courtyard I have to throw it at the neighboring building) but it sure is nice to look at and take a few pics of.

Hmmmm beet juice concoction is nifty. I wonder what the carpets in my apartment building would look like though?

Best to stay out of them trees with guns and liquor.

Soon it will be so freekin hot and buggy we can long for winter.

Never judge a day by it's weather.......

"This used to be the darkroom-intensive time of the year for me. Now that I've been liberated from my darkroom (which in my case is like a sun-worshipper being liberated from the beach—I always liked the darkroom)..."

Mike, if you liked the darkroom, why not un-liberate yourself? Film is fun. Shoot and/or print some!

Every time the temperature drops below thirty degrees here in San Antonio my frostbitten ears remind me of Wisconsin winters. Stay warm.

Mike ,
So what you are saying is that you live near a town where they spread beet juice on snowy roads?
As in new fallen snow intersected by beet red roads and beet red snow banks and beet red slush splashing onto the snow?

Why haven't I seen pictures of this ? It sounds like something you could turn into a tourist attraction , the "beet juice festival" or something.

Now I have visions of drunken deer hunters falling out of trees and traveling on beet red highways. Sounds like enough to sell to the Coen Brothers as a treatment, or maybe The Cat In The Hat with guns.

A friend who used to live up that way claimed there were two seasons; winter and road construction.

This contrasts with another contact in Fairbanks, who claims they have FOUR seasons; June, July, August, and Winter.

Love that hat!!! I'm sure you look quite good in it... All it really needs to complete the Wisconsin "look" is to be blaze orange in color and have the beer-can-hose set up. Down south here in Racine County (where it is a balmy 8 degrees) we get along with the lite version called a stocking cap:)

Chuck, I live just north of the Twin Cities, and I'm with you....I've cast an envious eye at Madison's forecast more than once this winter. I keep rooting for these storms to take a more northerly track but we have only had one appreciable snowfall since Christmas!

As far as winter camping with digital cameras, other than needing to swap out batteries more frequently (I keep a spare in an accessible pocket and keep alternating them as the cold really saps performance), the only real problem I've had with my DSLR is that the LCD screen can be quite hard on your nose when the camera becomes as cold as the surroundings. I saw -45 (actual temp, not windchill!) at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone about a month ago and when I put the camera up to my face it made my nose instantly cold. In hindsight I think I'm probably lucky I didn't end up with frostbite....

Well, Mike, as bad as you think you have it, we were -27F this morning and are going to be colder yet tomorrow. Add to that winds howling at 20-30 mph, making the wind chills are off the scale....figuratively, of course.

Winter is what makes the north so interesting. I don't know how those southern folks can live without a good, nose-freezing winter.

Grand Forks, ND

Don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining! Our big snowfall two weeks ago was GORGEOUS. A thick blanketing of perfect snow, not wet, not powdery.

And I readily admit that North Dakota kicks the crap out of Wisconsin when it comes to cold!

We're actually pretty lucky this winter. It's a good old-fashioned winter of the kind I remember as a kid. For a few years we've been having major snows pass to the south of us. (Same thing that's happening to Minneapolis this winter.) We're right in the gunsights of the storm systems this year. Sure is a real winter for a change, I'll say that much.

Mike J.

What's snow. Here in outback Australia we get bull dust. its red, its fine as talc and hides the craters in what our shire council laughably call roads. Hmmmm snow! I'll have to check that one out. Oh temperature 115 f. I fantasise about below zero!!

I have lived in California since birth, first being raised by my parents in the San Francisco Bay area where my father's darkroom in the 1950s was adjacent to the rumpus room downstairs and under the kitchen. Thus, not being exposed to outside weather, he and I could make prints any day of the year. I now live in Southern California and my darkroom is in my garage. I live near the busiest freeway intersection in the U.S. as well as three houses away from a very busy major street, both of which realities cause major dust. Thus, I cannot make prints in my darkroom when the wind is blowing the dust around, for the wind creates static and dust collects on my negatives incessantly. When it is not blowing, however, I can make trillions of prints in my darkroom and I use cans of Dust-Off to ensure there is no speck of dust on my negatives. My mate and I (he is from Pennsylvania and left it because of a Ragweed allergy as well as a hatred of below-zero weather) will never leave California and I will never dismantle my darkroom, for it gives me immense satisfaction when I am making prints just like I did in my father's darkroom when I was a small kid.

I'm in the Madison area--Middleton, at least for a few more weeks. Now this is a real winter. I'd feel a lot better about it, though, if I hadn't followed up a bit of frostnip on the tip of my nose by throwing out my back. My chiropractor says it's been great for business, but he's getting pretty tired of it, too.

Well here in Ann Arbor, the weather this winter has been nothing short of bizarre. We are at approximately the same latitude as our Waukesha Great Lakes region friends, but whoa what a difference. Most of those snow storms that you have experienced have fallen here as rain. That's right, rain. In the middle of February. So the temperature goes up into the 40's and we get several days of rain instead of snow, and then it plunges way below freezing and we get ice skating rinks for roads. Then it warms up again and rains and the process repeats itself. We have had way more rain then snow this winter.

I know I sound like a cantankerous old geezer ("Young man, when I was your age I walked 10 miles to school barefoot through the snow! Uphill! Both ways!!), but I have never seen this kind of winter weather in Michigan during my lifetime. In January of 2007 we did not have one flake of snow the WHOLE MONTH. Anybody who doubts climate change should come stay here for awhile. Rain in February! What's next, snow in July?? Harrumph!!

"Soon it will be so freekin hot and buggy we can long for winter."

No amount of heat and humidity can ever make me long for winter. I promise myself every hot day of the summer that I won't complain, because I remember how miserable I am during the winter.

Oh the joys of Winter.....now having moved to where they don't deliver snow at home I can look fondly back to Montreal and Chicoutimi (150 miles north of Quebec City) winters. 40 below was not unheard of but because it was before wind chill was invented we weren't nearly a cold as today's wimps. We took pictures outside, keeping the camera warm under ones parka. Couldn't help longing for summer, you know the day they change the ice on the lake, when you could do one-handed shots so as to swat mosquitoes and black flies with the other.
Keep warm.

Strangely, I hunted all my life growing up and I never once drank while hunting. With my father, grandfather, and other relatives, as well as anyone we hunted with, to combine alcohol with firearms or hunting was a huge no-no. You wouldn't even think of it. In the years since (when I still lived in the US) I never met a hunter in the woods who was drunk or had been drinking. Forgive me, but I sorta think that the drunk hunter stereotype is just that---as seems to be borne out by your stats.

Did photographers get drunk in the darkroom? I mean come on, folks didn't like to hang out there just to whiff the chemicals did they?

After it rained for a solid (as in 7 days) week on deer hunting trip, I prevailed on my buddy and the next year we ditched the rifles and went for a week in August to the same creek and valley for a week of "beer hunting". Lawn chairs and T-bones, taking our ease, so to speak . A Lawn chair is a lot closer to the ground to fall out of.

People who have moved elsewhere talk about having "4 seasons". Here on the Pacific coast at the Cal/Ore border it is Wet or not-Wet. We have 29 varieties of Rain, and while I love it all, since I started walking around with quality glass, I am a little more cautious going outside. I do not envy anyone the cold, and truthfully speaking, I think I would rather live in Tahiti.

Perhaps one day I will write up some of my drunk-hunter stories from my years in Vermont. I was literally almost killed by a hunter who was so drunk at 8:30 in the morning that he could hardly stand up and evidently could not speak. I've got a couple of fine stories, unfortunately firsthand! I'm the last one to paint all hunters with the same brush--I'm sure there are many like you and your relatives--but the stereotype is no myth, I'm afraid.

Mike J.

One year I hunted for mice in my kitchen. The herd was thick and needed to be culled. I used my son's high chair as a tree stand. I'd sit in that thing for hours, drinking heavily, eating egg sandwiches, singing pop songs.."and windy has stooormy eyes."

I was successful and bagged more than twenty mice that year. The worst part about it wasn't falling out of my stand, though I did that every time I pulled off a shot. The worst part was fixing the damn holes in the drywall from the 12 gauge scatter. We left the badly shredded cabinets as a reminder to the rodent demons...pop goes the weisel on the stovetop would not be tolerated. It's one thing to steal neccesary food, it's a whole 'nother thing to taunt the host.

I was wishing for snow since the winter started. We only had several inches during Christmas/New Year here in Zagreb, on the other side of the world. It was pretty cold a couple of times since, something like -14 Centigrades, but...

Yesterday it was a beautiful spring day. I don't know the temperature, but you could go out with your jacket wide open and I even felt inclined to take a photo of the first crocuses I saw this year.

I don't wish for snow anymore. I now wish for the spring to come barging in, not just peek in like that.

Re: the beet juice link.

I live in the city mentioned in the article and the streets and snow are not colored, at least not noticeably, by the beet juice/salt solution. Thus, no photographic subject.

Freeze your KATUSCHKA off??
That a new one on me. Is that a Wisconsin thing?

I hope the weather won't have a deleterious effect on our precious national cheese resources..

Though I'm from Minnesota, I have a cabin in Wisconsin and go deer hunting every year (sometimes from a tree stand) and once saw some statistics put together by the Iowa DNR that said the most common serious injuries sustained in outdoor recreation of all kinds came from hunters falling out of deer stands. Not drunks, just guys who fall asleep. Because of the way they fall -- they tend to curl forward -- the injuries are usually to the skull and spine, and if not fatal, are very often crippling.

I've never seen a drunk with a gun in his hand in the woods, but I've sure seen a lot of guys drunk at night, who had guns in their hands a few hours earlier. The Wisconsin backroads after eight o'clock at night, during hunting season, are IMHO much more dangerous than the woods during the day...


"I live in the city mentioned in the article and the streets and snow are not colored, at least not noticeably, by the beet juice/salt solution. Thus, no photographic subject."

Thats a shame. I was envisioning a great swath of Wisconsin with borscht covered roads.

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