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Friday, 03 January 2014


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Glad you didn't take a portrait on the tracks...



I have so been there, done that. I take all sorts of odd routes to and from places simply hoping to see a photographic opportunity. Sometimes out the window.
And yes, it is a bazillion degrees below anything tolerable and getting worse. Still, will probably require some photos be taken so I'll get out there if only for a couple of minutes.

Really like the 2nd shot.

It was -40 windchill here (Ottawa, Canada) first thing this morning. Think of what it must have been like for Napoleon's soldiers or the WW2 German troops stalled by the Russian winter. Or the starving Russian troops. You were only out of the car for a few minutes, headed to dinner.

I love winter photography.

Okay, growing up in the NY/NJ area and starting work in construction at age 14, I used (still do when I'm charged up over something) the "F" word as a comma, period and exclamation point while speaking. I've never used it when when writing or emailing so this is a first. The second picture is nice. The railway station picture is F'ING gorgeous. I love it. Thank you for sacrificing your body to get the shot.

Happy New Year


PS: my wife just read your tale and cracked up laughing too.

So, but, like, what's the new lens?

My car driver window attracts the most ice, so is always the last one to be capable of opening. Perhaps I can sit in back where the window opens no problem and drive with a phone just like James Bond did.
Inside my place where it's warm, looking out doesn't fare any better. My west window appears to not have been cleaned since installed (1971), but I know I cleaned it last summer.

Those who have only lived in benign climates won't understand - how could they?
The rails shot is lovely. Lithium batteries are a Godsend.

Mike, I love your winter fotografy AND comments about freezing your fingers off. They remind me why I'm SO happy my parents moved us to the desert (Phoenix) from the snowbelt (Minnesota*). THANKS, Dad & Mom. TY, too Mike. The RR-tracks pic is very nice; is that house WAY down the tracks the depot? (I guess it's a short lens.)

So...have you bought tickets to the Packers/SF game?

* MinE-SOta, a wonderful place...to be from. :-)

Looks like an interesting lens. I Like Jay Z, particularly the early shit. The pun, ouch!! And, the second shot is brill.

Happy New Year.

Oh, get yourself some decent, fairly priced snow pants..Columbia's are good (sportmart or the like). If you do it, you WILL thank me later. And it WILL change your winters in a huge way...ask some of these other mopes..I'll bet ther'er a few slipping on some action gear.

Reading along at first I thought "so it was four o'clock ..." and you were meeting other photographers for a sunrise photoshoot.

Silly me! The sun won't rise until nearly 8:00 in the AM right after the new year... yeah, and I'm probably still typing "2012" on my e-checks, too. ;)

"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."

Yes. Yes it is. And I don't think I've ever seen it expressed as well in both word and image.

Thank you, Mike, for reminding me why I grab that hippy strap on my way out the door every day. It would have just about killed me to have to admit to missing that shot of the railroad station because I didn't have a camera along.

I have those memories. Other times other places and no camera. Those memories will die with me. With a camera in hand, perhaps someone else will see what I did once upon a time.

Your "hard to start / hard to stop" epithet is lovely and so true. It would be lovely if the "hard to start" bit was easier to overcome and if there were techniques to assist in this - smaller cameras help, as does a lack of lens choice; also, not having a case means faster start-up.... Even allowing for all 3 of these, though, sometimes isn't enough to get the shutter actuated.

It got cold in San Diego today as well. I had to put my jacket on, it went below 65.

I feel so bad for the Chargers whom have been practicing here all week, and have to play the Bengals on Sunday.

What a great way to start the New Year Mike!
I am impressed because you had to take the pictures, rather than miss them. Beautiful work, by the way. I am one of those people who love winter photography, even went out at 7am to the (frozen) marshlands on Christmas morning. A fool, but a happy one.

What, no high school senior cleverly posed lying across those cold tracks? I'm disappointed.

Enjoy the warm up this weekend, Mike. We're gonna be back in old man winter's root cellar on Monday and Tuesday with lows approaching absolute zero.

I envy folk who have a REAL winter. Here in England we haven't had temps below about 5 C yet, so boring.

OK, I swear I'm not trying to be a b@ll buster, but didn't you recently have several posts about the dangers of photographing on the tracks? :)

Great photos both. I like the sunlight in the first photo and the lamp light in the second. It's all about light?
yes, sometimes we suffer to take a photo but if it comes out good it's a satisfaction! In case it doesn't we'll do a better one next time, suffering again probably!

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!

I like that second shot, Mike.

Nice shots Mike and I understand being caught up in the moment only to realize the consequences afterwards. I'm glad someone already picked up on the irony of the railroad shot and I too wonder what lens was worth risking your fingers for.

Ditto about the cold. I was shoveling snow and my right ear (facing the -8 F wind) felt like it had died.

As to the lens...

1. The photos have a 2:3 aspect
2. The perspective is about normal

This HAS to be the new Nikkor 58mm f/1.4 G lens!

The Deep Freeze finally reached the New York metropolitan area last night. It was -1F outside my house around dawn this morning. With wind chill making it feel like -10. That's cold for this part of the country and I suspect we're going to feel more weather like this in years ahead.

I took a few shots of the snow with my E-PM2 and actually had no problem working without my gloves for about five minutes. I wouldn't push it longer than that, however. The camera also worked fine in the cold - at least for that length of time.

I grew up in Montreal before they invented wind chill so 20 below felt like 20 below. It seemed easier to bear.
Shooting from the car with a zoom is the way to go, you don't have to worry about condensation on the lens when you step outside.

Happy New Year Mike


Mike, you're lucky it was only -160C. It could've been worse. It could've been -160K!


Heh. Showed your railroad station shot to my son and his comment was "Polar Express inbound!" It does look magical that way.

I'm guessing it's an Olympus 45mm f1.8 micro 4/3

Think positively about those minus 160 degree temperatures. At least you didn't have to worry about your film breaking.

Mike, I'm glad your new lens worked well under 160º C! ;)
Speaking of which - although you won't mention it, I'd guess, judging by perspective only, it is a standard lens. I'd say something like 55mm or thereabouts.

Writing from the northern edge of the Canadian prairies, I will rise virtuously above the temptation to compare length of the red column in our thermometers ("Mine is way shorter than yours!") and go to get another armload of firewood from the toboggan.

Happy 2014 everybody, whatever the temperature!

Whatever happened to your love of b/w and disinterest in colour! Only kidding well done too very fine images Mike,above and beyond the call of duty in my book,a true artist willing to suffer for your art.

That 24 T/S is one sweet lens! Or is it the 45?

Mike replies: I did bear that in mind........ but I was standing four or five feet away from the tracks when I took that shot.

A MINIMUM of 10' away, and a clear escape route if you need to beat feet in a hurry. Four or five feet and something dangling or whipping the air from a center beam or pulp car and bye bye photog. I have 12 years of trackside shooting and the only time I even get within 10' of trackside is at a station or with a buddy when we can watch each others backs.

Who cares which lens it is? A good photo is a good photo, even if it's taken with the proverbial bottom of a Coke bottle. My late Dad was a railroad man all his life. He grew up beside the tracks and imbued in me a love of rail. Thanks, Mike.

Doesn't look all that cold.

glove liners and glomitts (fold-back mittens) are some of those "essential" accessories from several posts back.

Miike, what does it matter if you keep the lens or not? You have posted photos so I would think you are seeking comment pertaining to the lens, so why not identify the beast.?

[Hi Howard, I'm not seeking comments about the lens. The post is about the cold. The only reason I mentioned the new lens at all was to explain what got me out into the cold in the first place. --Mike]

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