It started with one word: “cold”. I was browsing Instagram on Saturday morning and found a photography challenge on the theme “cold”. I pushed aside my cosy throw blanket, stood up from the couch and looked out the window — snow and ice and bright sunlight — it was a beautiful winter day! So I thought, easy, I just have to step out the door and take a photo.
But snow doesn’t always mean cold. It can be above zero in the winter – I was overheating last week on our snowy walk through the park – and if I was going to go outside on a frigid day, I wanted to show how cold it actually felt. So I decided to go to the beach.
The temperature was -12 Celcius and rising slowly, so I decided to wait until afternoon. Of course taking pictures of the cold meant getting cold, so I layered up: wool socks and tall winter boots, lined windpants, three layers of sweaters plus jacket, scarf, two pairs of gloves and wool hat. I grabbed a spare battery and my camera, the XT2 with the 18-55 and 55-200 zoom lenses. (A zoom keeps the camera away from salty sea spray.)
I parked next to the beach, stepped outside, and immediately noticed the wind. The afternoon may have warmed up to -8, but the windchill brought it back down to -12. I wrapped my scarf tighter and took a few wide-angle photos of the beach before walking over to the rocks at one end.
It didn’t take long to reach the rocks, but I was already feeling the chill by the time I arrived. I was glad to see ice on the rocks, just as I had hoped. I switched to my telephoto and started taking photos of the rocks and the waves, pleased how the strong afternoon light emphasized the teeth of the icicles that had formed.
I’m sure it won’t be news to you, but metal cameras are cold magnets. And two pairs of gloves are not enough. After 10 minutes, I had to stuff one hand in my pocket while I tried to brace the camera on my shoulder – shooting sideways – with my other hand. After 15 minutes, my fingertips were numb. I stuffed both my hands in my pockets and walked back to the car. I was glad I chose a location close to a parking lot!
What would I do differently next time? Hand warmers, one in each pocket, would have been really smart. And I had forgotten to bring my flip-top mitts, to keep my hands warm when I wasn’t taking photos. And yes, there will be a next time because the forecast is for more arctic weather. It is winter, after all.
Have I mentioned that I don’t like being cold? It’s a good thing I do like photography!
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