Not Much of a Winter!

It is currently 64 degrees outside and it is still February!  I think we got robbed this winter; only one snow storm of consequence and very little in the way of freezing temperatures.  Frankly, I count on those freezing temps to provide the opportunity to make “frozen abstracts” with ice covering and containing the familiar landscape.  But, you always need to take the opportunities that present themselves in outdoor photography, and this year my opportunities happened in the storm drain behind my house.

We live a couple of hundred yards south of Huntley Meadows Park, a wetlands.  When it fills up, some of the overflow comes past my deck on its way to the Chesapeake Bay. The two photographs in today’s posting were made a couple of days apart.  In the first one, there was a couple of inches of water which had frozen solid during a very short cold snap, followed by a couple of days cold rain.  Although it was warm enough for rain, the ice remained for a while.  In this photograph, water is passing around objects embedded in the underlying ice.

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A couple of days later, the water was still flowing while the underlying ice had melted.  In this case, cold overnight temperatures created a thin filigree of ice that remained for a very short time after daylight.

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I was hoping for a more iconic winter to photograph, but I suppose this will have to do until next year.

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SX70 Abstract …

Over forty years ago I worked in a camera shop, which meant that I got to play with the new toys when they came out.  In 1972, the toy of the year was the Polaroid SX70.  It was a very plush toy, with a space-age folding aluminum body covered with a rich, brown leather.  It had a new type of film pack in which the print was contained in a sealed pouch, embedded in a clay substrate. Unlike its predecessors, the SX70 spit out a complete, stable image which developed in your hands, but without the chemical waste and mess of the other Polaroid processes.  The images were pretty neat, too – brilliant but with subtle colors that almost had a glow to them.

As I said, I got to play with the toys when they came in and I experimented with the SX70, shooting several packs of the film. This image was from one of the less conventional experiments, wherein we broke a film pack apart to see what made it work and used a straight edge of some sort of straight edge to push the chemicals in the little pouch across the light sensitive backing to see what we might get.  I recall that we used various sorts of styli to push the chemicals around to achieve fanciful patterns and abstractions.

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This image is the only survivor of those experiments, having survived laying on top of my messy desk for at least the last decade.  We also have a couple of SX70 photos in the family archive, but those have not faired as well as this despite better care.  Barb has a shot of me from that time in the frame of the dresser mirror. The image media – the substrate –  has dried out and become very brittle over the years (somewhat like me!), and it is beginning to break up (like me, again!) much like peeling paint, although the colors are still brilliant and stable (not at all like me!).  I wonder how our digital images will age in the decades to come ….

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Old Snow

Old snow – you know, the stuff that is left after the fluffy white flakes have melted.  The stuff that has been piled up by the plows and lasts for weeks after all the other snow is gone.  That stuff.

It has now been several weeks since we on the east coast got hit with what the print and electronic media dubbed “Snowzilla”, and we still have mounds of plowed snow in the neighborhood.  In the past, I have not paid much attention to this stuff, this “old snow”, but on recent walks with Molly around the neighborhood I have been looking at these piles much more closely, and discovering a beauty that I did not know was there.  This post contains three of my initial images documenting this remaining “old snow”._DSC0208 Gallery

Among the strange and ever changing shapes caused by compression and varied melting rates within the snow pile I found this small “snow goose” that was gone a couple of hours later.

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Various gaps and arches appear and then collapse, like geology on fast-forward.

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I still have some of these old snow” shots in the camera, and I expect to make a couple of more forays around the neighborhood before these piles have disappeared entirely.  Of course, they are calling for more snow on Tuesday ….

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