Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Magic Hedge - 1.11.11, Post 1

Okay, I'll probably never put that many "1"s in a subject line again. Unless I post on the eleventh of November this year.

Anyway!  It's snowing here in Chicago.  Not 'it snowed'.  It is currently snowing.  It has been all day.  We've got about six inches and it's still coming down with serious intent.

So what do I do?  Stay home and bury myself in my blankets and play with the ferrets?  No.  I unbury the car and drive out the Magic Hedge to do some winter shooting.

You know what?  Shooting in the snow is *hard*.  Shooting the snow is *hard*.  You're talking blinding white snow on everything, which means it's really, really easy to get purple fringing in almost every shot.  But wow, it sure is pretty.

When I went out, I had this grand plan to make a weather-proofing for my camera.  I took a large freezer bag, put the camera in it, sealed the zipper thing around the lens and then put a rubber band around it to make sure it stayed secure to the lens.  I had to rip a small hole in the back so I could see through the viewfinder, since everything was fuzzy when I tried to look through the plastic.

This actually worked pretty well until I saw some squirrels playing in the snow and I decided that I wanted to be able to switch between auto-focus and manual and macro and er... not... faster than I could do through both my gloves and the bag.  So the bag lost.  By that point though the camera had been outside long enough that the housing was close to the air temperature and the snow wasn't melting on contact, it was more or less just falling off. 

The flip-side to that was that it is true that cold weather really does sap the life out of your battery pretty quick.

Anyway, it was gorgeous out there and I took a few hundred shots.

Winter Postcard
 Okay, so here's one of those quintessential winter shots.  Evergreens in the snow.
Winter's Top Coat

This shot is crazy busy, but I just love the play of white and dark with the snow on top of the dark branches.
Snowfall in Progress

This one is worth blowing up to full size.  (Unfortunately I can't upload the 4MB *full* size picture.)  I actually captured the falling snow.  It looks really, really cool.
Stripped in the Snow
 I'm not sure what's eating bark, but something had a serious go at these trees.  This is another one where you can see the falling snow when you blow it up to full size.

Who Was Out Here?

I only saw two other people in the hour and a half I was out there and neither of them were in this part of the sanctuary.  So the question is, who was there leaving a question mark of footprints before me?

There were critters afoot!  Many more than I expected to see on a 25 degree day in January, in Chicago, while it was snowing at roughly one inch an hour.  They'll be in the next post.  In the meantime, anyone have tips for camera-care or getting great shots in the cold and the snow?


  1. You should be working for the Florida Travel Bureau. I forgot the loss of color in the winter and how cold it "looks." You've captured the moments of winter very well.

  2. Lithium batteries are better in the cold than regular ones. They're a bit more expensive, but that's all we used in Alaska for our battery-powered stuff. It might extend your battery life a bit.

    Also, try some gloves with finger slits. That way you can keep them warm and toasty while they need to be and slip out whenever you need to use them.

    A thermos of hot beverage helps a lot too. Sip at it for the entire trip. It'll keep you warm AND hydrated at the same time. :)

  3. Hey, if you can hook me up with the Florida Tourist folks, I'd be happy to sell them some "anti-Florida" shots. :)

    It struck me as I went through some older posts exactly how little color is in these, even after I color correct. Winter is pretty bleak, colorwise, out here.

  4. SFN, I have the 'flip top' gloves. I end up with my right hand uncovered the whole time so I can keep one finger on the shutter. And I have to go with the camera's battery - it's a specific size/shape to that camera. It's not just AA or AAAs or something. So I've got what I've got, you know?

    But yeah, I should totally bring a thermos of coffee. Good idea! :)