Part of the joy of shooting in the winter in New England is dealing with the cold.  Mostly  it’s just a matter of the right clothing, but a photographer lives and dies by her eyes and her hands and it’s the hands that suffer most.  I think I need to get some of those pocket chemical hand warmers because damn, it’s freezing out there.

The other day I went to shoot this sunset on the nearby lake Massabesic.

The Dark of the Matinee

It freezes pretty solid in the winter, but wasn’t quite there yet.  It was making lots of noise though – cracking and groaning as if trying to have a conversation.  I love the noises it makes.  Still the ice that was there was interesting which was good because the only clouds in the sky were at the horizon.  Those slightly higher ones above were there at first, but the wind pushed them out of the scene.   It was the wind that killed me.  By the time I shot these –

Dusk Chorus Blues
Bored With Scorcery

my fingertips were so numb I couldn’t turn on my headlamp for the hike back to the car.  I had to put my thumb in my mouth to get the feeling back.  I did warm up on the way back though, and so it wasn’t permanent, but wow, I haven’t been that cold in a while.  Looking back on it, I should have worn some long underwear under my pants, but I didn’t.  Torso-wise I was pretty well covered.  Brain fade.  I’ve been meaning to slap some pipe insulation in my tripod legs, but keep forgetting that, too.  Constant contact with that frigid aluminum is hard on the fingers.  Getting back into the swing of winter takes me a while I guess.  Winter photography is its own reward, but I really shouldn’t put myself at risk the way I do.

Anyway, these were shot with my E-30 and ZD 12-60mm as usual and I overexposed by about a stop for each one.  I dragged my old Bogen tripod because it’s better in the field than my travel one and I wasn’t walking far. I also used a polarizer and an 8-stop graduated ND filter.  I recently read on another photography blog how passe these are, but I disagree.  The author went on to say that he’d manipulated his final images with Photomatix.  How is that different from manipulating them in the field (apart from  my frozen fingers that is)?  I can’t say I see any difference in the result.  Use the tools that work for you I say.

And stay warm!

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