Winter in New England

Island in a Snowstorm, 2006

Island with trees in the middle of a lake in a Winter snowstorm. Waltham, MA.

Living in the Boston area, we have both the beauty and hardships of living in 4 very different seasons every year. Sometimes its more like 2.5. Hot, very hot, and fuckin freezing. Some seasons it feels like we go from winter right into Summer. Then again, we also get those rare days that are perfectly in-between and be sure, they are very much appreciated and enjoyed for making New England a perfect climate to live in.

That said, if one is going to live in New England, there is no hiding from the weather. Just the opposite. I go through changing from an average 4 different pairs of shoes a day to accommodate for whatever the weather was and is currently doing. As the old saying goes, whatever the weather is, wait 5 minutes and it will surely change. When I owned a 4 x4 Ford Explorer, I would head out in the middle of a snowstorm to see what the world looked like in the heavy snow. The good news is that most sane people stay inside with the heat blasting while watching the news, making fresh batches of chocolate something cookies and helping the kids keep busy making snow forts and then eventually clearing off the driveways, walkways, and cars.

It doesn't take long to get past the suburban sprawl in Boston and if you know the city and suburbs well you can find these spots that have no sense of being 20 minutes from downtown Boston.

On one of my storm sojourns, I headed out to Waltham, Lexington, and Concord and came across this huge reservoir and sense of vastness and while the impending weather was beating down on me. It was cold and wet and every time I stepped out of the Ford Explorer I used to own, I was pelted with snow and getting the lens and camera wet. Personally, I can put up with going out in the cold and getting snow on my jacket and snow pants, but the trick is to stay warm. I am always wearing my Northface, Cloudveil, Helly Hansen, and LL Bean jackets and different layers to stay warm in but not get overheated. The critical piece to this whole endeavor is keeping the lens free of water drops as they create aberrations and distortions in the final image, which at best will take hours to retouch out if that's even possible. I also simply can't stay in the truck while shooting from the window. Getting great landscape photographs requires stepping into the deep stuff to find the right vantage points. I didn't say that its almost always very slippery out there too. I can't get too close to the water's edge while standing on rocks as it's almost assured that I will end up very wet and even colder and possibly dead from drowning. With a camera and lens hanging around my neck, a camera bag with another 2 lenses and accessories, heavy winter clothes, and Sorel snow boots, there is no question that I would sink like a stone and not be found until mid Spring.

All in all, not an easy process and filled with lots of continuous adjustments including cleaning the lens fairly often and wiping the camera down with a spare dry towel in the truck to remove all the melting snow.

Coming back to the studio and seeing an image that is characterized and captures the inclement weather and landscape photographs mixed together, makes it all that effort worthwhile, as long as I am eventually sitting in front of a hot fireplace and nursing a strong Don Julio Anejo tequila.