Even the most zealous photographers are challenged by the cold. While the majority of my cognitive effort is devoted to teaching biology, the noise-free parsecs of my thoughts are immersed in photography. As December approaches, I begin to think about my winter break and the winter photographic opportunities. The winter opens the door to unique landscapes and wildlife opportunities that are just not possible during any other time of the year.
However, these same winter conditions are physically and emotionally draining. The cold wind rips through the warmest clothes and leaves you feeling as if you were exposed in a meat locker. The frigid air bears down on your skin and face, and freezes the snot in your nose. A Minnesota winter demands respect and unless it is given, a price of pain will be due.
I am off this week and I hoped for a gentle holiday season, but wishes this time of year rarely come true. With a high of 5 degrees, I am faced to make a critical decision: hibernate or celebrate. My first instinct is to stay in bed, sit by the fire, or drink hot coffee. Unfortunately, the empty parsecs of my thoughts call me to the out of doors. I can hear my sub-conscious scream, “you are a sniveling wimp...” and...“you call yourself a photographer.”
At some point I recognize that only the stupid would crawl out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and humiliate themselves in the face of these frigid conditions. I am the idiot. I stretch expedition weight thermals around my scrawny legs. I layer my body with a t-shirt, fleece, and down. I stretch two pairs of socks over bunioned feet and cram them into Sorrel boots. It takes a half hour to dress and less than three minutes to feel ice crystals hanging from my mustache. I hate the winter but love photography... is it sadomasochism?
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