The snow week, plus snow photography

Rosemont Bluff Natural Area, 13 Feb 2021. Minolta SR-T 101, MC Rokkor-X PG 50 mm f/1.4 lens, Kodak Ultramax 400.

Last time I checked in with you fine folks we had our only true Winter Storm of the season, a few days of snow and ice, followed by freezing rain. The city shut down. Trees toppled, power went out for many. On Monday January 15th, the Great Thaw commenced. Icy precipitation stopped and temps stayed comfortably above freezing.

Yet, the snow lingerith. We got a decent amount, anywhere from 6-12 inches depending on where you were in the area. It takes awhile for that much snow to melt, even with temperatures scraping the 50’s F/10 C. Even as I type this (Saturday night, 20 Feb) there’s still patches of snow in my yard. Most snow events in Portland don’t last beyond 72 hours, so you know you get a significant one when you can see snow for more than a week.

And I realize that we’re relatively lucky here. A major snow happens every three to five years. It’s not like the disaster going on in Texas. No one, I mean no one expects snow and below freezing temps in Houston, a city with a sub-tropical climate. (And I’ll add: The storm that hit us in the Northwest is the same one that moved to the Central and Eastern US.) My heart goes out to those affected. The effects of the storm have dissipated over the last week, yet they are still lingering elsewhere.

After a week of being on foot/transit or not going anywhere at all, I finally got on my bicycle again on Wednesday the 17th.While there was still snow on the ground in front of the house, I could see bare pavement on the street. I pulled out the bike best suited for the conditions, my Schwinn Heavy Duti. It’s got beefy tires with small knobs, an internally geared hub, and a drum brake on the rear. I thought about putting on the studded tire wheel in front, but figured it wouldn’t do much for slush. The roads were pretty decent, even the side streets were pretty clear. There were a few slushy/sloppy spots, especially where it was shaded. The biggest annoyance was trying to cross the roads that were plowed, often there was a crusty snowbank that had to be surmounted.

Oh yeah, I did take some film photos during the snow. This is the second time I’ve done so: last year during our only significant snowfall in March I wandered the neighborhood with my Pentax IQZoom 170SL loaded with Fuji Superia Xtra 400. The results were…okay. The problem I realized was I was using an autofocus/autoexposure camera on snow. I’ve since learned that you want to overexpose by one to two stops as the snow often tricks the light meter. I did that with my Minolta SR-T 101 as it was the easiest camera on hand to manually control exposure. (The Hi-Matic 7s is in the shop.) I think I got better results this time. (The shots from this camera are in color, using Kodak Ultramax 400.) I also did some black and white shooting with the Olympus XA2 (Rollei Paul and Reinhold 640, either metered at 400 for day or 800 for night.) I feel like I also got some decent shots, even though the camera is auto exposure. I had some Ilford FP4 in the Olympus 35RD, probably not the best film for the job (a low speed film in mostly low light) but I think I got some okay shots with it as well. You can take a look at the album below to see the results, or click here.

Journal Comic, 10 Feb 2021. Impending snow.

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