My snowshoe easily broke through the two feet of snow that covered the well, and down I tumbled into the soft snow. My years of experience as a photographer reminded me to “save the camera at all costs”, and although my leg twisted and snow covered me, I held the camera up high and safe from the wet snow. I should have remembered that hole. It’s not like I hadn’t been there many times over the years photographing the rusting 1930’s car. I would go there spring, summer, fall and winter in the rain, snow, and sunshine. I should have remembered where it was, but as usual, it’s always about the photograph. I had put on my snowshoes and hiked up the rolling hills to a long meadow not far from my home.
I have always liked snowshoeing. In my teens my friends and I would head out cross-country trekking for hours through the deep powder in the mountains. I remember overnight trips where we dug snow caves to spend the night in (snowshoes also made great doors). Then we’d ski down long valleys and snowshoe up hills as we moved through the snow covered mountains.
My rural home is surrounded by wooded forests and rolling hills that are perfect for walking, or as today, snowshoeing. Each year I look forward to enough snow-pack to snowshoe in. After another morning of shoveling a path to my chicken coops, to the car and cleaning the driveway, I decided it was time for my first winter hike up to the high meadow above my home. The day was overcast, but today’s modern cameras easily handle ISOs of 800 and 1600, so the lack of bright reflection and low contrast on a snowy landscape made everything so much easier to see and photograph. And handholding is undemanding, as one can keep the shutter speed way over 1/400th of a second and still achieve lots of depth of field. I mounted a 24-70mm on my camera and set out to photograph the snow covered hills on the quiet, cloudy day. I like hiking when the only sound is my footsteps, or in this case, my snowshoes.
I hiked up and, as usual, photographed everything. When I stroll through that long meadow I rarely see animals, but I always feel as though I am being watched. That’s a good thing. This time a crow swooped low and circled me as I photographed the Thompson River valley far below. I am sure it was wondering what I was doing there.
I could see a storm rolling down from the mountains and photographed that also. Soon another crow appeared overhead, and this time cried a warning that I am sure was about the storm. And then it began snowing. There is nothing like standing in a forest meadow during a snowstorm; it’s quiet. The sounds from both the Trans Canada Highway and the CN Railroad alongside disappeared.
Thirty years ago, when I first started wandering that area there were three buildings, two old cars and an apple tree. Now the struggling tree no longer bears fruit, someone hauled off the better of the two cars, one building fell down, and the last two are just hanging on.
Still, it’s a great place to snowshoe with a camera and I was having fun, and the heavy falling snow didn’t bother me, I just kept wiping the water off my camera as I photographed the on-coming storm, the old buildings and the remnants of that old car – and that’s when I fell into the well.
I think stumbling, bumping into things and sometimes falling while paying more attention to the subject being photographed than things in the way isn’t that unusual to those of us that participate in the exciting medium of photography.
I was wet, but I was fine, the camera was fine, and the snowshoes were fine, and best of all, I got lots of great winter pictures.
These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Stop by Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops. I sell an interesting selection of used photographic equipment. And if you want an experienced photographer please call me at 250-371-3069.