Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Level 3 Captivity

So it's the third day of the level 3 weather travel restriction where I live.  For those of you who don't have this system, the basic premise is the county sheriff (who? we don't live out west!) has the authority to restrict travel if he believes the weather has made the roads too dangerous.  It started Sunday when northwest Ohio got 8 inches of snow rather quickly but then continued now into the  third day because the temperatures dropped below zero and some of the roads are still icy.  Only those who have "vital" jobs are permitted to drive.  The rest have to stay home and of course the kids who hadn't gone back to school yet from Christmas break don't go to school and have been out so long that they've already forgotten everything they learned this year.  Mothers of school age children are so crazed that they've likely stress eaten themselves out of any hope for a January fitness regimen.  My day job has enough priority that I could surf an erupting volcano to get to work and the sheriff would just wave as I glided by but the rest of the populace is certainly going stir crazy. I don't recall any of this level stuff in year's past; growing up in Cleveland a level 3 storm probably meant we got 3 feet of snow so I'd be out shoveling three times as long (snowblowers hadn't been invented yet or more likely my father didn't think one was worth the expense when he had kids for shoveling.)  Ice on the roads was an occupational hazard - if you had an occupation you hazarded your way to work; usually in a rear wheel drive car with no traction control, 2 snow tires in back, and something heavy in the trunk - but not too heavy since back then road salt rusted out the cars so quickly many trunks looked like some kind of reddish swiss cheese.  The government seems to be so busy protecting us from ourselves that we're going to turn into a nation of wimps where survival of the unfit is the norm.  But I digress.

At work today someone asked me if I had been out photographing in the snow and cold.  I hadn't. Not because I'm a wimp; after all I had just photographed sunrise in the Badlands at -19 F a couple of weeks ago, but because the parks don't open if it's level 3 and because in general I try to be law abiding.  Level 3 days are great for image processing, maintaining those file backups, and working on websites.  The other reason is that I'd already been out shooting twice this year on days when we had what I call a photogenic snowfall: the kind that sticks to all the branches and edges of things and really makes the structure of the trees pop. The image above is from Side Cut Park along the Maumee River and I think it demonstrates the beauty of a photogenic snowfall.  My only other comment is - hand warmers!  And I'm referring to the chemical ones that heat up when exposed to air and last about 7 hours.  I put them in a thin pair of gloves so that I can work my camera controls without my fingers freezing.

So whenever the sheriff finally rides out of town and takes the level 3 restrictions with him, I'll be out there looking for another photographic delight - snow drifts!