I wasn't expecting a snowstorm when I left for New York City this past Saturday morning, but snow it did on Monday. I awoke early, looked out the window, and grabbed my Leica. It was off to Central Park, which was just across the street. The first thing I did when I walked into the park from Seventh Avenue was fall on my ass, but as usual I pirouetted on the downfall to shield my camera from injury. There was a good nine or ten inches of very wet snow on the ground. People were in the park already, but not enough to leave too many telltale footprints.
This was the perfect storm. I had a sweater shirt on (Gran Sasso, my official brand), with a light winter coat, unbuttoned. No hat, and hipster tennis shoes. I was never cold during the three hours I was out. No wind, but still a hard, wet snowfall.
I ran into a fellow photographer at the Bethesda Terrace arches. A NYC native, he had a tripod, with a Lee filter system mounted. We started chatting as he began a 30-second exposure. He told me that he has been coming to the park during snowfalls for years, but this was the most magical snowfall he had ever experienced. No wind, early morning, and large flakes. We hiked over to the Bow Bridge, made a number of exposures, and then he went his way and I went mine.
As I traveled one of my regular loops through the park, I was all smiles. People were in an exceptionally playful and good mood, probably because they knew that by 4PM most of the snow would be gone. They were absolutely right. By 1PM, the sky was bright blue. At 4PM I headed over to the Cole Hahn store in the Time Warner building to buy a new pair of shoes. The funky shoes that I had been wearing were soaked through and through. No worry about wearing the new shoes. The sidewalks and streets showed little evidence of the morning snow or the subsequent melt. Fairly dry.
The Eldorado, An Umbrella, and the Bow Bridge
The Bow Bridge
All the Young Dudes Are Out of School
An Early Morning Walk in the Park
A Free Ride
Obnoxious Bicyclist: Collision Course
Going Up the Hill
Photographer's Note: I like my Leica M camera, but have not been shooting with it that much during the last year. I brought it because I knew my longtime friend, Jon, wanted to go for a walk with me so I could help him with his new camera, and that meant I wouldn't be doing that much shooting, particularly because I was also headed to Washington, D.C. for a board meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Leica Ms are excellent cameras, and as the photographs posted above demonstrate, the camera that you have with you is the best camera. Unfortunately, the Lecia proved a bit problematic given that it only uses prime lenses. I had four with me, but it is extremely difficult to change out lenses in a snowstorm, particularly when the trees above randomly drop something akin to snowballs. Several times my camera was covered in snow from a direct hit.
I may be overseeing a Black and White photography course this summer if it is approved by the powers that be. I plan to use several of the photographs posted above to illustrate one point that I want to make: There are times when the subtlety of the colors warrants preserving them. For all intents and purposes, the photographs I have in mind are monochromatic, but the creamy white stone that is the Bow Bridge and that lovely dog's tan fur just snap, crackle, and pop. Yet the colors are so subtle. An interesting dynamic.