Don’t drive, photograph

‘Hazardous road conditions…., pileups at ……, ambulance called to the scene…, slippery side streets…’   We had an inch of snow in Indianapolis yesterday.  Don’t get me wrong, this kind of havoc is not particular to this part of the country.  Several years ago we lived near Syracuse, NY and before that we lived in Maine.  Same behavior all over in the first snow of the season.  So I drove carefully on my way to photograph how the snow had changed the scene.

There was just enough snow to make it interesting.  The snowfall yesterday accounted for all the snow so far this month and it is always a surprise to see what it adds for the photographer.

The snow tends to simplify the scene as it offers contrast.  Given that it is fleeting, it’s a good idea to get out there not long after it falls.  I suppose I could say we need to strike while the iron is hot, but that idiom is probably not the best choice for talking about ephemeral snow. 

It is beautiful, isn’t it?  I suppose it is all just physics that causes the individual flakes to accumulate the way they do but that doesn’t account for the experience of seeing it, especially the first snow of the season.  It is fresh, it signals a change in season, it decorates and it vanishes.

I’ve photographed this scene several times in the summer and fall but nothing I have done previously compares with the opportunity I had here.  The snow set it off in just the right way and the water was calm enough for the reflection to work.

Irenaeus, a Christian bishop in about the year 200 CE said ‘the glory of God is the human being, fully alive.’  Getting the opportunity to photograph this snow and especially the trees reflected in Fall Creek brought me to, what for me, was an uncommon level of aliveness, which, like the snow, was ephemeral.

It is raining as I write this.  The snow is gone.  But looking at the weather forecast, we may get some more snow in the next few days.  Some more snow would be nice; a lot more is maybe not so good.  Moderation in all things.

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