Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Big Storm

Maybe it comes from the childhood memories of Winter. Lots of snow. A day off from school, here and there. Loads and loads of hours spent bundled up in a puffy mish-mash of 'snow gear' and just living in the snow.

Forts, snowmen, snowball battles, sledding...

Maybe it's a harkening for the good old days of college. The first snowfall of the season was highly anticipated. I'm sure we spent many productive hours drawing up elaborate rules and guidelines for it. But the gyst of it was : At the first sight of snow, everyone stops what they're doing and convenes at 192 Oakland for the party.

This includes weekends, weekdays, classes... that was the idea. To catch a snowstorm during 10:00 a.m. classes would've been great. In the couple years the 'First Snowfall Party' edict was in place, during classes was not to be. But it's the spirit that counts, yeah?

Whatever it is - which may be somewhere in-between the previous two examples - I always look forward to the first snow of the season.


With that spirit, I decided to semi-document the storm as it progressed.

Where I am, the snow started falling around 2:00 p.m. I know that because it wasn't snowing before I went into the shower just before two - and it was snowing after I got out, shortly thereafter two. My deduction? The snow started falling around 2:00 p.m. that day.

This is when I actually decided to record the big event. Here's how the driveway looked around 2:00 p.m.

The Big Storm - 2 p.m., 19 December 2008

About an hour later things were definitely adding up. The 3:00 p.m. record showed definite snow accumulation. Not much, yet... but it's coming

The Big Storm - 3 p.m., 19 December 2008

As the four o'clock hour approached, things were well underway. The snowplows hadn't been around yet and just about everything at ground level was covered in a smooth, unbroken layer of white. The trees at this stage are just about the picture-perfect representation of the 'snow-dusted evergreens'... And the best part is that you can actually hear the snow falling. The snow insulates everything and it's more silent than ever. It's the best...

The Big Storm - 4 p.m., 19 December 2008

Then the sun goes down and everything changes. It's tough to gauge HMHF - How Much? How Fast? Snow seems different at night. A bit more sneaky than during daylight. Luckily, for this project anyhow, there's a giant, honkin' street light right across the road from my driveway. It's always, always cranking. So, there's always, always plenty of light.

It also makes it a little harder to take pictures. I'm no where near acquainted enough with setting my camera appropriately for different lighting and all that stuff. Choosing the appropriate flash (or trying to) and adjusting the shutter speed in rough, 1/4 second increments is about as complex as it gets right now... but sometimes that works out for the better.

Not saying it does in this particular instance. I'm just saying that sometimes, a fortunate accident occurs. With no further ado... the five o'clock hour.

The Big Storm - 5 p.m., 19 December 2008

At this point, due mostly to the previously mentioned darkness, things pretty much look the same from the vantage point of the lens. Here's things about an hour later.

The Big Storm - 6 p.m., 19 December 2008

About an hour later... see what I mean?

The Big Storm - 7 p.m., 19 December 2008

So, at this point it hits me. No one's going to move all this beautiful snow but me. The sad realization comes - it's time to trade in the camera for the shovel. I'm just thankful that my new driveway is only about 20% the size of my old one...

A refreshing 90 minutes (here or there) out in the cool, snowy night later and the job is done. Here are two totally different picture results from the same point... It's all about the settings.

The Big Storm - 8:51 p.m., 19 December 2008

The Big Storm - 8:52 p.m., 19 December 2008

It looks like it actually stopped snowing in the 40 seconds between those photos. Not so. It pretty much continued snowing all night and all day Saturday... and Sunday, come to think of it.

Wrapping things up here, there's a final house photo of the night and another of some fun I had inside the house during the project... (man, look at that tree. it has taken a beating!)

The Big Storm - 9:25 p.m., 19 December 2008

And this from earlier...

The Big Kitty - 3:23 p.m., 19 December 2008

There it is... the Big Storm of December 2008. The last 'huzzah' of the year.

Happy New Year to all in 2009.

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