Wednesday, 1 February 2012


I joked the other day about my fingers maybe getting frozen to the metal of my camera in this weather. Hahaha. Well, as it turned out ...

Today was probably the coldest yet, with the temperature around -18 (that's in the middle of the day, in full sunshine, you understand). It was also a brilliant, clear day, with all the streets and buildings looking fabulous in the beautiful winter light again. As I, thoroughly wrapped up, was walking briskly to meet a friend in a cafe, I saw a view of some bare trees and their shadows cast on a building, which I thought would make a nice shot. Should I stop and take it? Or should I just keep going and get out of this cold as soon as possible? My crossing the street momentarily delayed by traffic anyway, I decided to take the shot. I took my camera out of my pocket, then my glove off so as to press the little magic button ... FUUUUUUUUUCK! My fingers didn't actually stick to the camera, but they immediately hurt like hell, and continued to until I got inside the cafe and warmed up about fifteen or twenty minutes later ... Something else to be careful of in these new and unfamiliar circumstances I've chosen. I've *never* experienced this degree of cold before. I think it was about 10 below when I was in Moscow 6 or 7 years ago, and also in Japan back in 1985, but that's the coldest, until now.

Here's the shot, btw:

Was it worth the pain, I ask myself? I mean, it's OK. And I still think it's a good idea, but fully achieved? Nah! What do you think? (comments below, please)

There is, for a photographer, a painful irony in the fact that the light here on a day like today is just *exquisite* - I mean, even the north coast of Cornwall can't match the crystal-sharp luminescence of this light, imo - but it's just too bloody cold to engage in any meaningful way with the act of taking photographs! (It's almost too bloody cold to engage in any meaningful way with the act of just looking - or even being alive - tbh.) But maybe I'll find a way - and one which doesn't require the sacrifice of any precious, and much-loved, digits!

Somewhat later, I saw this shapka (fur hat) abandoned by the side of the path:

How could *anyone* not notice they didn't have it? (And, in case you were wondering, no I didn't have painful fingers for a quarter of an hour after taking this photo - this time I left my glove on. Hah! Lesson learned. Far from a resolution of the frustrating situation previously described, nevertheless a step in the right direction ... )


  1. I wrote a comment earlier & lost it in trying to publish it. It proved easier when I previewed the above comment, & from there hit publish after proving I wasn't a robot. (Let's leave that one for another time.....)
    The photo of trees.....
    Maybe you took it from a different angle than you initially saw it. Angle of view (& point of view for that matter) can make a big difference. The sun was pretty much directly behind you when you tried to weld your digit to the shutter release, the effect of which was to reduce modelling in the trunks & branches & also to limit separation with the shadows. You probably knew this when you took it but were distracted by the ambient temperature.
    Anyway, tactics for preventing skin about keeping the camera in your undergarments until needed? But be careful when replacing the camera in the undergarments after taking a shot as skin burn is not restricted to digits.
    It was a mere minus five this morning here. The worst last winter was minus 13, which my car registered as I drove it to work. Apparently the wind is blowing it from your direction at the moment.
    Keep us up to date.

  2. Fantastic! I was hoping you would comment. You're right, the photo doesn't sufficiently reflect the differentiation between the tree trunks, their shadows and the building facade that I saw at the time. Had I been willing to take the time to experiment with angle and exposure, I might well have more fully realized my intention. But, as you suggest, as soon as my finger had almost frozen to the shutter release, I was no longer paying any attention at all to what was in the viewfinder, and just pressed, stuffed hands back in gloves as quickly as possible, and hurried off to the cafe and expected warmth, continuing to say "Fuck!" every few seconds.

    I think cold cameras and the interior of undergarments are best kept apart, tbh.

    As for further developments on the temperature front, see latest post.

  3. For me the trunks resemble the gnarled and twisted digits of arthritic snappers immortalised in an icy reverie. Also it looks like Paris. I met my mate Valentin in Paris on his first visit and he said he was amazed that it was so like Sofia.
    I have found a heated camera for you:

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  5. Architecturally, the old city is not unlike Paris. The architects who planned the city were French and Italian, I think. The first governor of the city, appointed by Catherine the Great, was a de Richelieu (descendant of the famous Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu). There's a statue of him at the top of the "steps".
    Thanks for the heated camera link.