Tag Archives: winter

Dear America: Iowa laughs at your “polar vortex”

Polar vortex strikes 9th circle of hell. Film at 11.

I don’t want to make light of the cold snap sweeping the eastern half of the country. I know it’s dangerous and I hope everyone reading is warm and safe.

That said, the issue here isn’t the cold. It’s the level of preparedness. I spent two winters in Iowa while getting my MA at Iowa State in Ames. And I’m here to tell you, what the rest of you are calling a “polar vortex” Iowans call “January.” Those who have been around me when the subject of cold weather came up at any point since 1989 have heard this rant. Probably word for word.

You simply don’t know what cold is. Read more

Dancing in the Snow

Here are three takes on a shot I took the other day at the Denver Art Museum. Some comments at the bottom.


It’s always fascinating to post multiple takes of a shot. Before I started doing it, I always imagined that if you asked a bunch of talented shooters what they thought of a particular image, the answer would be more or less the same. Consensus, at least. I’m not finding that to be true. I’ve gotten to where I expect significant disagreement, and here’s another example.

I posted these shots to 5280 Lens Mafia, a cool little photoblog community where many of my talented shutterbug buddies hang out. As the comments make clear, there is a lot to argue about, especially when you add in what Mike Pecaut (another mafioso) added on Facebook (he liked the second one).

I honestly don’t know which I like best (which is why I posted all three). In the third one, I have dramatically desaturated the building (that walkway is considerably greener in real life). I desaturated everything except the sculpture in the first one, going for a very contrasty, harsh winter look. In the second I wanted the same harshness, although with a softer finish, hoping for something of an old photo effect. I like all three, but for different reasons.

That there’s disagreement among my trusted colleagues is, in a way, gratifying. It isn’t terribly helpful, of course, but in the end the decisions have to be mine, anyway, which means I put it out there, hear what people say, and act accordingly.