The Good Stuff.


It was cold today. There's a winter storm warning. We're going to get freezing rain. I dressed wrong for the walk today...

If people were out today it's because of their dogs.
My hypothesis? Dogs think their owners can't handle 
rough weather alone. They go along to assist...

Over the weekend the weather forecasters on TV were dismissive about our chances for rough weather. As the day dragged on today they kept revising the forecasts. I told B. yesterday that I thought we were in for at least three days of freezing weather so we might want to prepare. You know, bring the most vulnerable potted plants into the house, put the faucet covers back on the four or five outdoor faucets, stock in some decent Bordeaux, replace that organic Columbian coffee that Ben took off my hands after dinner yesterday. General prep work. 

As the day progressed reports of the school closings started to come in. And then workplace closures for tomorrow. A text from a swimmer friend said the crowds at a local grocery store were plentiful and shopping was proceeding as if in preparation for a siege. Ya think central Texans have some weather PTSD after the big storm in February 2021??? 

Then it got personal. The pool manager sent out a text and an email to all masters swimmers to let them know that the pool would be closed until Thursday morning. They didn't want coaches or lifeguards to have to drive on ice to get to the facility. I can only imagine that some swimmers, desperate for their dose of endorphins, are already planning to jump the fence and swim surreptitiously. Count on it. 

Looks like we're going to get another three days of Winter. Some freezing rain. Up to half an inch of ice on the roadways. Many hours below 32°. So, after I digested all the weather news --- and my lunch --- I decided I'd better get out for a long walk while it was still possible. 

I've been playing around with the Leica CLs lately so I decided to take one of those along with that wacky 50mm f 0.95 TTArtisan lens. Since it was cold outside I shoved a couple extra batteries in my pocket. I took along gloves, two hats (a skull cap and a wide brim, wool hat) and my best water resistant jacket. 

When I got downtown it was dark and gloomy. I imagined what it must be like to be British. To live through stuff like this for months at a time. The wind picked up and hit me in the face....continuously. I dangled my camera against my chest on the "comes with the camera in the box" strap and took off walking. 

The only equipment failure I had was with my gloves. They were too thin. Too amateur. Too much in need of some over gloving. My fingers were getting cold. I remembered there is a Patagonia shop on Congress Ave. so I angle my amble in that direction. Glory be. The Patagonia people were holding an "after the holidays" sale (40% off) on most of their inventory so I picked up a thick pair of down-enhanced mittens with which to complete my walking adventure. I'm sure you northerners already know this but thick down filled mittens are really warm. Nicely warm. Voluptuously warm. Satisfying. The rest of the walk was comfortable. A piece of cake. Which I did not have...nor coffee of any kind.

About halfway through the walk it started to kick down icy droplets. Some solid and some liquid. The hat with the brim was a masterpiece of forethought. My Pennsylvania raised father would have been so proud. 

My waterproof Columbia, insulated boots kept my feet nice and warm. 

So, now here's the problem with going out to shoot at the outset of a big winter storm... Everyone else has headed inside. Into the bars, into the coffee shops and restaurants, into their cars and, if they are smart, into their homes. There were scant few people to see out on the streets but I did my best to get a few shots. 

Now we're settling into the weather and night is falling. Burgers are grilling away. The nice bottle of wine is breathing. What the heck am I doing sitting here instead writing another blog? Time for me to embrace the depths of the seasons. Can someone come by and sand my driveway after the freezing rain hits? No? We don't do that here in Austin? I guess we'll just hunker down until the pool opens on Thursday. 

Now this is inconvenient.

Who says you can't go out of focus with a smaller than full frame format cameras?
Well, they are wrong.

Were I to take an afternoon coffee break, al fresco, I would not have had 
to tussle over a table. All available for anyone who would like to 
quaff coffee during an ice storm....

Rain drop art. A VSL specialty. 

Send in the clowns. Send in the psychotic clowns....

When the weather turns nasty every building managers' thoughts turn 
to plastic plant condoms. Trying to save their investment in shrubbery. 

The shop on 2nd St. taunting the homeless by showcasing a collection of warm 
winter coats, bespoke great coats and other outerwear. Now were did I drop that thousand dollar bill?

I am back home in the office. It's warm enough.
I'm heading in the house were it's always just perfectly warm 
(except when it's just cool enough) and seeing if we 
really are having hamburgers and tater tots for dinner...

Seems like fun cold weather cuisine. 

Stay warm. Stay dry. Keep walking. Keep photographing.


  1. It's comforting to see that mannequin no matter how cold or rainy it gets in Austin.

    -10 here in Minneapolis, but we'll be back up to 10 above tomorrow.


  2. Cold here in Santa Fe -- we're going down to 17 tonight. We have radiant (in floor) heating, which does not respond well to sharp drops in temperatures. I came in from work tonight with cold fingers -- my beloved wife has determined that we could save up to $3 a month on our gas bill if John would stop being such a sissy -- and snuggled up with a copy of David Busch's "Nikon Z7II/Z6II Guide to Digital Photography." With my Z7II in hand, I was determined to explore some of the lesser-known depths of the menu. Should I choose Smoothing (High, Normal or Low?) Who knows? I still don't, because I started fooling around with the camera in a somewhat dimly-lit room with a 24-120 f4 S zoom lens, set to aperture priority, and at f5.6, ISO on auto at 6400, I shot a photo of the couch arm across the room, which looked gray to me, and on inspecting the resulting file on the back monitor, I was able to clearly see the weave and the stitching -- the individual stitches. Whereupon I decided to start ignoring a lot of photo technical stuff and just shoot and let the camera worry about it. In any czar, as I'm about to head up to bed, it looks like this will be a Two-Dog Night, and fortunately, we have two dogs.

  3. Not czar, "case" -- thank you spell checker.

  4. someone here hung a bunch of old coats up outside the market the other winter when it was really cold, with a note saying to take or leave one

  5. Lots of experience with freezing rain here.

    Trick one: keep a spray bottle of windshield washer fluid on the porch outside. Don't scrape windshield, turn on car defrosters and heater and spray the cold washer fluid onto windshield. Go inside and finish your coffee. When you're done, the ice will slide off the windshield, no heavy lifting or scraping required.

    Trick two: Keep a bag of non-clumping cat litter around the house and maybe in the trunk. Gets you out of icy spots and is non toxic, it's just gravel (or should be).

  6. "When I got downtown it was dark and gloomy. I imagined what it must be like to be British. To live through stuff like this for months at a time".

    It has been sunny here, in North Yorkshire, for the last couple of days. The Gulf Stream makes the UK climate more temperate than it would be without.

  7. Robert. Suggestions noted and put into my notebook of "what to do when it becomes crap outside." Thanks! We only get this for a few days at a time but the TV news is currently telling people to just stay home as the roads are about to be covered with a half inch of ice and no one here has snow tires or chains and the city doesn't de-ice any but the most critical roads. Best solution? Stock in good coffee, fire up the internet and wait it out. It'll probably be 80° by Saturday.

    chilly as can be right now.

  8. TMJ, did y'all swap weather with us Texans? We want ours back!!!

  9. Be curious to know what your shooting with mittens technique is. Mitten in the mouth or mitten under the armpit? ;-)

  10. I'm really new to mittens. Yesterday I tried shooting WITH mittens on for a while. That didn't work. I switched to left hand mittened and right hand pulled out of mitten. Mitten jammed in right hand jacket pocket. Shot taken. Mitten re-acquired as quickly as possible. Not very efficient. When I got out today I will probably try wearing a thin pair of gloves under the mittens, take both mittens off to shoot for a while and then rush back to the mittens for a re-warming. They do work quite well as a warming tool. But again...we're only talking about temps in the upper 20s. Nothing like my friends deal with in the great treacherous North...

    Mittens comes from the Latin phrase: "Strait-jacket for the hands..."

    But warm...

  11. My wife got me two battery powered handwarmers for Christmas. Recharge using USB. Works so far!

  12. Back to normal,now, Kirk. High winds and driving rain.........

  13. TMJ, Savour when appropriate. We recover on Thursday...

  14. These are my go-to photography gloves. Wore them this morning at 12 below zero, with a breeze, walking the dog. Face mask weather. They are medium weight and just light enough to enable decent camera control, but still warm enough to usually avoid freezing. Pockets help between shots.


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