There is no way to not take any photos of snow right now in Boston. Over the last four weeks the city and the entire area of New England has been covered by multiple snow blizzards, each dropping a foot or more of fresh snow onto every surface. While one storm makes the city bend, multiple storms make the city break. At least for a few days. Transportation gets shut down, people can’t go to work, cars are getting plowed in, food supplies don’t reach the supermarkets, etc. Overall it is a difficult time for everybody. Mostly because we are so tuned to get to work on time and to perform at a certain pace, that everything that keeps us from doing so makes us feel frustrated. 100 years ago people would have stayed inside, cooked, drank mulled wine, and they would have waited until it was over. Nowadays we are trying to keep the pace up and that sometimes creates some friction. But when I look at a city covered in white power I can’t resist but seeing interesting photo opportunities. Here are a few shots from various days. I used a Leica M240 and most of the time a Summilux 50mm lens. The biggest challenge was to keep the camera dry and the fingers warm. While the camera is weather sealed I don’t know if that is the case for the lens as well. I had lost the cover for the EVF connector, which now feels like an entry way to the precious electronics. I took my chances. While snow is not as bad as rain, in combination with strong winds it can pound a lot of water onto the camera. Mostly I kept it inside a neoprene sleeve and only took it out for seconds to take a shot. For my hands I used some slim cross-country gloves. They are warm and provide a good grip. Back home I placed the camera on a table, wiped it down with a cloth and let it dry. You could touch it after minutes being inside and the brass would still be ice cold. But the camera performed without any glitches.
This is a bike that I followed photographically throughout several storms and the days in between. I will post the full series of it in another blog post.
Plowing crews arrived during the night. The great M240 high Iso performance allowed me to keep the shutter speed high at night.
This is the bike after the first storm.
A couple of B&W conversions. I used Lightroom to desaturate the images. Usually I keep it simple by not doing too much in Lightroom. I desaturate, give the shadows a bit more detail, and add some clarity. If necessary I pull the highlights a bit. I know that there are tons of great tools out there but I am not a big post-processing fan and I try to keep it down to a few seconds. Overall I like the results from the M240. ISO 2000 files look great. But they need to be well exposed to not show any banding after pushing the exposure in Lightroom.
My neighbor Bill shoveling. He did this for hours. Using the Summilux at f1.4 kept him nicely isolated from the background. The wide open f-stop plus a high ISO allowed me to keep the shutter time very short. That’s why each snowflake seems to show.
Some still need to learn how to dress for a blizzard.
A few more color photos. I used a Zeiss 21mm 2.8 Biogon for all wide-angle shots. Beautiful lens but it creates a bit of a magenta cast on the right side of each photo. The 21mm Summilux is a bit out of reach for me and the f3.8 lens is not open enough. Somehow Leica needs to produce a 21mm Summicron ASPH to fill that gap.
I wish the Nest would actually work.
One of the famous “snow-farms” around Boston. Trucks arrive there constantly dropping down full loads of snow.
Overall the M240 performed without any flaws. It is small enough to carry it around easily and the rangefinder makes focusing at night effortless. I only missed a few shots by not getting the focus dialed in correctly. I hope you enjoyed the set of photos. Stay tuned for the whole visual story on the “winter cycle”. In case you live in the south, please send us some warm air.