Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Morning Snow

The snow had been falling softly all night. At one a.m., I looked out my window to se the most beautiful kind of winter wonders under the dim streetlights--dark, veiny trees with a coat of pure white, formerly dirty sidewalks seemingly washed soft and clean in a blanket of new snow, snow piling up softly on the smallest of surfaces.

So when I awoke near dawn, I knew I had to rise. The streets were nearly deserted as I trudged into the six-inch powder. A few early risers walked in the center of the street. Now and then, a taxi or truck would grumble down Pushkinskaya. It was still snowing hard, and the light was a diffuse blue. I started shooting. 

For two hours I watched the city wake. First came the shovelers (my experience with the sidewalks suggested there were none, but I was wrong!). Old men and women with dark clothes and homemade shovels scooped the sidewalks clear. I wandered downtown, wondering what the bustling center looked and sounded like when snow quieted the city. 

After about an hour, even the unshoveled parts of the main paths were carved by foot traffic, long lines of people bundled against the elements, all seemingly headed to the same two or three buildings for work. The bus terminals had lines of nearly 100 for some routes. No one seemed to speak. 

I have been shooting ditigal for eight years, and in that time I have noticed my eye has transformed into one that only paid attention to light and shadow and form has also begun to see color. For 20 years, I shot exclusively Tri-X in my M4-P's and M6's, but now, shooting with a digital M8, and after several years with other digital cameras, I notice color as much as I notice anything else. So even on a day like today, where the city was practically painted in black and white, I still found that converting my images to monochrome was disappointing. 

But I perservered and ended up with what I think are nine images that are fairly strong in B&W (some even better than the color versions). So here they are. A color gallery might be forthcoming....stay tuned. And then you can decide for yourself if I can see better in color, black and white, or not at all.

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