For those of you who missed it last week, I decided to do a year long photography challenge called Dogwood 52. Each week there is a theme and our goal is to capture the essence of the theme and post it to Instagram using the hashtag #Dogwood52 .
This week’s theme was pretty broad: traditional landscape. I am fortunate to live in a beautiful area that does not want for breathtaking landscapes, so this one should have come easy to me. But I found myself kind of stumped because there are so many options. Top my unclear vision of what I wanted to capture with the sub-zero temperatures that have left us hibernating this week, and I was almost certain that I was going to have to put this one off for next week.
My 3 year old had dance class yesterday morning though, which forced us into the -2° weather. I figured since we were already outside, I may as well swing by a park on our way home to fulfill this week’s challenge. On our way to the park that I was planning on going to, we drove past a tree that was completely swallowed up by ice. So much so that it looked more like a giant ice cube that had tree branches sticking out instead of a tree that was somehow supporting this behemoth of ice. This is only my 3rd Midwest winter, so I’ve never seen anything like it before. I knew that I had to capture it.
I parked the car and kept it running so the kids wouldn’t freeze to death. Since I was just walking across the street to take a quick picture and I was going to have to take my mittens off to take said picture anyways, I decided to leave my mittens in the car. ‘I’ll only be out there for a few minutes. It’s not like my fingers are going to fall off’, my naive SoCal self thought. The thermostat on my car said it was -2°, but it doesn’t account for wind chill. With the wind chill, it was somewhere between -20° and -30°. It didn’t matter that I was only outside for 3-4 minutes: my fingers were FREEZING! I put my mittens on the second I was back in my car, but the damage was done. Feeling the blood pulsing warmth back into my frozen digits killed! I was in pain from that one moment of stupidity for the majority of the day. From being exposed for 3 minutes?! Really?! That kind of cold should be illegal.
But–I got the shot! Well, kind of. It’s not the best angle, but the tree is in a sort of planter that is situated above my head level, so there wasn’t much I could do about that. I did the best I could considering that I was shooting with fingers that were in the middle of being assaulted with frostbite. But I think that trying to get the best shots is only part of this challenge. The other challenge in this is to push yourself out of your comfort zone, attempting things that you normally wouldn’t think of. So though it is not the most gorgeous landscape picture I could have taken, I think I did accomplish pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I now have a new appreciation for the cold; it may be beautiful, but it is a force to be reckoned with.