I spent my two unexpected free hours this afternoon, shooting photos in the middle of a snow storm. I knew the storm was coming—it was all anyone could talk about at work. And me, you know, I’m pissed because I was just starting to wear my flats again!
I live on a very beautiful street. I’ve lived here since I was a teenager, and what makes it beautiful has nothing to do with money or fancy things—it’s the trees. And today, despite all my complaining, by the time I came home from work and saw how stunningly beautiful the snow made everything look, I had fallen in love with winter all over again. I had two free hours (which almost never happens) before my daughters came home from school. I raced and put on a pair of boots, grabbed my camera bag, gray card and telephoto lens and I was out the door.
Even now, I can’t accurately describe how exhilarating it felt to be out there. It was snowing so hard that when it melted on my face, my eyeliner began to run and sting my eyes. My carefully cultivated curls from this morning—a distant memory. I know I must have looked like a crazy person to the cars riding past. And I didn’t care. I am a person always mindful about my appearance. I will readily admit to trying not to look like I’m trying to be put together. I’m rather OCD about it (or so my mother pointed out to me). But today—zero…shits…given.
I was cold and my fingers were numb. There were several…dozen moments where I swore my camera was wet beyond repair despite me changing between my standard and telephoto lens in a clear shopping bag. But I kept walking, I kept taking pictures and as my black eyeliner ran down my cheeks, I never felt more in my element. I talked to my camera. I don’t mean that metaphorically. I know it seems insane right now to say it, but it felt like it was a living thing in my hand. It was me. And I was pushing myself. I no longer felt like I was pretending or that I am going through the motions of being what I said I was. I was it. This was it.
I literally lost track of time. It was hard to tell where I ended and where my camera began. This unexpectedly beautiful snow gave me something that I wasn’t sure I’d ever find on this journey — validation. Not for anyone other than myself. How far can a person really go with anything if they don’t let go? Let It Go. Frozen. Snow. Get it?
That same thrill I had in Venice beach had come back. Everything was beautiful and full of wonder and though I have called this place home for 20 years, it was brand new. And I was in my element. This is the way I want to remember winter 2015. Months down the line when it’s hot and stifling, I want to be able to look at these photos and remember my frozen nose, damp hair and the moment when I really became a photographer.