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January 22, 2012: More on the Subjects of Wind, Breast Cancer, and Photography

The wind is diminishing, but a thick cloud cover has taken its place. The feel of snow is in the air. Snow sense—I got it. I know the feel. I acquired it early on in my life. Yep, snow’s coming. The air smells like fresh water. And there’s a slightly heavy feeling to it.

We used to get huge snowfalls in Rochester, NY, where I lived as a child. This was attributed to what was called “the lake effect.” The storms would routinely come rolling in off nearby Lake Ontario. Heavy snow/wind combos would close down the schools, first in the outlying areas, then in the city proper. The prospect of snow days were a stress reliever, because there, like here, the winters tended to be overly long.

Here we don’t even think about snow days. Businesses and schools don’t close, that is unless we get hit with a

wind/snow/ice mix. From what I can see, it’s usually just two out of three. I think that everything should come to a grinding halt when the wind picks up. We here have to contend with what I call the river effect – that is the high winds coming off the nearby Matanuska River.

The other day I was driving Sputnik on Moose Creek Road, and slid into a guard rail on the far side of the road. The plow truck was headed in my direction – he came over and pulled me out. I’m sure that others have similar stories.

Yesterday we went to Anchorage. On the way there we stopped and picked up our friend Carol, who lives over on Soapstone Road. We found her kneeling in her driveway – she was wearing her vintage dark blue snowmobile suit, and had a look on intense concentration on her face. She was picking up small boulder sized chunks of snow, and tossing them over to the far side of a huge berm. Both Pete and I turned our heads and looked right, up her driveway, which is about a 100 yards in length. It was drifted in. There was a large, solid, wall-like expanse of hard snow behind where Carol was working. Pete said something about the driveway being a Sisyphean task – my thinking was that Sisyphus would turn tail and run if he had to deal with what was before us.

We formulated a plan, which was to use Carol’s snow blower and shovels, and our snow scoops, opening up the wall, and thus allowing her to get her truck in and out of driveway. Pete and I conferred when Carol went to get the snow blower – we surmised that we might be able to make a dent in the mass, but the entire project would take at least another afternoon. As Carol went to get the snow blower, a big behemoth of a thing – looks like something out of Star Wars – and Pete and I pulled our scoops out of the back of the truck.

Then, down the road it came, a huge new yellow and black New Holland tractor, with a large bucket on the front. The driver was perched up on a seat in a heated cab. He, who was surrounded by glass, looked like he was in a fishbowl. Pete stopped him, and after a brief conversation, it was determined that he knew Carol, and was again coming over to plow her out. It crossed my mind that she’d previously taken a pie over to his place, in exchange for his doing this.

Brian, that was his name, got the job done in a very fast 15 minutes. I was as grateful as were Pete and Carol. The sheer immensity of the task before us WAS overwhelming.

I was sitting in our truck when Carol and Brian had a post-plow conversation, so this information is second hand. Carol told him she has cancer, and he told her he would pray for her. Some incidentals about religious values were then exchanged. The question this raises in my mind is, is it more honorable to do things from the goodness of one’s heart, or from the goodness of God’s heart? In this instance, it’s a moot point. But I am going to give this matter more thought.

We all went to Anchorage, to Stewart’s Camera Shop, where Pete and I purchased a Nikon camera. The clerk, Jeff, was quite helpful. Talking with him was far better than going into a big box store and interacting with one of their clerks. Jeff was familiar with the specs of the various cameras, and assisted us in our deliberations, leaving briefly during Pete and my discussions about how one camera compared to the other, price-wise.

Jeff’s currently working on acquiring an arts degree at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He mentioned that for the first two years of study, that the arts students are required to take film photography courses. I asked him what he thought about the difference between film and digital might be, and he freely admitted that when taking film pictures, one is more careful about how many photos they take. The emphasis is initially more on quality than quantity. So this begs the question – do those who start out working with film tend to be more selective when taking  digital photos? And what’s the outcome? This too merits further thought on my part.

I now own a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, but I’m not yet convinced that it;s necessarily a better mode of expression than a film based Single Lens Reflex camera.

Next: 48. 1/23/12: New Camera