Snow? Here? Really?

Snow_3-2-2009_009 The idea of snow in these parts is almost laughable. At most it snows about once a year if it even happens that often. But last night the stars aligned and the skies opened up and dumped 3-4 inches of snow on us. I have to say, I was flabbergasted. The two days of rain started to turn to sleet and then that sleet quickly turned into big flakes of snow. By 8 o’clock the ground was turning white. Not too long after that it really started to pile up. Within an hour or two all the schools were closed and businesses were announcing closings for the next day.

I went outside and grabbed a few pictures of the snow coming down. When it does snow here it’s particularly scenic. We get big fluffy flakes that cover the ground quickly. But just as quickly as the snow shows up, it melts and disappears. The kids get a day off school so they can go sledding, and usually we all get a day off from work as well. We get the big thick blanket, but we don’t have to wait months for it all to go away.

Snow_3-2-2009_031 When it does melt, those plants that are in the shadows get some great icicles. They get drenched with the runoff and encased in thick ice. The snow is almost all completely gone now and all you can hear outside is water streaming down the gutters and dripping from the roof. Everything will be open tomorrow so it’s a fun little snowstorm that gives you plenty to look at but doesn’t cause any of the normal chaos.

Addie went crazy in the snow. She thinks that’s just about the neatest stuff there is. She wanted to sniff it, lick it, eat it and run through it. Even though she is lacking her full winter coat it didn’t bother her one bit. My humble snowman was even on the menu as she kept trying to pounce on it and break it into bite sized pieces.

Sledding with Addie is an adventure as well since she wants to chase you down the moment you get started. The other dogs wanted no part of this cold weather. You can see our little Chihuahua all bundled up in a blanket (and she’s still looking for a warm spot) while the Japanese Chin wouldn’t even come off the porch. She has a big, thick winter coat, but she had no intention of letting her delicate little feet get cold and wet. She slept on the back of the couch all day and has snubbed all efforts to get her to go outside. Playing in the snow is for other dogs, you know, commoners.

Although it really wasn’t that cold it seemed to cause some havoc with my camera batteries. My first few dozen pictures all went fine but then the shutter seemed to keep getting stuck. The battery gauge showed the camera to be fully charged, but it just wasn’t working right. I did swap out the batteries and everything went back to normal. I’ll have to see if the batteries are wearing out or if the cold caused an odd reading. I’ve taken tens of thousands of pictures with that camera so far, but I’m not really ready or willing to upgrade just yet. Let’s just hope it was a battery glitch.

I took these pictures with the Sigma 18-200mm lens and I have to say it worked quite well. Even though there were somewhat dark skies there was plenty of light to get 1/2000 sec shutter speeds if I wanted it. I miss the HSM of my other Sigma lens and in a couple of cases the contrast was enough to cause the lens to get confused about what I was focusing on and go into "hunt" mode. Most of the time it was pretty good, but it was noticeable in a few cases.

Overall I’m happy with the way lens handled. I got pictures of Parker sledding, Addie jumping in the snow and pictures of the icicles, all from the same lens. I did move in too close a couple of times and the shutter wouldn’t trigger. It’s no big deal, just too close for the focusing distance.

For some of the icicle shots I was able to get 1/640 sec or higher so I could get a soft background. Although they aren’t macro shots, it’s nice to be able to zoom in from several feet away and not get splashed by all the runoff. I was originally planning to use the 105mm f/2.8 but figured I would give this a shot because of the zoom range. It worked out nicely and gave me a lot more to room to work with. I really haven’t had the chance to use this lens as much as I’ve wanted to since I bought it, but so far I think it’s a really good lens and I’m certain there’s more opportunities coming to use it.

It was a soggy weekend, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. It’s a perfect excuse to stay inside and watch TV or a movie and considering I have streaming media from Amazon and Netflix, even I can’t get out to the store I have plenty of things to choose from.

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