Winter in the Adirondacks- let’s get ready

When I listen to the weather forecasters on the radio or TV here in Central and Upstate New York, I have to grit my teeth. It’s simply amazing to me how many of them are often making winter weather look as bad as they can…as much of an inconvenience as they can. My guess is that they are trying to empathize with what they think their listeners or viewers are thinking. Unfortunately, I can’t say they are wrong about their perception, Still, I think they would be doing everyone a great services if they would spend a little more time paying attention to the positive as opposed to the negative.

Snow covered spruce trees along an Adirondack River are a favorite subject of mine.

Snow covered spruce trees along an Adirondack stream are a favorite subject of mine.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be ready for spring when it arrives, just as I’ll be ready to replace it with summer and as it wanes start looking forward to fall. The seasons are one of the big benefits of getting to live in Central New York. And, I’m not leaving winter out of that thinking.

Then there's a stream meandering through a winter marsh.

Then there’s a stream meandering through a winter marsh.

This afternoon, I’m genuinely excited, even anxious for this coming Thursday to get here. And, I have my fingers crossed that the January thaw we didn’t get this year won’t suddenly show up for the second weekend of February. Either way, this coming weekend will be only my second opportunity to get out into winter for more than a day this season and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be training my sites on icy winter streams, hopefully snow laden trees, a crystal waterfalls or two and, if I’m lucky, I might get a couple of crystal clear nights to play in. I’ll be in the Adirondack Mountains and it shouldn’t take much effort at all to get away from ambient light so that we can play with the night stars.

If we can find a secluded cabin, it makes for a somewhat romantic composition.

If we can find a secluded cabin, it makes for a somewhat romantic composition.

My last check of the forecast was almost perfect for the Long Lake area . . .snowy on Friday (let’s see lots of Adirondack conifers bending under the weight of fresh snow). Then cold and clear Saturday and Sunday.

I’m going to be leading my Winter in the Adirondacks photo tour starting Friday afternoon, so I’m excited for all of us because it’s looking real good.

Ad if I needed anything to get my juices flowing.  Nevertheless, I’ve just spent about an hour looking back at my favorite images from past winters in the Adirondacks. You see them here. I don’t really go through that exercise to get myself excited, though. It’s an opportunity to remind myself of some of the challenges I might not have been fully prepared for last time as well as any images I want to try handling a little differently or venues where I know I missed out because of timing, weather or other situations and didn’t come home with a composition I was hoping for.

You cannot go wrong with a winter sunset.

You cannot go wrong with a winter sunset.

Sunday afternoon is also a good time for me to go through my gear. Make certain the camera sensors are clean. Recharge the batteries. Pack the battery chargers and double-check that I have any accessories I want with me. Then there’s the winter gear. Of course layers of clothing are at the top of my list. So are extra gloves/mittens and hats. I like the glove/mittens that let me get my index fingers out to manipulate the camera, while keeping those single-use, disposable hand warmers busy keeping the rest of my hand warm. I’ve learned that it’s important to have a supply with me, and it’s important to make certain they are not old. Old hand warmers often don’t get very warm. So, I like to pick up a fresh package at the hardware or outdoor store just before I head out for a two or three-day trip. I’ll have  more than I need, but I won’t have cold hands.

And just before the sun sets, that's gold in my book.

And just before the sun sets, that’s gold in my book.

I keep the MicroSpikes that I picked-up at EMS in Lake Placid two years ago, on my boots pretty much all the time, so I won’t forget them. I also tend to keep my snowshoes in the back of my truck from the first sign of snow in the late fall, until spring has nudges completely out of any winter mindset. Of course, I have to make sure I have a couple of “dry bags” (some people call them wet bags) packed.  They are more commonly used by canoeists and kayakers to keep their gear waterproof. While they handle that chore for me on the water, they are great to put cameras and lenses in, when I’m ready to move from the cold temperatures outdoors into warmer air . . . even if that’s just my truck, but definitely when I call it a day and head to my motel or hotel room.

Of course, it’s in that hotel room that I’ll get to review the results of the day. So, I’ll be bringing my laptop computer, my iPad and a portable external hard drive, so I can easily download off the camera and make duplicate back-up. The duplication assure me that I won’t be losing a day’s efforts because of an error on my part or an equipment malfunction.

Later in the week, as I start to actually pack everything, I’ll also throw some food bars, a couple of bottles of water and maybe a couple of apples into a bag. We’ll be eating in area restaurants, but keeping the body fueled and hydrated during the day goes a long way toward keeping us warm.