As the temperatures here dip to freezing (hopefully only) once more before the onset of spring, I'm reminded of the last snow of the previous winter, almost exactly one year ago.
While I find few things in life as invigorating as being outside in a good downpour, I am notoriously weather-shy when it comes to my belongings. If I'm attending an outdoor concert and there is even the slightest chance of rain, heavy-duty Ziploc bags to protect my wallet and phone are as essential to me as the tickets themselves. Thus, as much as I admire the precipitation-heavy cityscapes of Saul Leiter, I scarcely ever dare to bring my camera with me in inclement weather, fearful that my luck is such that a single drop of rain may irreparably smudge a lens, rust a gear, or short an electronic component.
Last January, however, I purchased a Fujifilm X-pro3 which I immediately began carrying pretty much everywhere -- including the front yard, where my son was, unbeknownst to me, waiting to lob a giant snowball just as I rounded the corner of our house, camera at the ready. Upon impact, I rushed inside to clean my camera and lens; I found no discernible damage, but I spent the next several days convinced that it was going to stop working at any moment.
My fears were unfounded (weather resistant apparently does mean weather resistant), as so a month later when the weather report called for sporadic flurries on my day off, I decided I'd take my chances and responsibly venture out to a local park.
In addition to the X-pro3, I brought my Xpan, a panoramic 35mm film camera manufactured by Fujifilm for the Hasselblad corporation roughly twenty years ago. The prices for these increasingly rare (and very electronic-dependent) cameras have skyrocketed recently, so it may seem like a counterintuitive choice for someone as risk-averse as myself, but I am enamored of its unique wide field of view and inspired by the challenge of filling its nearly 3:1 frame.
I loaded it with a roll of Ilford Pan F+, a black and white film with grain fine enough to draw out exceptional detail from the Xpan's superior Fujinon lenses and a slow ISO of 50 to handle the blankets of bright white snow.
I spent several hours walking slowly around the park, and as night fell and the snow flurries gave way to a heavy sleet, I headed home to develop my film and import my digital images. There are a couple photographs from that day which I feel stand effectively on their own, but I believe it's in series that they really work well, flowing, I hope, as might a piece of music.