So early, early this morning I did something crazy. I purposely drove to downtown Minneapolis to take a few pictures. Why?
It had been forecasted that Minneapolis's 141-year old record of -13 degrees Fahrenheit/-25 celsius below zero (since records started being kept) would be broken on this particular day, this late into the winter season. In fact, one local meteorologist was seeing -17 degrees!
Seeing that this could be a historic day, I got ready at about 4 am to venture out and see if I could document this moment with some photos. After all, what does potentially record-breaking cold in a populated area look like (to those who don't have the luxury of living in this crappy state)? Is it as barren as one might imagine? Or does it look just like any other midwest winter day? After putting on 3 layers of clothing, a Monster energy drink, a pack of Blue Diamond almonds (Wasabi/Soy Sauce flavor), and a Muscle Milk protein shake on hand, and I was ready.
Oh, yes, my gear....I packed an Olympus OMD-EM5 already on the head of my MeFoto Roadtrip tripod (perfect for small, mirrorless cameras). That went in the back seat of my car. In one coat pocket was another EM5 body (just in case something goes wrong with the first one), and in my other coat pocket was my Olympus E-PL5 (just-just in case!). In my hoodie pocket was a little sack full of 5 more batteries; I had read that batteries might have trouble in freezing weather. so carrying spare, warm ones seemed to be a must.
On the main EM5 was the Panasonic Lumix 12-35/2.8 lens. This is currently the widest angle I have, so it's my preference when it's convenient.
I parked on some lonely road by the Mississippi River...there was ice everywhere and not a soul in sight. I wasn't even sure if the parking meters were enforced, but I ran my debit card through it anyway just to be sure. Its LED display could barely function in the freezing cold, the letters a garbled mess and slow to respond to button-pressing. I think I put in 2 hours' worth for parking.
Walking along some bridge, I saw only one more person walking with his dog there. It was so cold that my girlie eyelashes were already frosted, therefore making me look like an androgynous haute-couture runway model. My exposed cheeks were already painfully numb. The worst part was having to take off my gloves to push buttons on the camera and manual focus the lens. Touching the cold, bare aluminum part of the tripod with my fingertips stung my fingers with unbearable pain, and I feared frost bite from the exposure.
I had been out for 25 minutes and had had enough; just a few pictures will do, and I'm running back to my car. I pointed my camera/tripod in a few directions and snapped only a few photos (besides the one at the top of this entry). Here they are:
I then rushed my cold, yellow ass to my truck and went home, satisfied that I had somewhat "documented" the coldest March 3rd on record in Minneapolis....
Then I got home and found out via Twitter that the record didn't fall after all; apparently, the cloud coverage prevented the temperature from going lower than -10 degrees.
All of that effort and pain for a non-historic day! So I went to bed in anger instead of killing myself. Ugh.
PS: My Olympus E-M5 camera handled just fine in sub-zero temps (it's supposed to); it was snappy with no hiccups. The first battery, however, drained rather quickly.