A winter storm blew across northeast US this weekend causing over 650 flight cancellations from the three New York City airtports alone on Friday. I was in my college when the snowstorm started and within no time there was several inches of snow. Since I was free in the afternoon I went to see what New York City looked like in a blizzard and saw how messy snow can be, and also faced sleet for the first time. Later I came to my cousin's house in Edison to spend the weekend. As I type this, everything outside the window is white and more snow is piling up. But my blog post is not about the snow. It is about something which I photographed this morning.
When the snow had stopped for some time this morning, I had gone to the garden to take photos of the snow-covered neighbourhood. A small Japanese maple tree in the garden seemed to be very wet and there were droplets of water hanging from the tips of its bare branches. I did not find this unusual since it was raining occasionally. I tried to get some macro shots of these droplets that showed the neighbourhood's inverted image, and then I discovered two things: firstly, the droplets were not as clear as water should be, and secondly, they were not falling down if I touched the branches. They were frozen solid - droplets of ice.
I decided to take a closer look and fetched the 50 mm lens of my SLR since the weather was pretty dry now. When a normal camera lens is inverted, it acts as a macro lens, and so I used my digital camera to shoot these tiny icicles through the inverted SLR lens. The drops had trapped air bubbles within, and the combined effect of the vintage Pentax lens and the Carl-Zeiss lens on my Sony produced results that were beyond my wildest dreams. I'm sharing the photos below: click on them to get an enlarged view.
Shooting at -4 degrees Celsius is not easy, especially when you are balanced precariously on the hardened snow holding a lens in one hand and a camera in the other. Anyone who has ever taken out a metal ice tray from the freezer and held it for some time will know what my hands were feeling like: it's that exact same feeling. Moreover, the light was so low that most of my shots got blurred. The camera batteries died after every few shots and had to be warmed again. However, looking at these shots in the laptop later was worth all the trouble.
I'll end the post with what Calvin said to Hobbes in the last Calvin and Hobbes strip on such a snow covered day. "It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy… Let's go exploring!" he said. The same can be said about macro photography of the natural world. It's really a magical world, and I wish I had the time and money to go exploring it properly.