That it did! On Sunday, Janurary 9th, rain started to come down in the middle of the night.  In the morning around 11am, the rain quickly turned to snow from a cold front that was starting to move into the area of McKinney, TX. We had seen weather reports that said snow was likely, but come on, it’s Texas!  Within an hour, the ground was starting to disappear and the hibernating brown grass was starting to vanish. The familiar surroundings were quickly turning unfamiliar. Being the amateur photographer that I am, I decided to cancel plans with my family for a birthday dinner, get my batteries charged, and get outside in the snow with my camera.  By 1pm, the ground was covered with a solid 3 inches of snow.  I got to my car and started to scrape off all the snow that had already fallen on it; I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to scrape snow off of my windshield before. I picked up a very good friend, Shelly, and we headed out to the HEARD Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary.  What better place to experience the snow than in a nature preserve with ponds, lakes, and hiking trails.  Mother's TearIt turned out to be such a magical experience.  I’ve been there a couple of other times to photograph, but this was completely different.  Nothing looked the same and everything looked so neutral.  There was not a color to be found in the entire area. The vivid colors that I was used to seeing were all being flushed away by the dominance of the snow that was continuing to fall. The only little dash of color that we did find were these little berries that were hidden within a snow covered tree.  It was really beautiful to spot this and actually kind of a relief.

Still DreamingThe trails we took throughout the day were completely covered in snow.  Luckily it wasn’t too hard to navigate through it all because the trails are very well maintained at HEARD. We took the Wood Duck Trail to start us out and then the Cedar Springs Loop Trail.  These trails give you an excellent taste of what HEARD has to offer.  Wood Duck takes you through the wetlands along a wooden deck that stands roughly five feet above the wetlands. This has been my favorite trail here because it isn’t every day that you get to hover over wetlands and not get a single drop of water in your shoes.  TurningThe Cedar Springs Loop is a completely different trail than the Wood Duck and takes you into a very dense area of cedar trees.  Eventually, this trail took us through different areas that neighbored small ponds that gave an excellent overview of just how much snow was coming down.  It was amazing to see these small ponds slowly being covered by the snow. Due to the cold temperatures and the amount of snow that was coming down, a level of frost began to form over the small areas of water.  It was beautiful to say the least.

SanctoriumNow, you might be asking yourself from a photographer’s standpoint, “How do you protect your camera from the elements of a snow storm?”  This was tricky…  As I got out of the car, I realized that I didn’t want to take my entire camera bag due to the weight of it; it’s an entire backpack filled with all of my essential photography gear and weighs close to 25 pounds.  Instead, I looked around in my car and found a plastic bag from the grocery store. For once, I was very happy that I had left this, what was trash, in my car because it quickly became my shield A Window of Reflectionagainst the elements.  Since the snow was coming down pretty consistently, I had also brought an umbrella from home to not only protect me, but also my camera as I was taking pictures. This plastic bag idea worked like a charm! Most of the time I had the plastic bag placed over half of the camera, mainly the lens portion, so the body did get a little wet but held up just fine throughout the day. My biggest worry was getting the lens wet because once that happens in these snowy conditions, it is extremely difficult to get the lens dry and back to normal. Even with a cleaning cloth, water could have easily smeared all over the lens, and if it was really cold, water could freeze to your glass and risks of scratching become very high.  But, luckily the camera gods were very nice to me that day and not a single snow flake landed on the lens.  Of course, this is also due to the fact that I had an amazing assistant that held my umbrella during all of my shots.

Hope you all enjoy and I thank you for reading!

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Brad Goldpaint