Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Whiteout at the Tram"

It was indeed a dark and stormy night. I closed Imageville and drove through the rain to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Station. It had been pouring downtown and snowing on the mountain most of the day so I was inspired to see what it would be like to ride the Tram through a snowstorm and then photograph the fresh heavy snow at the top.

The Christmas lights at the Tram station looked beautiful as it was getting dark, but I still thought there was enough light for me to make some interesting images and experiment with low-light shooting while moving.

The station workers all turned and looked as I entered the building with my long lens protruding from my rain gear and my pants already soaked from my short trek up the hill. They advised me not to take the ride up. Whiteout conditions were making visibilty near zero even at lower levels, they said.
So I just splashed around in the cold rain outside the station, seeing what images I might make even as the darkness was quickly settling in. I set my camera to mostly automatic settings, even allowing it to adjust the ISO to 2500, where noise really does reduce the quality of the images.
I love the intense colors that pop out in such adverse conditions. Amber autumn leaves that still festooned the branches of some trees dripped and shimmered in the backlight provided by the bright white of the mountain snow up above. Clusters of golden grasses stood out along the flooded stream bank. I was unprepared for shooting in this much rain, but I did so anyway and got everything really wet, including my lenses. The images I captured suffered as a result.
Nevertheless as I walked to my car I looked back up at the mountain and composed this photograph of another beautiful evening in Palm Springs!


  1. Geez, I feel like was there with you, Gary. Guess I'll fix a cup of hot chocolate to warm myself up.

  2. That's what was missing from this soggy and cold creative adventure: hot cocoa and you!

    Tim, I'd have loved to have had your company (and your assistance). I found that I was having to become ever more creative in finding ways to dry off my lenses and change them without making things even worse. I needed a sherpa.