Snowpants: A photojournalist’s best friend
It’s been cold here.
Actually, cold is an understatement. The jet stream has gone haywire and arctic air that usually stays way up north is blasting the country with some abnormally frigid weather. My grandmother in Florida said that planes were delayed at Sarasota International Airport due to ice on the wings. The airport does not have de-icing equipment (it IS Florida, after all), so they had to wait until the sun melted the ice for the planes to fly.
Here in Columbia, it’s been in the low teens for almost a week. I’ve never lived through such cold weather before. Naturally, I do not have appropriate clothing for spending more than a few minutes outside. So when my editor, Matt, at the Missourian told me on Wednesday that we would be heading out at 6am the next morning to find people shoveling and cleaning off their cars from the snowstorm just beginning to hit us, my first thought was “CRAP. It’s cold.”
Earlier in the day, I had been covering the Missouri General Assembly at the state capitol and came straight from there to the newsroom still dressed in my faux-suit (black pants and a not-quite-the-same-black blazer). The snow had started on the drive and showed no signs of letting up anytime soon, so I knew time was of the essence. I made my way across town to a sporting goods store to find the item that would get me through the next day’s assignment – SNOWPANTS.
So there I am, standing in the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in the middle of a snowstorm, in a faux-suit, looking at snowpants. I must have been a sight! However, I lucked out and found a pair that fit perfect that were on clearance sale.
The morning’s assignment went quite well. Not many people out, but I managed to find a few good ones. The photo gallery is online here. (not sure where my best picture went – it was the lead image on the page. Will inquire within.)
Later in the day, I decided to go check out some sledding at Stephens Lake Park. Remember – it’s still barely in the teens, and now the wind is picking up. So it was COLD. I expected only a few people to be there. Instead, I was greeted with at least 30 kids and adults braving the temperatures to take in some fantastic sledding. The pictures did not run in the paper, as Matt got there and back to the newsroom first, but I figured I’d post them here. I would not have gotten these photos without my new snowpants. I hate the cold, but I love those pants.
Clayton Howard, 21, his sister Audry Reno, 11, and Morgan Bischel, 20, get ready to go down the snowy hill at Stephens Lake Park on Thursday afternoon. Howard says of his sister and hiking back up the hill, “She says ‘Oh, it’s not bad,’ while we’re up here winded. I gotta take a breather.”
Kids of all ages formed lines at the sledding hill in Stephens Lake Park on Thursday to allow everyone to safely have a turn. Samuel Smith, center with an orange disc sled, said to his father, Michael, “There’s thousands of people here!” “I know, the most ever,” said Michael in response.
Sledder Brock Mauller, 10, goes airborn on a snow jump at Stephens Lake Park on Thursday afternoon. Despite the bitter cold, many people came out to enjoy the freshly fallen snow.
Young sledders and their parents find warmth in a fire pit at the edge of the sledding hill at Stephens Lake Park on Thursday afternoon. The temperature remained in the low-teens for much of the afternoon.