A Winter’s Tale

by Mark Stash

Back in my early twenties I had an opportunity to live on a beautiful estate in Pennsylvania. I was quasi caretaker at a glass museum, and along with living in the basement of a beautiful old house, I got to spend time on the grounds of the 150+ acres around the building. Picturesque ponds, trails, fields and woods were my playground. And I loved walking through it all taking photos and sketching.

I remember one very cold winter day I took my Pentax camera out to get some frosty shots. This film camera was a single lens reflex (SLR) and the shutter had a nasty habit of getting stuck in the open position when it was very cold. And it happened again that day, which led to some overexposed images. Back then you didn’t know what the photo would look like until the film was developed.

I was reminded of this experience after reading Roger Bailey’s accounts of taking photos during the cold winter months. I know the feeling of wanting to just stay warm inside instead of venturing out into the bleakness, just to get a few photographs. I think Roger has captured winter in ways that provoke many memories.

Roger’s ice hockey photo on page 36 brings me back to farm pond hockey when I was around 13 or 14 years old. My brothers, sisters and friends and I would meet at a pond and lace up our ice skates. It helped when there was snow; it was a good bumper for the puck after shoveling it to the sides. I remember bruises on the knees and shins from flying pucks – we didn’t know anything about actual hockey safety equipment. As long as we had long johns under our jeans, we were good to go. Those were some of the best Sunday afternoons I have ever experienced.

Learning to play outside in the cold and actually enjoy it takes patience and a certain amount of adventure. I know that many people think the Finger Lakes Region isn’t really a nice place during the colder months, but if given a chance, the area repays that loyalty to outdoor fun tenfold. In this issue you can see people ice boating and ice kiting, skating and ice fishing. Skiing, snowmobiling and hiking are also great winter activities.

And remember, you can always eat a delicious donut and drink a nice hot cup of coffee and enjoy the white outdoors – from inside. It’s nice to have choices.


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