Winter Blues – A Two-Sided Story

Story and photos by Mike Sargent


January and February 2015 brought us some harsh winter weather. Snow piled up with no usual January thaw, plus cold temperatures and even colder wind chills. February was the worst.  The 2015 February Monthly Climatological Report for Rochester, as published by the National Weather Service, notes the following information.

“The coldest calendar month on record was established this February as a constant siege of very cold airmasses brought day after day of well below normal temperatures … This February was also the fourth snowiest February on record … The average temperature this February was 12.2F degrees … Snowfall this month finished at 45.2 inches, which is almost two feet above normal. The 24 days of measurable snowfall is the greatest number of days with measurable snowfall in the month of February … The snow that fell towards the end of January and through February accumulated into a very deep snowpack that remained through the month of February … There were several days of gusty winds that brought blowing and drifting of snow. These winds also created dangerous wind chills over the last three weeks of the month …”

There are many other statistics I could quote, but they would be even more depressing.

It comes as no surprise, then, that many of us suffered from some degree of the “Winter Blues,” during days when we felt trapped inside, wondering when winter would end. An actual term, Winter Blues is used in articles about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It comes during normal winter months when there is less daylight and low temperatures.

As I faced my own Winter Blues, I turned to my photography hobby to help me cope. In doing so, I found a new form of blue in the tint that shows up on white snow in
certain photo scenes.

There is a technical/scientific explanation for this, and also some ways to minimize it in a shot, but I found these blues – especially when coupled with shadows in parks and streams – to be relaxing; a way to take my mind off the cold weather.

Along the way, I photographed some of the birds that frequent the feeders in our backyard and other scenes from the countryside. Here I share some photos that served as a “cure” for my winter blues.

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