Story and photos by Roger Bailey
To capture the beauty of the season, the lure of taking photographs must be stronger than the cold bite of Old Man Winter. After all, a recliner next to a well stoked wood stove can be a difficult spot to be enticed from when the mercury falls below freezing. But after a freshly fallen snow, my love for photography and the anticipation of familiar landscapes looking new, makes me bundle up and venture out into the cold. Good subject matter can often be captured from the comfort of the driver’s seat, while other images can be more challenging – like crawling through a snow-covered field downwind of a skunk, or staying up way past my bedtime to witness young lads playing hockey under the lights on a frozen farm pond. Sometimes I find unexpected treasures, like the waters of Keuka Lake near the outlet in Penn Yan, buckling and exposing a reminder of an autumn past, or a retired tractor resting near the edge of Wells Road on Italy Hill.
Emerson Road, located on Italy Hill, is home to Yates County’s highest point of 2,140 feet. I’ll often drive up there when there’s precipitation in the air and the mercury is hovering around the freezing point. It can be like entering another world at times. That is where I photographed the young beach leaves and the landscape shot with the round bale in it. The barn I photographed on Belknap Hill Road in March of 2014 during a blizzard named Vulcan. I drive by it daily; not usually paying much attention to it, but on that day it begged for a photo. The fire escape donned with icicles caught my eye while I was waiting for a red light to change in downtown Geneva.
Pumpkins seem to pop and glow on a windy winter’s day on County Road 4 near Seneca Castle. An aggressive hockey game takes place under the lights on the Haven’s Corners Road near Benton Center. A feather seems torn between sticking around or floating away on a sunny day near Morgan Marine in Penn Yan. A snowy owl finds a lighted perch on the Benton-Torrey Town Line Road near Route 54.
A warm-up and a thaw was the recipe for some reflective shots at Indian Pines Park in Penn Yan, where ice fishing was on the agenda. The fog added a wonderful mood and helped to isolate the subjects. Oakley and Ruger of Tom Campbell Road, Branchport, compete for the job of branch manager. In Palmyra I get a lucky shot from the driver’s seat as I was preparing to stop. A black cat slipped under a white picket fence. After a couple of quick clicks of the shutter it returned to the other side.