Freezing, Biking, Living.

December 20, 2015

If you know Portuguese and have been following my adventures since last year you might remember snow and I don’t get along too well. I think it’s very pretty, seeing everything covered in white and whatnot, but not very pleasant for everyday life – important reminder: I’m from the warmest parts of Brazil. Yesterday we decided to go to the top of Grouse Mountain and, besides putting on plenty of layers and waterproofing myself I remembered to pack one of the lenses I barely had the chance to try since I got it, the Tair 300mm. I wrote about it a while back too. Just for safety I took the Contax Zeiss 135mm as well and the GoPro with the AnamorphX just to see what could I get out of it – still haven’t checked the footage.

We didn’t manage to stay out for very long, so we did a bunch of short (15-20 minutes) runs around the snowy area. First run was the most shocking one, figuring out how to measure the light when EVERYTHING is white and not underexpose my subjects, waving a 300mm lens around and manual focusing with the viewfinder, stopping it down to f/8 (it’s a 300mm after all, I needed a little more depth of field than usual), many different challenges. The best thing about having a camera on me is I got to go into “Photographer mode” and not be bothered by the cold or the piling snow until we got back in the warm area. Even my sore neck stopped hurting for the entire time outside.

I had a blast seeing how the snowflakes turned out in every picture. Sometimes bokeh, sometimes little super dynamic particles, sometimes sharp white dots. It just adds to the organic feel of the pictures – combined with the vintage optics it’s mesmerizing.

Before we decided to leave we wanted to go into this “tunnel” thing entirely made out of Christmas lights. I’m crazy for Christmas lights. I think it’s sad we only use them during Christmas, especially when they look so good in camera. Anyway, that’s not the point. The most amazing thing about the Tunnel of Lights was the magic performed by the 300mm. By defocusing the background to a blur and having only little lights as foreground turned the pictures into bokeh dreams.

By the time we came down, we were so tired that everyone went straight home. Just like coming back from the beach after an intense day of Sun and running around. Snow is exhausting, but I feel less threatened by it now.

Moving on along the title, I’ve been planning a 100km bike ride for a few weeks now. The only things missing are the time and the guts to do it. Since the longest I’ve done so far was 40km, with plenty of stops, I decided to put myself to the test and get a hardcore 50km (25 to go and 25 back) ride to the park where I shot this video. It was a very long (over one hour if I remember it right) bus ride until we got there, so biking should be fun. I just chose the wrong day I think. It was raining like hell and the rain turned into light snow at some points. Nearly half of the way was along a road – not streets and avenues, intermunicipal road, which wasn’t that bad since I couldn’t get lost, but a little worrying in case anything happened or I needed to turn around.

I’m not one to turn around, so I made it. I also faced the meanest uphills ever – combined with a heavier gear for the bike that I installed the day before – which weren’t the most exciting part of the journey, but definitely taught me routes to avoid in the future. Even though I had waterproof clothes, it was raining so much that eventually water got in my shoes and my water RESISTANT gloves didn’t prove themselves so resistant after all. When I got to the park I sat down, looked around – everything was grey, wet and empty – had a cup of raspberries, coconut water, watched a lady buy some ice cream for her dog (true!) and headed to the washroom for two reasons – and I bet you got them both wrong. First one, it was warmer than outside. Second – and most important – they didn’t have paper towels to dry your hands, but those warm air blowers. I hanged around there for good forty minutes, drying my gloves and socks and warming up for the way back.

As usual, coming back was much easier and faster than the first part of the ride. When I got home, for the first time since I got here, I filled the bathtub with warm – hot? – water and just relaxed for a good while because I thought I deserved it. The whole ride took me about four and a half hours, so I think I can manage the 100km plan sometime before the year is over.

The next day I biked to the airport – with some very stupid ideas that didn’t work out – and that was another 30km. I also found out the seawall is open again – it was closed for at least an entire month – so I can start going there again!

Saved as last thing in this post, the Hedley video I helped shooting is out, an acoustic version of Hello. As anamorphic as it can be!