Humboldt County, California
It hadn’t snowed this much in Eureka since 1989, thirty-four years before. It was the kind of event that sends photographers out in droves to capture unique images. Fortunately, I was first to go to the historic Carson Mansion and found a fairyland free of car tracks or footprints.
Planning to photograph the rare sight of the Carson Mansion in the snow before light the following morning, and hoping that would happen, I’d set my alarm for 4:35 AM. But I felt somehow cozier than usual as a lay in bed when the time came, and I gave myself another 20 minutes …and at 4:55 it was still real cozy in bed.
“If you don’t go out, you won’t bring anything back…” the voice in my head predictably said. Yeah, yeah, I thought. I’d heard that before. But I knew it was true. I crept to the window and looked outside: the snow was falling fast in big flakes. Ok, we’re goin’ out, I thought (where by “we,” I meant I).
My hope was that the snow would be thick on the ground at the mansion, and if it were, I wanted to get a long shot down the road of the mansion with pristine snow covering the streets and sidewalk. I even thought I could take one photograph in which I would be a lone figure walking across the snowy intersection in the photo; I admit envisioning something like my own solo snowy Old Town Abbey Road. I was there early enough for no car tracks, but the snow wasn’t as thick on the road or in the trees as I’d hoped, so I went in closer to photograph other angles.
Once the sun came up there were lots of people out photographing. I stopped at one of the turnouts on the Samoa Peninsula to catch some snowy dunes and surf in the early sun, and spotted a mom, dad, and infant out doing the same. They were having fun taking turns photographing each other with their phones against the backdrop of the snowy sand dunes and Pacific Ocean, so I offered to take a photograph of all of them together with their phone.
“You look like you might be expensive…” the dad said. I was carrying my camera and tripod, and wearing a pack.
“Hell, no!” I cried, and we laughed. After I took photos of them with their phone, the mom took some of me with my phone. It was a good morning.
My friends at the North Coast Journal and Redheaded Blackbelt ran the photo, though I didn’t really have a story for it at the time other than a short version of this story that I thought of as a caption. The North Coast Journal used it for the cover of their March 2, 2023 print edition.