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Snow and Morningside. Today is 02/10/10 in New York City

Awake to the classical Radio. It is 7AM in New York.

Look out the window. The snow has started. There is a Chinese cleaner across the street.

Tony pours Orange Juice for each of us.

It takes me a while to figure out what I will need and what route to take to get to upper West Manhattan

Leave for the subway to head north to the churches of Morningside. The snow is coming down. I am warm and toasty. The snow crunches under my gaiter protected boots.

Get to St. Johns and the restoration is finished – I get a few new shots to ad to the others I have from previous trips.

I am ther for a while but leave when I start to feel faint. Find a Starbucks and have a coffee and a bagel.

I head out to St Paul’s on the Columbia campus but the snow starts falling fiercely and all I can think is of Mel asking if I am cold. But I still am not cold.

I cut through Columbia to find St Paul closed. I decide to move on after ringing the door bell multiple times. The snow is really bad and I can’t seem to find a way out of Columbia’s campus – three gates I tried to the street were locked.

I finally ask and am told I have to go back the way I entered. So no shortcut through the block for me.

I arrive at Riverside Church which is quite large and has quite a history. 

Talk with Robert – security at the sanctuary – it started when he asked what I said to the woman at the security reception desk downstairs (it was in response to her telling me the sanctuary will be beautiful compared to outside to which I replied that the contrast would make a good metaphor to a harsh world and the beauty that is the saving Grace of Christ). Robert said most of the security staff were not members of the church and most are not Christian – he thought it rather interesting that I said that to her. He and I discuss the value of art and consecrated space… among other things, and that he graduated with a credential from Manhattan Bible College to be a pastor but what he wants to be is a Police Chaplin. He let me into Riverside which is suppose to be photography by permission only. He agreed it was for a good cause.

I put my gear on a back pew and start. I sit and pray first – get maybe 7 shots in when a man starts talking to me and we talk a long while on many things. I share with him my insight from Prague about serving the Host of Hosts rather than imitating the Host Culture (when it comes to making church culture relevant). His name is Morris and turns out to be the head pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Sugarland Texas. We talk about the use of modern technologies and I share with him my scripture reading dream.

Suddenly the lights inside Riverside church go out.

Robert comes in and says they are closing due to the storm and we have to leave. There is urgency as Robert may get in trouble if it is found out he let me photograph.

In my rush I grab my sling bag from the back pew not thinking that it is open; I hear a terrible sound – a lens hits the marble floor and something plastic bouncing. Terror. No movement. I scramble to find pieces in the dark and it turns out to be my 85mm f/1.2 L II lens. It is the lens I am relying on most and my most expensive lens.

It becomes solemn as both men sense my anxiety.

As it turns out in a test later, the Canon lens took the beating from the drop onto the marble. I put it on the 5D2 and took some test photos and it seems to focus properly, no cracks I can see, but then I cannot see. The lens will be used in the snow and rain in the future, so I shall see if it survived fully. If so, this is an argument for why spend the money on Canon L glass.

I walk a nearby park in the snow; people are making snowmen, snow angels, having snow fights, and sledding (even with pool toys).

I make my way by subway to Times Square for a couple snow shots but the snow is turning to slush and what is falling is somewhere between snow and rain. The 5D2 has the 24-70 lens on it but it is condensating from being in the cold and near my body – there is moisture between the lens and the filter. It makes for some strange images – I will have to take it apart later to clean it.

Finally head back to the East Village and get some food at a grocery store. Expensive but less money than eating out each night – I need to make the money I have last the month between all the places I am going and the museum costs, etc. Food is secondary once again.

At Tony’s: Tony is back from work early as is most of New York due to the storm. I take of my back pack and drop the bags of groceries realizing I feel like I have been beat with a baseball bat (not that I ever have, but so the expression goes – I am hurting. Didn’t this happen in Jerusalem? And Prague?).

Tony is leaving for Reservoir Dogs (a bar down the block) but I have too much to do getting the images of the cards, quick edit, clearing cards, cleaning gear, packing and planning for tomorrow’s shoot.

Tony returns to leave and meet a friend at a hotel for drinks. I stay back to get my work done.

Eat soup and a loaf of Ciabatta bread – what???

A little picture memoir of the “Blizzard”

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