It's About Time
I was happy to say hello to standard time over the weekend. All is not right with my morning when the clock strikes eight and the sun has yet to rise.
While there's always a certain amount of griping associated with the bi-annual time change, Daylight Saving seems to be the golden child while standard time is painted as the outcast.
Surely that dastardly standard time must be to blame for winter's darkness!
Some of the great minds in Congress have cooked up a solution to this contrived issue: permanent Daylight Saving time. They've obviously forgotten what happened when this was last rolled out. If you're too young to remember, it was in the 1970s during the oil embargo (January 6, 1974 was Day One of the big experiment) - and it turned out to be a massive failure. The population conserved energy by burning every light in the house each morning while getting ready for the day. Kids took flashlights to navigate to their bus stops; they arrived at school in darkness. People hated it. Whoops!
The bill was repealed. Standard time returned in October 1974, and thereafter the clocks again changed twice a year.
Since bad ideas have staying power in Washington, it's déjà vu all over again with the current push for never-ending Daylight Saving time.
Meanwhile, we got an extra hour of sleep Saturday night.
For a few months our body clocks will be more closely aligned with the sun. Beyond that obvious benefit, it occurred to me there are at least two other reasons outdoor photographers can be happy about setting the clocks back.
First, dinner. By late autumn we've already lost quite a bit of daylight. Now that it's dark an hour earlier it's possible to photograph the sunset, make your way back to wherever you're based, thaw out, and still enjoy an evening meal at a civilized hour. That's just about as leisurely as it can get. During the longest days of summer you might be out in the field for 16 hours. Meals consist of whatever you stowed in your bag.
Let There Be LightThis whimsical string of enormous Christmas lights sits outside the McGraw-Hill Building on Sixth Avenue.
Second, holiday lights. They'll be here before you know it (some will appear before the Thanksgiving table has been cleared). Is it a bad thing when daylight begins to fade around 4pm? No! It's instant Winter Wonderland when the lights come on - no snow required. There is absolutely nothing gloomy about twinkling Christmas lights.
You cannot say there's nothing to photograph during the holiday season. Prepare to grab the camera and start capturing all of that sparkling glory. Big city displays are great but not a prerequisite. Use your own Christmas tree's lights to create abstract images (see above). Take a walk through your neighborhood; there will be plenty of photo opportunities. Check out your downtown. You don't have to travel far to find abundant holiday illumination.
Following are some of my favorite places to enjoy light displays, along with the dates they'll be kicking off their 2022 seasons:
Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum
Columbus Park Trellis
Light the Lights - City and County Building
The Magic of Christmas - Butchart Gardens
Odds and Ends
The calendar says autumn but current conditions in Teton Country suggest otherwise. Winter is knocking at the door. The mountains are snowcovered (Grand Targhee Ski Resort is reporting 75" on the season with current depth at 41" - a good start); the Snake River Plain and foothills in Idaho have collected accumulating snow more than once. The latest storm, a slow-mover, is departing today and will leave in its wake very cold temperatures. Single digits are forecast for the next few overnights in Eastern Idaho while Jackson will be below zero.
Speaking of skiing, Grand Targhee is scheduled to open on November 18th. Jackson Hole opens on the 25th, and Snow King follows on December 3rd.
Sign up with Yellowstone to receive road status updates if you're going to visit this winter. Text 82190 to 888-777; you'll receive an automatic reply to confirm receipt. The North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana (to Mammoth) remains open to vehicle traffic all year but inclement weather periodically forces temporary closures. Texts are the best way to stay informed.
Keywords: Christmas lights, holiday lights, photography, Standard Time
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