Take that hope for an unseasonably warm January day and toss it out the window…

January 24, 2013, 12:39 AM

So this Saturday is the big day: the 2013 “Keep Winter Cold” polar bear plunge at National Harbor.  And they’re calling for snow on Friday.  Which means it’s going to be plenty cold for Saturday morning’s polar bear plunge.  And I so hoped for a nice, warm day.  Yeah, that’s not going to happen.  That said, though, it still ought to be a lot of fun.  Katy is going again, and Ryan should be back this year, too.  Plus if all goes as expected, RaQeeba and Davette will be there again to take photos.

Now going into it this year, I have some experience.  I know what it feels like to walk into water that is very cold.  And no – a cold swimming pool has nothing on this.  I don’t care how cold you think that the competition pool at Germantown Indoor Swim Center is.  This is a lot colder.  And I have also promised a few people that I won’t be taking a movie of my experience this year.  That’s something that we only need to hear once.  I am, however, going to take Duckie in with me for still photos.

Also, you remember last year, where there was some discussion about what I should wear to the plunge?  This year, there’s no question about what I’m going to be wearing.  Like last year, I’m wearing a suit out of the suits that I wear to the pool for swimming.  That’s how I came up with last year’s selections for you all to vote on (and the jammer with the yellow stripes won).  I last went shopping for suits in mid-October.  I bought two polyester Tyr jammers: one with red stripes, and one with blue stripes.  But then what I didn’t mention at that time is that I also got a third suit on that trip: a black Tyr racing brief.  It’s part of the rotation just like the other two.  Day one is the red stripe jammer.  Day two is the blue stripe jammer.  Day three is the brief.  Then back around to red.  I do this since, as I understand it, giving your swimwear a “rest” period between uses extends their life.  And since I swim every day, that means multiple suits.  Plus the polyester suits are supposed to last way longer than lycra.  And get this: based on my swim schedule and the suit rotation, the brief comes up as the next suit for Saturday.  So even though I was going to wear it anyway, it actually does come up in the schedule on its own.

Then otherwise, I’m a little disappointed: the Maryland polar bear plunge at Sandy Point State Park is happening on the same day.  Thus I can’t double-dip and do the plunge at National Harbor one week, and then go down to Sandy Point the next to photograph.  I blame the inauguration for the change in schedules this year, since the earlier weekend got knocked out because of the presidential inauguration.  Usually they’re on different weekends.  Ah, well.  Always next year on that.

Otherwise, speaking of photos, I got some filters and got to play with that a little bit.  So I went down to Burnt Mills Dam in White Oak for a little while on Saturday and got some water photos as practice:

The stream just beyond Burnt Mills Dam

Water going over the edge of the dam

The bottom of Burnt Mills Dam

Rocks at the bottom of the dam
(By the way, this last photo is the same subject as a recent photo feature that was taken a couple of weeks earlier)

I think I’ve gotten the hang of a neutral density filter.  I’m particularly pleased with that last photo.  Look at how that water looks.  So I think that the practice session went pretty well.  Now I can go and find a more photogenic water feature than Burnt Mills Dam and get some neat shots.  Photography set, anyone?

I also got to play with a polarizing filter.  I practiced with that at Stead Park in DC, which is across the street from my office building:

The Cairo, as viewed by Stead Park

Basketball goal at Stead Park

My office building, across from Stead Park

Again, just like with the neutral density filter, the polarizing filter practice went fairly well.  Now that I have become at least somewhat comfortable with the use of the filters, I can go out and make good use of these things.  With the polarizing filter, I want a gorgeous winter day to go out to Sandy Point State Park and photograph the beach and the Chesapeake Bay.  I think I could get some really awesome photos out there with the filter.

But before I do any more photos with fancy filters, I have to freeze my tushie off in the Potomac River.  Wish me luck this Saturday!

Categories: Events, Photography