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The Art of Snow

Craig_SUSCFood for thought, at La Montanita Co-op. All poems courtesy of Snow Poems Project, Santa Fe.

It didn’t exactly come as a shocker: 2012 was the hottest and driest year on record. But winter isn’t dead yet. Literally or metaphorically. There’s fresh stuff under the boards from the Sierras to Maine, and in Santa Fe, a cool new creative venture is turning snow into art.

The Snow Poems Project uses spray-on fake snow to stencil poetry on windows around Santa Fe. For the past two weeks, poems written by local residents have been popping up on schools, galleries, government buildings, restaurants, libraries, and yoga studios in town. The poems are short—one or two lines of blocky, uppercase type—and most of them aren't even about snow, but the feelings they convey are the feelings of winter itself: stark, pristine, and wild. Reading them is a little like watching your breath turn to steam on a frigid morning, or following a single pair of footprints across a high meadow blanketed in powder. Dazzling.

Craig_SUSCPoetry is beautiful at Body Santa Fe.

The idea came out of the Cut + Paste Society, a group of Santa Fe women artists and writers, as a way to illuminate public spaces in the darkest of seasons. It's a creative statement as much as an environmental one: "Winter is a time for reflection and the incubation of ideas," says Cut + Paste president Edie Tsong, who partnered with the Santa Fe Art Institute for this project, "and poetry reflects this." Many of Cut + Paste's members are mothers, so it’s also a parent’s effort to bring art into the everyday and to turn cities into “living books,” written from the perspective of the people who live there. Tsong and her team vetted 175 poems submitted by locals (nearly half of which were from students) and winnowed them down to 40, including this one by 12th-grader Pedro Tena:

Craig_SUSCDrive-by art at the Solana Center.

Putting a poem on glass is harder than it looks. Tsong hand cut letters from cardstock, used them to trace the stencils, and then held a stencil-cutting party at Whole Foods. To install, she and her team of volunteers lay lines down with dry erase marker, yardstick and level, and then tape letters and words backwards, so the poem can be read from the outside. Next, the faux frosting: The spray-on snow is squishy until it's dry (when it just becomes chalk). Finally, they remove and wash the letters to reuse again. "People may wonder if it's worth it, but think of the amount of hours of training athletes will do to compete," says Tsong, "and you never forget a race or some physical challenge."

Poems will grace the windows of Santa Fe for the rest of winter; by the first day of spring, they'll begin to fade out, like melting snow.

Craig_SUSCSoup poem, Sweetwater.

For more information and a complete list of poems and places, go to snowpoemsproject.com and www.facebook.com/snowpoems.

—Katie Arnold
@raisingrippers

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Adventure Video of the Week: Cascada

 

The finished product—with super slow mo footage of thousands of pounds of falling water, the tap of falling raindrops, and kayakers winding through tight slots—is polished. But the nine-day filmmaking trip to Mexico was anything but smooth.

Everything started when kayaker Erik Boomer and photographer Tim Kemple called filmmaker Anson Fogle and invited him on a simple jaunt to chase waterfalls. "Naively, we all talked about it as a vacation," said Fogle.

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Thule Introduces Best-in-Class Camera Bags for Outdoor Photographers

Thule-camera-bag_post

Thule makes great roof racks, bike and ski and boat mounts, rooftop boxes, and snow chains. It makes laptop and table bags that Apple likes so much that they're sold in the company's stores around the world. Thule's luggage is as rugged as its racks.

Last week, Thule announced its newest category of uber-durable, highly-functional product: camera bags. Called the Perspektiv collection, these bags aren't like anything you've seen before. They have an Ikea-like aesthetic—clean Scandinavian design all the way—with features that show these bags were designed by photographers with other photographers in mind.

The six bags in the line range from backpacks, to SLR carries, to messenger bags, to an action sports case. They've all got waterproof zips, welded and taped seams, and most have hidden raincovers for extreme weather.

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Peak Design's Leash: The Ultimate Camera Strap

IMG_8716

Last week, on a safari in South Africa’s Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park, I picked up my SLR with the long lens to photograph a lioness and her kill at a watering hole, and the strap simply fell off the camera. I got lucky—my $2,000-worth of electronics didn’t clatter to the floor of the Jeep or fall in the sand. I caught the camera. But luck isn’t what you want to rely on with a camera strap. It’s an accessory that should be functional, comfortable, and, most important, dependable.

Traditional camera straps are often difficult to attach and detach, they're bulky and expensive. That’s why Peak Design is making Leash. Re-defining the classic camera strap, Leash has an elegant quick-connect system, it's made from high-quality and secure materials, and it's rugged and minimalist. Use it as a neck strap, sling strap, safety tether, or video stabilizer, and when you don’t want it, it quickly disconnects from your camera and rolls up small enough to stuff in your back pocket.

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Picture of the Week: Yukon Winter Camping

WalnuthelmetGame for adventure: The Cairns-Locke girls cozy up in the Yukon. Photo: Peter Mather

When I opened the latest Patagonia catalog and saw this picture by nature photographer Peter Mather, I was instantly filled with envy and awe. Lying on a dirty concrete floor in a frigid cabin in the middle of winter in the Yukon, reading by candlelight, these three children seemed to embody all the qualities of true rippers. They looked so fresh-faced and content, so intrepid and game! I tore out the photo and taped it to the wall above my desk, for inspiration.

Then, because I had to know more, I tracked down Peter, a high school math teacher in Whitehorse, who moonlights for publications like Canadian Geographic, Canadian Wildlife, and Patagonia, and goes on frequent adventures with his wife and three stepdaughters: Kennedy, 13; Ava, 11; and Maya, 9. Peter gave me the back story on this picture and so much more: a blueprint for raising hardcore adventurous kids in all latitudes and every season. No whining allowed!

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