Frozen lake in Salzburg, Austria

Cold, colder, ice cold
Beautiful frozen Austria

Salzburg/Austria (2012). – Listen, guys, I have some knowledge to share: Minus 18 degrees
Celsius (0.4 degrees Fahrenheit) is not a great temperature to take photos outdoors. Ah, you knew that? Well, good for you, I had to learn it the hard way. I always thought growing up in Austria makes you kind of invincible, at least when it comes to cold temperatures since you have to deal with it every year – almost. Plus we were taught early on in life not to whine when temperatures outside go below zero just add some more layers of clothing and you're good to go. Plus, with all our high tech outdoor fashion today we shouldn't even have to worry about it. Right? And we really don't have to, as long as you stay bundled up and not show a tiny little part of your skin to the "outside world". Great theory, almost got me killed, frozen to death. Well not really but trust me, taking pictures outside when it's so cold that your eyebrows grow icicles and you're afraid to smile because your face might freeze and your smile might last for hours. Even though I dare you to shoot out in nature when it's darn cold the next time. For your own good because you will get to shoot incredibly beautiful moments which will last for a long time and not because they are frozen. 
Lake in ice cold winter in Salzburg, Austria
Shooting in ice-cold temperatures is a crazy endeavor
I guess I had to prove it to myself how much I still can take in early February of 2012 when the outside temperature fell to minus 18 degrees Celsius (0.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in the beautiful lake-scape of Salzburg in Austria. I just had to get out and get some of these frosty shots, early in the morning with this really cool icy light. I just had to. I can't say I wasn't warned, the evening before they had announced the sudden temperature drop for the next day on radio and TV. And believe it or not, this just came to me like an invitation. Man, what a crazy thought to begin with.

Seekirchen, Mattsee, Seeham – Gorgeous frozen lake-scape in Salzburg
Anyway, the next morning, I went up early, dressed like an Eskimo, took my Nikon, a fresh set of batteries, in my pants pockets to keep them warm and off I went. First to one of my favorite spots in summer, to the city of Seekirchen to check "my" lake out there, the Wallersee. Since it was still a bit dark, I had to use the tripod and ran into my first obstacle, the wind. Not only was it bitter cold it was also very windy, not ideal for long exposure shots in very cold temperatures. But I managed and started to be proud of myself for having the motivation to execute my crazy plan. Since it was so windy in Seekirchen, I moved on to Mattsee, a little city outside of Salzburg, also with a lake carrying the name of the city. The few minutes in the car while driving from one location to the other was a very welcomed break from the cold outside. I was kind of laughing when I noticed first that I could hardly move my finger, they were stiff and a look into the mirror confirmed that I must have been insane, I had icicles on my eyebrows. I admit, I thought about quitting but then I saw the gorgeous winter wonderland at the Trumer lakes. I was so excited to see this part of the country in these cold conditions right at the moment because it's something you normally don't get to see very often.
Dude, let it go and seek warm shelter
If I would have stayed in the car, I would have had one hell of a great memory. But I wanted to capture what I saw and therefore step out, with my camera in one hand and the tripod in the other. I walked along the lakeshore for about 10 minutes having constantly a brutal wind right in my face and I started to feel the cold which spoiled my fun a bit. With time it felt like I wasn't wearing any clothes at all. So I began to hurry, took shot after shot but wasn't happy with what I got. With every shot I took, it became more and more difficult to set up the next shot. Since I always shoot "manual" I had to handle the camera nonstop. And because I couldn't really work it with my big gloves on, I slipped out of them whenever I had to turn a wheel or push a button. Not that you wouldn't know it already, but stiff fingers don't work well. I was the only one out there, running around next to the lake in snow learning that there is something like a wind chill factor. The minus 18 degrees felt like so much more all of the sudden. I knew I had to hurry, ears, nose and finger gave me the clear message "Dude, let it go and seek warm shelter".
But somehow - I guess I'm stubborn - I managed to take a few more photos. Between shots, I put my Nikon underneath my jacket to make sure the cold wouldn't freeze next to my body parts also my equipment. Needless to say, I got some shots that I liked that day. The lake-scape really offered great motives in the icy cold. And even though the cold brought pure pain over me, it also showed me that I still have what it takes.
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