January 7, 2014

Cold Temperatures and an Empty Conservatory

The polar vortex descended on us, and it got really, really cold.

When temperatures reach "colder than the surface of Mars," Minnesotans finally start discussing how cold it is outside... and wearing coats.

It got cold enough that schools across all of Minnesota closed on Monday. And many remained closed on Tuesday, as well.

On Monday, I got a little bored with staring at my frosted windows and decided that I was crazy enough to brave the coldest day of the winter so far (with a high of -12 degrees F). The Como Zoo and Conservatory was open, so, I bundled Evie up as warm as I could, thanked my car for starting, and headed in the direction of Como.

I think there were maybe six other cars in the parking lot when I arrived. Probably half of those cars belonged to employees. It was awesome. We pretty much had the Como Conservatory to ourselves.

For anyone who has ever tried to take pictures in the conservatory, you know two things are true. (1) If you're taking a picture of a flower, as long as you don't set up a tripod, you can take 1,000 pictures of that flower if you want to. (2) If you point your camera in the direction of your kid and shoot one frame, a staff person will immediately be behind you reminding you that there is a photo policy about taking pictures of people and only candid photos are allowed. (I completely understand why the photo policy exists, even if it is annoying.)

But I learned a secret on Monday: When it's so cold that pretty much no one shows up at the zoo, you can break the photo policy rules. There's no one around to catch you doing it. I totally took advantage, and I ended up snapping more pictures of Evie than anything else. Evie made sure to make some nice faces for me as I took her picture.

I did manage to use my macro lens for macro photography, a little bit.

Then it was back to pictures of Evie.

By the way, you know it's cold when you see Evie wearing her hat and coat indoors. Usually, she's hardly through the door before she's ripping all of her outer layers off. On this day, even with the warm, humid climate inside the conservatory, she was content to stay bundled.

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