Winter’s Back is Broken

The closed stairs leading up to Crouse College on the Syracuse University campus taken on Saturday, February 27, 2010.

The closed stairs leading up to Crouse College on the Syracuse University campus taken on Saturday, February 27, 2010. Taken with a Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/15s, f/2.8, ISO 280, EV +1.0, 12mm FL.

I first encountered the phrase, “Winter’s back is broken”, while reading Jean Auel’s The Mammoth Hunters,  the third book in her Earth’s Children series (excellent books, by the way).  I had never heard it but Google shows me others are familiar with the saying.  To me, it means Winter is past the backside and is slipping away. Days become longer in the Northern Hemisphere as the Earth rotates and tilts towards the Sun and slowly signs of Spring start to appear.  Usually I feel it in mid-February when a thaw normally occurs.  Not so this year.  The weather has been very cold since the beginning of the year with a few exceptions.

I did not feel it until I walked to the Carrier Dome to watch a Syracuse University basketball game.   The photo shows a mid-winter scene.  Blowing snow in the air and a deep pack of it on on the ground closing the stairway.  Crouse College towering above it all with inviting lighting inside.  Might be a bit confusing for an article about Winter’s broken back.  What the photo can not share with you is the warmth and humidity of the air, the snow so wet it melted as soon as it touched any surface including exposed hands, face and lens and the feeling I could sense Winter’s back had broke.  Just as my ancient ancestors might have when glaciers covered most of the northern Earth.

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42 Responses to Winter’s Back is Broken

  1. Gerry says:

    Hah! And again hah! Winter has a way of roaring back in March. But that wisp of warm, moist air is so delicious . . .

    I love the patterns of the stairs and railings, higgledy-piggledy up the hill. Makes it look like a dreamscape.


  2. Stairs? What stairs?
    Love that there’s just enough light to show that it’s still snowing pretty hard


  3. Nye says:

    The snow look so pretty in this picture, perfect for sledding. Do you shoot with extra flash, or just the one that came with the camera?


    • No flash was used in the making of this photo. In this case, the lights you see continued past me and help to light up the snow. Though this was taken hand-held, the shutter was only 1/15th of a second which created the snow streaks and glowing lights.


  4. burstmode says:

    First: I love the photo but that snow…I do not understand my Northern friends!!!


    • I know, BM. It’s a native thing. Born here and one either gets to love it or leaves. Of course, if it wasn’t for air conditioning (created by the corporation which the SU Dome is named after, Carrier), I’d be saying the same thing to you in July. 🙂


  5. Keith Davis says:

    Hi Scott
    Stunning photo!
    Always something magical about snow. The ice queen and other stories.
    As a child I loved walking in deep snow and that fascination has stayed with me.

    Only problem with the photo? It makes me feel cold just looking.


  6. yesbuts says:

    Great image.

    Its been the coldest winter in the UK, since records began.


  7. milkayphoto says:

    Lovely image Scott. Sort of wild and calm at the same time; also, cold and warm at the same time. I like the “Stairs Closed” sign…like duh… Pretty fabulous all around! (I’d never heard that phrase before. And as far as I’m concerned, Winter can take it’s broken back and hobble away for a good long time!)


  8. montucky says:

    That’s a really beautiful photo! The majestic building makes quite a statement about overcoming winter (and suggests other things as well).


  9. Mitch says:

    Great shot of Crouse College; not sure I’ve ever seen it in this light. I think it’s funny that there’s a sign on the steps saying the stairs are closed, but look at all the footsteps around it. Students just don’t listen to anyone. lol


    • Students? After the last two SU games, a lot of fans of all ages where climbing and sliding down. Also, others were attempting the hill to the left with varying degrees of success. Wonder how often these people end up in one of the nearby emergency rooms? 😉


  10. Anna Surface says:

    Excellent and wicked capture! I really like the composition up showing the depth and towering tower aglow in the grips of cold. Winter won’t let go! I love Jean Auel’s books and it has been a very long time since I read them. Great title and photo!


    • Hey, another fan of Jean’s books. Wish she would finish the series. It was supposed to be 6 books but she takes years in between. The last book ended in a cliffhanger and no peep as to when the next one will come out.

      Winter is starting to let go. Today is a beautiful sunny day in upstate NY with a blue sky and wispy clouds. Snow is melting and even some grass is appearing under trees and shrubs. Tomorrow may return to winter but it’s loosing it’s grip.


  11. Scott, I was introduced to your blog by a Florida friend of mine that communicates with you. You have some great work here. I’m looking forward to seeing more. Take a look at my blog if you would like. I enjoy learning from, and sharing ideas with other photographers.


  12. Very cool shot Scott, kinda reminds me of The Shining !!


  13. davecandoit says:

    This is a wonderful photo, Scott; one of my favourites. Really nice capture and processing.


  14. Scott says:

    You’ve got a really good eye. I wish I had the time to cultivate my passion for photography. I received my graduate degree from Syracuse University so your images evoked some nostalgic memories. Do you have any of Green Lakes? That would be nice to see again through your eyes?


    • Hello fellow alumni! I graduated from ESF but was recently told I am still considered an alumni of SU. Haven’t been to Green Lakes in a long time. Once Spring breaks around here, I’ll venture out to those deep waters and see what spirit I can find of past times.


      • Scott says:

        You extraordinarily lucky devil you. God am I envious! I’m going to have to make a trip up there one of these days just to go back to my favorite places, Buttermilk Falls (Ithaca), Green Lakes, Heids and lest I forget Angotti’s!


      • Had Heid’s last month (2 for 1 coupons in February). I traveled to Ithaca last fall. Search for waterfalls and you’ll find a couple of other waterfalls worth checking out near Buttermilk Falls. Never been to Angotti’s. Will have to put that on my list of places to eat at.


  15. I loveee that photo! And the title!


  16. Barrie says:

    I love this photo Scott. You are really cranking out some great work lately. Looking forward to seeing more…


  17. giiid says:

    What a wonderful and dramatic photo. My imagination shows me both the evil witch and the good fairy, I´m not sure which of them has to climb the missing steps, but prefer to see the good fairy safe and sound inside the beautiful castle.
    Great lines and great light!!


  18. Kathy says:

    Winter’s back is broken–that’s the Finnish meaning of the word Heikinpaivva! Love this photo, Scott. It is really magical. Wow!


  19. As they say over here to mountain climbers “You have to merit the top of the mountain”… I feel it is the same with Crouse College. What an impressive night image ! I love the halo around the lamps, the zig-zag of the stairs in the snow, the whole mood of the picture.


    • Interesting how other cultures have a way of marking this kind of event.

      This photo is really something I would not have even bothered to try without a tripod years ago. Thanks to digital technology and amazing photo editing software, I was able to bring share this. So happy it has touched something in each of you.


  20. Pingback: Spring Arrives on Campus « Views Infinitum

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