All those years in San Francisco, I forgot about the weather. In winter it rains, except when it doesn’t and, twice a year—spring and fall—there’s a heat wave. Good lord, it’s 900, who can live like this? But the fog returns after a few days in hiding and we’re back to normal 60 and freezing tourists buying sweatshirts at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Then I moved to France and suddenly Weather became the most used app on my phone. In Maury it was 1000 before summer even started and I was miserable for the next six months. I’d check the forecast and raise a glass to days when it wouldn’t rise above 90. I’d look longingly at long pants, sweaters, and people huddled under blankets at Giants’ games. So I moved to Paris and the rains came in Biblical volume, flooding the Seine, and showing no sign of retreat—until it got cold and, of course, the snow arrived. Funny how that works.

I grew up in New York and went to college in Maine, so I’m no stranger to winter, but all those California years stripped away the insulation and left me with a thin skin and chilly bones. Or maybe that was just the years and California had nothing to do with it. “Buck up,” you say. “Get a grip, buy a hot water bottle, wear your socks to bed, and, please, stop your whinging.”

Good advice. Thanks. After all, I came to France for the challenge of something new, and Paris is beautiful in the snow. Enjoy.

Place du Général Beuret
Jardin du Luxembourg
Statue of Marguerite d’Angouleme, Reine de Navarre Luxembourg Gardens
Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg  

©2018 Ron Scherl


Show Time

Exhibition PosterI’ve started printing images for an exhibition to open in April and I’m really pleased with the work. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that. I can always find things that I think could have been done better but for the most part, I’m happy. And this output, a 17x 22 inch print is critical, since my analog photo background doesn’t see the image as complete until it’s printed. Of course it really isn’t since the RAW file is just a negative subject to interpretation in the next stage of the process. The only real difference is the lack of nasty chemicals to breathe.

So the shutters are closed, the space heater on full power sits next to my desk and I sit here layered with turtleneck, hooded sweatshirt, sweater, scarf and fleece trying to keep my brain working and my fingers moving. It’s very cold here. If you ask the locals if it’s unusually cold (and I’m now fluent in weather), you’ll get one of three answers: oui, non, or just a shrug, the all-purpose French gesture with multiple meanings. In this case I translate it as beh, it’s the weather, what can you do, a sentiment that applies to everything you can’t find a way to blame on Sarkozy.

While it’s probably not his fault – I think you can make a better case for blaming Ronald Reagan – last summer’s heat and this winter’s cold provide a lot of evidence that our climate is stretching at the edges and the comfort zone is shrinking.

The temperature hovers around 30o Fahrenheit, but the wind keeps blowing through the valley and right through this house, which the renovators never expected to be occupied in the winter. Even with the shutters closed the wind can rattle the windowpanes and you just know the heat is flying right out the windows. I haven’t been this cold since my last night game at Candlestick.

The cold also keeps people indoors and isolated. There’s no real tradition of visiting homes, people greet and chat on the streets, but not now. The town could really use a hospitable place to gather but the café doesn’t seem to work that way. I’m not sure why but it just doesn’t feel welcoming and I’m told that’s especially true for women.

Photo of vineyards in snow
Vineyards in Snow ©2012 Ron Scherl

The exhibit features vineyards in summer heat, autumn color and under snow, and portraits of winemakers. Most of the shooting is done. Last week I photographed the first woman president of the Cave Cooperative leaving two more portraits to do. I’d also like a spring landscape if it arrives in time.

It’s very satisfying to do work that’s enjoyable and personally significant, to do it well and have that recognized. It may be a small pond but it’s a nice place to swim.