Story Behind the Shot: Serendipity in a Snowstorm

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Author: 
Erika Harvey
EnlargeLongtime High Line Photographer Marcin Wichary chanced upon this poetic early morning scene in the winter of 2010.

In celebration of the High Line Calendar, we’re exploring each month’s featured image to bring you more of the behind-the-scenes details.

This month’s image comes from longtime High Line Photographer Marcin Wichary. Marcin may call San Francisco home, but the course of his development as a photographer can be charted via almost-yearly visits to the High Line. Beginning in 2007 with a newly purchased DSLR and continuing through the present, Marcin has developed his photo skills while focusing his lens on the development and growth of the park.

It was during a short stint in New York in the winter of 2010 that Marcin captured this month’s mesmerizing image. Awaking in the morning to find fluffy snowflakes falling along the mile-long park was a welcome change of scenery for Marcin. As he was rushing to get out the door to document the snowfall, he spotted this scene almost serendipitously.

“Among the captures I made of that curious combination of the 80-year-old rail structure and fresh flora planted the previous season – both now treated equally mercilessly by snow – was one that would became one of the most important photos I ever took,” Marcin recalls. “And it happened to be an early throwaway, taken through the hotel window as I was waiting for the elevator.”

See more of Marcin’s beautiful photographs from that day.

During his visits to the High Line and the San Francisco Computer History Museum, Marcin has often focused on architecture, plants, and artifacts. Repeat visits to the two institutions have allowed him to explore different approaches to photography and different techniques, but he has continued to leave himself open to the beauty of chance and unplanned moments.

“While [inanimate] objects are infinitely patient, they are never constant,” Marcin says of his favorite photographic inspirations. “The equipment you bring, the weather you encounter, the hour you choose, the mood you’re in – they all make a difference. Sometimes the best photo entails weeks of planning. Other times, it’s that snapshot you mentally discard the second you take it, only to rediscover it later and salvage through post-processing. (Kind of like the story of the High Line itself.)”

High Line Calendar

Purchase the High Line Calendar for this and many more beautiful photos of the High Line through four seasons. Or, for a limited time, members who join or renew at the Rail level will receive our beautiful new calendar as a special thank-you gift. Join or renew today.