Moscow: Cold, Sunny Winter Days
Like many foreigners living in Moscow, I dreaded the long Russian winter. The thick grey skies, the short days, the constant snow, the ice-covered sidewalks that make walking a sport.
On cold days, after an hour walk, your jaw and lips freeze such, that it is hard to speak Russian audibly. Your face is frozen. If you were not wise to wear warm boots, your feet are numb.
When you walk into one of Moscow’s many cafes to warm up, your boots immediately empty a pool of slush onto the cafe floor.
Thus, it is not a surprise that I have heard many foreigners say they are leaving Russia because they can’t bear to live through another Russian winter.
However, my attitude toward the Russian winter changed dramatically once I became a lot more serious about photography several years ago.
I began to see the beauty in the sun low on the horizon throwing its blinding rays off Moscow’s modern skyscrapers, Soviet-era housing and pre-revolutionary churches.
The snow-covered parks and forests, where Russians take long walks with their children and friends on weekends or simply come to walk their dogs, turned into gold mines for photojournalism and landscape photography.
I have even come to love the brutal-looking, Soviet-era power plants, whose steam becomes visible on cold, sunny winter days.
The steam, which leaves a trail that reaches several hundred meters, turns a golden and then pinkish color as the sun sets on those stunning sunny, winter days.
And of course there is the ice fishing, with Russian men in camouflage sitting before ice holes. Sometimes they are sitting amid incredible nature outside Moscow or in the regions….sometimes along the Moscow River with factories … or power plants… in the background, creating an awkward, but photographic scene.
No longer do I chose to sleep in on winter weekends in Moscow, especially when the sun is out. I grab my camera and head to a park or to an industrial location to capture the beauty, the people and the atmosphere.
Thanks to photography, I have come to understand Russian poet Alexander Pushkin’s famous poem about winter in his vast country, excerpts of which are: ”Cold frost and sunshine; a glorious day! The snow below the bluish skies, Like a majestic carpet lies, And in the light of day it shimmers.”
The photos in this gallery where taken in the last days of 2014, mainly in the south-west and central parts of Moscow, including Red Square, where the city has set up an ice-skating ring, and Vorobyovi Gori, along which the Moscow River runs.