How I Spent Tacoma’s One Night Of Snowfall

How I Spent Tacoma’s One Night Of Snowfall


It was about 3pm, almost three weeks ago from today, I noticed something falling outside the studio windows. Could that be… no. Yes, it is, it’s snow! What had been a day of meetings and editing was about to get a little more interesting. Waking up that morning, I don’t think anyone saw this coming, not even those weather guys who get paid to tell us it’s going to happen, seriously. The snow started falling that afternoon and it didn’t stop. The second it started sticking to the ground, and a freshly updated forecast called for continued snow through the night, I knew I had to whip up a quick shoot to take advantage. I didn’t know what I was going to shoot, where, or who, but dang it, I was going to play in the snow that night. I made a couple quick phone calls and we had our impromptu idea – a bride in the snow. It was simple, easy, elegant. On top of the fact that we didn’t know if or when the snow would cease, it was a small enough effort that if the snow stopped and melted, we wouldn’t be out much. And for our model, Cortney here, it wasn’t too far of a stretch for a bride, as she’d just married this last year.


Not even a light dusting on the ground and I pulled the trigger. Cortney started her drive in from Puyallup and Alice made her way from home with some of the gear I needed (again, not planning on shooting that day). By the time we assembled at the studio, got a quick hair/makeup in, everything was stacking up nicely. It was snowing hard, and a few inches had already accumulated when we ventured out into the blizzard. It was a quick and dirty lighting setup. I did my best to weather proof the studio strobe lights I took out with the only thing I had on me – simple sacks recycled from the grocery store. Yep, free sacks from the store “protecting” thousands of dollars worth of gear which would sit in the heavy snow for over an hour. I don’t know how, but it worked, at least enough to keep the gear operational and popping (I now have heavy duty clear plastic sacks for future adventures into these conditions on-the-ready).



We moved fast and shot a couple locations within a block or two of the studio. Cortney did an excellent job not looking miserably cold in these shots. It was such a slapped together shoot, we had nothing to shelter ourselves or the gear aside from out jackets. Quickly after getting out in the conditions, I realized that in order to do a shoot in a blizzard and heavy winds like this properly, we’d need a crew of 4-6 people. We pulled it off with myself and Alice.

We got some interesting reactions from the people out walking and enjoying the snow. A lot of people telling Cortney “congratulations” as they walked by. With the first few interactions we took the time to tell them it’s just a shoot, but after that Cortney gave up and simply replied with a “thanks.” We chuckled every time.


We completed the shoot in an hour and some change, and our last frames finished as the snow lightened up. Perfect timing. We had 1-2 hours of heavy snow and we captured in the thick of it. Some fun pictures. And by mid-next day, with it all melted, you’d never know the night before was a winter wonderland.



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