Saturday, January 26, 2008

Polar bear bay

"Plungers splash into the frigid water during the 12th annual MSP Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park, Jan. 26, 2008."

I've been busy the past couple days and it couldn't get more hectic than thousands of people running in frigid water for a good cause at the 12th annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park on Saturday.

According to the MSP Polar Bear Plunge's Web site, the plunge is Maryland's most successful single-day fundraiser, netting more than $2 million dollars, which benefits the Special Olympics.

Although a lot of people showed their support by diving in the Chesapeake Bay, I don't know if I couldn't justify jumping into the frigid water myself. I would certainly make a contribution for someone else to do it, but being cold is not something I enjoy too much.

As a matter of a fact, I wasn't too happy shooting the event dry. My hand warmers failed me and after being drenched during the first plunge, I needed warmth.

Those brave enough to make the plunge had to face air and water temperatures that failed to reach 40 degrees. I still don't know how they did it, as my hands were freezing just from holding my metal camera bodies and lenses.

Prior to the event, I had planned on getting The Towerlight to rent a helicopter for some direct overhead aerial images. With us now being an independent student newspaper, and our GM talking about previous helicopter rentals, I thought this would be a nice event to do so. But we were too late to schedule one. I am kind of happy we didn't, as the overcast day would have not made very colorful images from the sky. Maybe next year?

My second plan was to ask an old work friend to take me to Sandy Point in his boat. But not being very good with boats (I am the guy who turns green and is miserable the entire fishing trip) I opted against it. Fellow Baltimore shooter and friend Arianne Starnes, who was pumped to be wearing her new VW hat, told me that it isn't what it's cracked up to be, as she did it last year.

So with two ideas erased from my list indefinitely, I thought I'd be one step ahead of the game plane and wear some fisherman wader pants. This would prevent my feet from getting soaked and also allow me to get some different images from the water. Too bad I forgot them. Doh. The bottom of my pants and shoes were drenched, not only with water, but sand.

The event was fun though. In a small way, it reminded me of the Preakness infield. A bunch of wild people having a good time. Many of the plungers also wore costumes to make the frigid water temperatures fun and "bearable."

While I have them up, check out my Sports Shooter page with some more images. Also check out The Towerlight for full coverage of the event.

By the way, if you haven't seen this multimedia piece by Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuktwenty, it's worth five minutes of your life. Twenty days. Twenty thousand still images. A single message.


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