Like most Midwesterners, I spent the majority of the past week inside the house. The Polar Vortex had landed, and there was no escaping its icy tentacles.
I knew that something interesting was going on with the weather because our local weather-people had become increasingly impassioned with their predictions. The weather segments grew in length until the 10:00 news was mostly weather with a sprinkling of “other.” Though they attempted to conceal their excitement for the imminent danger, I could see the flicker in their eyes. A Polar Vortex, I assume, is probably like a weather-person’s Superbowl or Academy Awards- exciting, watched by everyone, and talked about around the watercooler the next day.
It was into this frostiness that I decided to insert myself, my ironing board, and my cake. Having been cancelled at work, I had a leisurely morning where I made a nice little round cake with some pretty blue and purple orchids. I managed to take a semi-acceptable photo of it while inside, but then I realized that I needed a long photo to serve as the “cover photo” on the home page of this blog (it has to be cropped to a certain pixel size). No matter what angle I tried, I could not get a photo that worked properly.
I heaved a sigh. I can make and decorate a cake in less time than it takes me to photograph. I can probably fetch the hen that would lay the egg that I will mix in the batter in a quicker time. When I try to take a photo, I become obsessed with angles, lights, shadows, and the like. And the funny part is: the photos generally still look like they were taken by a ten-year-old with a plastic camera. To those of you with gorgeous photos of food on your blogs: how do you do that?
So I searched and searched the house, walking through room after room, looking for a surface that would provide a white background. I finally came back to the kitchen and gazed dejectedly out the window. And that’s when it hit me: I needed a white background, and nature had provided 12 inches right under my nose.
It takes someone really special to volunteer to go outside on a day when all people were directed to stay indoors. But never one to let Mother Nature interfere with a good photo, I grabbed supplies and bundled up.
My first idea was to put the cake on a teal piece of fabric set atop a rubbermaid. Out I went, and immediately my nose hairs froze. Afraid to breathe, for I was sure they would all crack off, and they must be there for a reason and I didn’t want to lose them all at once, I tried to breathe through my mouth. As I inhaled, a spear of icy fire went down my windpipe. “The nose is better,” I grimaced, and resolved to take slow even breaths so as to minimize nose hair loss.
I carefully set the cake on the rubbermaid, and immediately, wind blew the fabric onto the cake. (“Ahh, the wind chill,” I nodded knowingly, “I should have guessed it would be windy out here.”) I moved the fabric back again but it blew back to cover the cake once more. So I took off the fabric and laid it in the snow. I shoved a spoon in each corner to hold the corners down. Immediately two edges blew up again and the spoons sank into the snow. (Side note: have you ever dug for two pieces of metal in a foot deep of snow in -50º? I don’t recommend it.)
Fabric pinned down, cake set atop, and…it didn’t work. I couldn’t get the angles right. And you know why? Because I couldn’t see anything. Why? Because my glasses looked like this:
Fingers frozen, vision lost, and nose hairs all but gone, I grabbed everything and hustled back inside. And wouldn’t you know it, as I was taking off the boots, the teal wall of the laundry room caught my eye. “Seriously?!” Muttering to myself, I set up the ironing board against the teal wall and snapped away.
Here’s the cropped, final version:
If I ever win the lottery, I’m hiring a photographer.