Come on, Sub-Zero

Longing for a Twenty-Below Day

Story and Photos by Daryl L. Hunter

Ahh, finally eighteen below zero and beautiful. I have been waiting for a day like this for months. Sadly, winter temperatures too often hover between twenty and thirty-five degrees above zero, much too warm for the magic of arctic cold.

You draw in that sub-zero air and it’s more refreshing than a mouthful of peppermint with a dash of dry ice. Air so crisp it seems it could snap at any moment. The moisture in the air freezes and falls in a sparkly, slow-motion dance to the ground. This miraculous and dynamic gift from the North facilitates art for those willing to fetch it.

Mountain photographers are an odd bunch. We look outside or at the weather report and are disappointed when we see a forecast of fair weather, sunny day. We have learned that fantastic weather is boring, because it lacks the conditions for dynamic photography. When the heavens dish up a thunderstorm, a snowstorm, or the thermometer drops to its bottom, photographers grab their gear while everyone else grabs a log to throw on the fire and curl up with a book of vicarious adventures.

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Daryl L. Hunter

About Daryl L. Hunter

Daryl L. Hunter has published his photographs in Audubon, Outside Magazine, Outdoor Life, Esquire Sports, USA Today, Mother Jones, International Wolf, and National Geographic, among others. He publishes the Greater Yellowstone Resource Guide ( and sells his photos and blogs at He lives in the Swan Valley.

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