How the elements — and experience — helped our photographer capture the Philly snow squall

Every Monday, we present a gallery of recent pictures taken by our staff photojournalists and tell the story behind one of them. This week staff photographer Michael Bryant talks about capturing the short-lived burst of snow that moved through the region on Wednesday.

Pedestrians traveling south on 8th Street near Market walk in sunshine while the fast moving snow squall continues to drop a load of snow as it quickly passes east into New Jersey , around 1:00pm on January 8, 2020.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Pedestrians traveling south on 8th Street near Market walk in sunshine while the fast moving snow squall continues to drop a load of snow as it quickly passes east into New Jersey , around 1:00pm on January 8, 2020.

It’s no secret that making a great image depends heavily on a photographer’s skill, but sometimes a bit of luck helps.

Inquirer photographer Michael Bryant, who has been photographing for 40 years (33 of which have been at the Inquirer), understands that dynamic all too well.

When a snow squall hit Philadelphia on Wednesday, Bryant was in the office at 8th and Market streets and grabbed his cameras to see what he could find during the sudden snow event.

“There was a natural shadow being cast on 8th Street, lucky me,” Bryant said about the image he made of a person battling the precipitation in a bright red coat, highlighted perfectly by a sliver of golden light. “And then the sun broke through, lighting up the subject, [the] red coat. Lucky.”

Bryant says he looks for a human element when photographing weather to show its effects. Every assignment is different.

“Every day is a new day, and it’s my job to try to document the human condition.”

» SEE MORE: Last week’s staff photo gallery and the staff photography page

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