In early January of 1998, the Great Ice Storm of 1998 hit Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and New England in the USA. With the 20th anniversary recently passing, several publications have asked for retrospectives. After sending my comments to Queen’s Alumni Review, as I was a student at Queen’s at the time, I was moved to look for the photos I took during the storm.
These photos earned me my first money from photography a year after the storm. On a small web page with just a few tiny images (by today’s standards of HD and 4K displays), my photos were noticed by a handful of publications–I think the search engine that got them noticed was Alta Vista. By the time the one-year anniversary of the storm passed, I had sold images to Canadian Underwriter Magazine, Useborne Publishing for the Useborne Encyclopedia of Planet Earth (1999), an ad agency making a “disaster readiness” ad for a home security company, and a small newsletter.
It took me a little while to even find my box of photos from the pre-digital days, but I did find them and in it some of the negatives shot back in January 1998.
Kingston was not hit as hard as Montreal and areas east, but it was still hit hard enough to knock out power to many homes, and destroy many mature trees.
My favorite shots from that week are those taken with a telephoto lens, as the compression creates the illusion that some streets are completely blocked by fallen trees when in fact there was a lane–even if weaving through the broken trees–that allowed passage.
Photos are great keepers of memory. While just a fraction of second in time is represented by each image, the memories associated with the image bring to life the scene, the events leading up to the scene, and even those that follow.
Robert Pearson Photography is in the business of preserving these evocative moments in time. While we hope to avoid more ice storms and natural disasters, we’re pleased to help you capture the moments you want to cherish for years to come.