Photographer's Note


February 2nd is Groundhog Day in the United States. Three hundred years ago German Settlers of America introduced a peculiar ceremony, still celebrated annually in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Members of the Groundhog Club emerge from their clubhouse with their weather-predicting groundhog to make a critical announcement. If the rodent does not see its shadow, the members rejoice, declaring that Winter is officially over. Or conversely, if it does see its shadow, they declare that winter will persist.

A video was posted from the ceremony, showing the members of the Groundhog Club wearing formalwear, including top hats, to present Punxsutawney Phil. In the video the groundhog is seen sitting on the shoulder of one of his handlers. Today (Wednesday, February 2, 2011) the Groundhog Club claimed that Phil did not see his shadow, and accordingly that winter is at an end.

Ironically, the Northern and Northeastern regions of the nation have been in the grip of an extraordinary winter storm, virtually paralyzing most metropolitan areas.

This photo is a re-post of a shot, "Minus Forty" that I had never been happy with (it left me cold). It was shot exactly 33-years ago (in February 1978) in Cleveland, Ohio using a semi-automatic Nikon F, and first posted four years ago.

Incidentally, according to statistics, the groundhog is correct about 40% of the time, not much worse than the weatherman.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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