Last Saturday afternoon, I went to “Tempe beach park” to conduct a semi-structured field study about the effects of heat on leisure activities of the people in Phoenix area. By the time I entered the park the temperature was around 105 F (Source weather.com). Surprisingly, a considerable amount of people (around 20) were there mostly Kayaking on the lake. Another set of people were fishing under the rail bridge. A cyclist or two were rarely seen riding along the jogging path. I hardly saw any joggers or runners at that time. Quite understandable!
I met a set of teenagers doing a photoshoot. I asked them about how they experience doing photography in the heat. They said “Normally we don’t go out this time of the day, specially for photo shoots, but we have to do this shoot as soon as possible. So we came. It’s really hard to concentrate on what you do in this heat. Normally we prefer early morning.”
A couple, in mid sixties I would say, were fishing under the rail bridge. They happily shared their experience with me. “This is our hobby, we come here regularly. We are natives, so the heat doesn’t effect us. We can do fishing or camping any time of the year, heat is not a problem for us. Even in 120 F we can do this, because we are natives.”
They sounded like native “Mercurians” 😉
Then I talked to a couple, who brought their dog for a walk. “We bring her (the dog) out at least twice a month. In this time of the year, it is hard to go out with this heat. But we do this because it is good for her. Normally we come late in the evening.”
I decided to stay a bit longer until sunset to observe more activities. So I started doing my favourite leisure activity – photography, and the “try” phase of the study. Heat kept on bothering me not allowing me to concentrate on what I’m capturing. Unlike other days, getting under a shade was my main target, than going for the best angles. Anyway thanks to the telephoto lens, I could take some long distance shots from under the shades of trees and bridges 😉
After few hours, the sun started to die allowing more people to the park. The Number of cyclists, kayakers and joggers started to grow. Interestingly, I saw parents bring their kids to the park in the evening. There were no kids in the park at the the time I entered.
From this study I learnt the following key points.
- People prefer to come to the park early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat in the day time.
- But still some people seem to enjoy their leisure activities even in the heat. Especially the kayakers.
- And in my personal view, the amount of people I saw doing outdoor workouts, was very low compared to the other parts of the world I’ve seen. Heat could be a possible reason for that.