The days are getting longer, the sun is getting warmer, and this week I, too, have found myself sitting in a sunbeam with my eyes half-closed, enjoying the tiniest hints of spring.
Mourning dove on an oak branch at sunset.
A long time ago, I went backpacking for 3 months through Africa. The morning of our long voyage home, knowing that a once in a lifetime trip was wrapping up, I woke at dawn to walk on the beaches of Nungwi, Zanzibar. A storm was passing on the horizon, and the fishermen were waiting in their boats for the tides, to begin their day’s work.
This image brings back a flood of memories – the emotions of saying good-bye to this amazing continent, the electricity in the air from the storm, and the friendliness of the fishermen, who bade me join them for breakfast on their boat (which I did). Travel is in my blood; pictures are what keep the memories alive. I can’t imagine my life without travel and photography.
We just got back from a walk in the woods at Baxter Conservation Area, which has some great trails in the forests along the Rideau River. What an incredible day! It’s gorgeous out there – if you’re experiencing a hit of spring weather like we are in the Ottawa Valley, oh my goodness get outside and enjoy the sun, the melting snow, the porcupines in the trees and the purple finches singing.
With a fresh snowfall and bright sun beckoning, and a ‘why the heck not’ kinda mood, I made my first ever attempt at photographing a snowflake. I used the snow berm across the road from the house, and my 100 mm macro lens.
Granted, the contrast isn’t there, the plane of the snowflake wasn’t matching the plane of the camera, and the sun had already started to alter the detail in the flake, but, BUT, I can see individual crystals!
I think it’s not too shabby for a first try, considering my (usual) inability to manually focus properly, and my (usual) ineptitude at keeping a steady hand. If the conditions are right to try again, I think I just might go for round 2. Cheers to not being afraid of new challenges, and learning in the process!
So. I have these friends. And they’re biologists, as well as nature photographers. (Those two careers seem to go hand-in-hand a lot, y’know?). Anyway, they are gooooood. Their portfolio includes gorgeous scenery, wildlife portraits, and travel chronicles. Starry nights, majestic mountains, northern lights, misty mornings, wintry fields, fall splendour; moose, owls, bears, wolves, fox; Nepal, Italy, Thailand… I am awed by their landscapes, impressed by their wildlife captures, and inspired by their travel experiences.
I think what impresses me the most is the commitment it takes to take these kinds of pictures. It’s one thing to take photos of an alpine wildflower meadow; it’s an entirely different thing to take photos of a bear in that meadow. Or to be up with the northern lights on a ridge top in the middle of the night. Or to capture a lightning strike in the prairies. All of this takes patience, as well as fortitude – get up when you’d rather be sleeping, get cold and wet when you’d rather be warm and dry, be eaten alive by mosquitoes when you’re waiting by the stream for a perfect shot of that moose. Kudos, gentlemen, kudos – keep up the good work!
ILEP is currently having a sale, with 30% off their images until the end of the month. So if you’re looking for some incredible nature images, as a fine art print, or some photo merchandise (mouse pads, tshirts, magnets, etc), look no further – ilep has you covered.
Considering the damage the ice storm left behind, it’s nice to have spent the week admiring the beauty in it’s embrace. Now I’m off to have a bath – after 2 wipeouts on the ice today, my right butt cheek needs to embrace some hot water and epsom salts.
To finish off my Ice Storm series, here is an ice-covered tree, gilded by the light from a fading sunset.
As it is the New Year, everyone is talking about resolutions – mostly how to make them, but also how funny it is that we make them (’cause they will most likely be broken, and soon). So let me add my voice to the chorus:
I resolve this year to notice shapes and textures, shadows and sparkles, light and movement and beauty and simplicity and lines and contrast and colour and everything that makes the world so astounding that I can’t help but gasp. And then I will snap my shutter. But I will do my darndest to notice first, drink it all in, and THEN to capture it all. It’s good for the soul. And I resolve to then share my images here with you. Shouldn’t be too hard to keep this one…I hope!
Growing up out west, we had our share of weather phenomenon to endure and appreciate, but nothing like an ice storm. My favourite was always hoar frosts, where you’d wake up to a world covered in snow crystals. But freezing rain creates an entirely different effect – the world is covered in ice, making a sparkling glass kingdom out of nature. It is truly breathtaking. After 3 winters out East, I hope I never lose this sense of awe and wonder I have when witnessing an ice storm.