The Softness of Winter

Photography, Writing

Winter is often harsh, bitter and cold in Canada. The cold and the wind snaps at our legs, scrapes our faces raw, and bites the tips of our fingers. Our eyes water, our noses run.

We celebrate our ability to tough it out. It makes us feel alive. And that experience of that special warm burn of our rosy skin as it begins to warm up. Only we who know the cold know that deliciousness. When we brave the elements, we say this is what being Canadian is about! We say it with a strange kind of almost manic exhilaration.

We have to tell ourselves that. Otherwise, how could we bear it, this unrelenting harshness? Day after day, week after week, month after month, when by March we are all snapping at one another.

But the truth is, when you’ve dressed properly, and you take the time to look, winter has a softness about it at times, maybe even a kind of sadness, as the day comes to a close, that it should be so reviled, so misunderstood. The dusting of snow caressing the curves of a field highlighting shapes we haven’t noticed before; the gentle but passionate colour of the sky embracing the earth: it’s not all icy blues and blinding whites. It never is.

Softness at times, like fighting lovers who pause, exhausted perhaps, to briefly remember the love they once shared, a small smile, a glimpse of softness, softness before it descends into darkness.

Rolling Great Lake Winter Clouds

Photography

Under the right conditions, cloud will sit over Lake Ontario in the winter.

These were the last of them for 2017, blue and brooding settling in a pink sky.

Shot at dusk Dec 31 2017.

New Years Day

Photography

This is not a photo; it’s a document, a testament. This is the year we started out as Canadian bad asses. January 1st, 2018. Broken and bruised hearts full of hope, the way life has a way of coming at you. We came out with our bottle of whiskey, my camera, our boots. I didn’t even know how cold it was because my phone froze. -13? -14?

This is the kind of photo I might have admired from a distance. You won’t catch me out there, doing that. But there we were. Wondering about the light in the sky and the hard life of swans and other birds on a day such as this.

Shot January 1, 2018 as the sun went down.  Approximate weather at the time was recorded online as:

Temperature: -13 °C or -14°C Passing clouds. Wind: 26 km/h Humidity: 56% Barometer: 102.78 kPa Visability: 24 km

Human Inuksuk

Photography

“We call him stumpy.”

My human inuksuk fortified by whiskey and Canadian badassery New Years day. He came out with me to hang out in the cold while I prowled around the beach catching the light.

Shot January 1, 2018 as the sun went down.  Approximate weather at the time was recorded as:

Temperature: -13 °C or -14°C Passing clouds. Wind: 26 km/h Humidity: 56% Barometer: 102.78 kPa Visability: 24 km

The Dying Light of the Old Year

Photography

The last light of 2017.  Incredible light.

The latter half of 2017 was personally tough. It kind of culminated into a difficult tangle of emotion by December, enhanced perhaps by the lack of light and the Canadian winter. Things seems more desperate and hopeless than they had to be at times. Unnecessarily so.  I was going through the motions.

But has often happened to me in the winter, the act of shooting moves me away from the day to day struggle. I was positively giddy when I shot this.  The sun was setting in the other direction which was what I was actually planning on shooting and missed.  I saw this and had to stop.  This is the one, this is the one! I realized a little later, this was the first time I had been purely happy in a long while, where the other stuff didn’t matter.

Whether it is the ”one” or not is immaterial. These are experiences when we get connected to the universe, to a higher purpose.  Or if not that grand, at least to the magic of life and experience.

This is why I shoot. This is why I spent money I don’t have on my camera.

My sails got righted that night….  We have plenty of dark and cold to come in the next few months. There is more struggle.  But the days are getting longer now.

Happy New Year!

Night Reverie

Photography, The Artist's Journey

#conceptualphotography #townofajax #lakeontario #fog #mist #dreamscape #visualsoflife #artisoninstagram #lakeontario #rotarypark #canon6d #photography

I didn’t quite drop everything for the fog. Not quite. I thought I should finish this damned kitchen sink installation thing. I thought I should probably feed the kids. But the pull of the fog is a strong one. It’s hardly ever here and doesn’t last long and I’m no good at shooting it yet. And while I wouldn’t say I resented the interferences, I would say I was quietly aggravated. And when Sobeys didn’t have any more whole chickens left, damned if I was going to go grocery store hopping.

When I shoot, there is a high load of energy and anxiety in equal measure. There’s a freight train in my head and it leads me. I don’t feel the cold of my hands, the scrapes or bruises I collect, wet feet. Someone happens to me. Just one more. Just one more.

Then there is the anxiety of getting caught shooting someone’s home or a plaza security guard chasing me off, the boogey men in the night when I shoot at night (I shoot a lot at night), the jerk surprise blaring of a horn (why do people honk when they see me shooting, I don’t get it), the sudden appearance of pedestrians right behind me that I didn’t see coming. And this thing about getting back home. And taking up time. Damn, I forgot my phone! Shoot, it’s 3 in the morning already. I’m sure I’d shoot better if I was calmer.

But there is this other thing, this freight train inside, driving me, something amped up. Go. Go. It’s like increased awareness. Like heightened living. Along side of the anxiety there is this other thing. This excitement, this giddiness, this joy in the capture. And it always takes longer than I think it should and always longer thanI think it actually has. And I’m there. As present as could be. Just one more. Just one more.

It takes its toll, naturally.

After, I am completely exhausted. Physically and mentally. I don’t know what I’ve been doing with myself to be this tired. I wonder why I do it. I’m not sure why I like shooting then. Or if I actually do. Especially this night business. I like the light. I love the sun. Why do I do it? Some days I can’t even be bothered to really look at what I got beyond reviewing the images on the back of the camera. Getting the card out of the camera and putting it into the camera, starting the apps and all the seems like too big of a chore.

Later, when I have a quiet time to myself, or maybe as a treat to myself, I’ll look at the shots. This is a different thing. Like a secret thing. But calm. Measured. Like a sleuth. Sometimes, often times, there is at least one that demands my attention. It’s not always the one I think it’ll be. Sometimes it takes time to discover it. The onslaught of images to sift through sometimes causes me to overlook a diamond in the rough.

This is one of them. I remember this sequence of shots very well. The fog was starting to disappear but what was left of it was starting to settle as low lying mist. I was caught by the soften of the light. I had to get back home and I was in conflict. But I couldn’t let it go. I remember now why I shoot. I look at the disasters you’ll never see and think about what I can do better next time. I lovingly treat the images that I like even just a little. Little gems, little jewels, little gifts. Just one more. Just one more.

Our Modern Stonehenge

Photography, Uncategorized

This is one of my favourite places in Ajax.

Friend bought a tree in spirit of my late husband several years ago. Most springs we come down here to see the tree and have a picnic to celebrate his life. The kids usually want to come up here after.

It’s a commemorative abstract Stonehenge that sites on a small hill on the site of the old water treatment plant. You can come here and look at the lake. Or the stars if you are lucky. Come here Easter weekend and you are likely to find the the big old moon rising over the lake.

In the history of art, light often depicts God or a spiritual aspect. These days we might be more inclined to think of visitors from other worlds.