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


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.

Human Inuksuk


“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


Photography, The Artist's Journey

So I’ve taken a bit of a side path with my more recent work. I haven’t shown a lot of landscapes here, probably because I just didn’t want to be associated with my late father, landscape painter, Richard Ferrier. Besides I was a city person, concerned with urban things. Truth is I take quite a lot of shots of skies, and often water as I’m around it a lot.

Recently I did a couple of classes on landscapes, and I took the opportunity to work on my long exposures and water. I’ve wanted to get those dream long exposure water shots for ages, and never mastered the logistics of it.  The class had us shoot the sunset, but I was the last one back stumbling my way in the dark.

This is the one I showed to the class. Quite a few went before me. I was impressed with the variety of shots, both with the content and the quality. When mine came up on the screen I felt disappointed. The screen showed a much less vibrant shot than this which I was prepared for, but it wasn’t that. My reaction was: all it looks like is a bunch of rocks! Why did I shoot that? Ha!

But the response of the class was more than I could have hoped for, and maybe they saw what I did originally.

This was shot at f11, 30 seconds with an ISO of 100. The sun had gone down. That’s Toronto way back there in the background. If you look carefully you can see the CN Tower.