The Beauty of Winter

I tend to like winter. Not the cold I must admit, but the beautiful soft light and pastel colours that make up the winter palette. Images taken then can be peaceful, minimalist, quiet. And now this winter’s nearly over. It’s been a dull one, grey most of the time, not a lot of snow to brighten things up and lots of ice. The combination meant there were fewer days with good light and many days when it was simply too treacherous underfoot to be wandering around. So not as much photography as I would have liked.

But there were a few good days, and there’s always beauty when I search it out.


I’ve photographed these wooden posts many times in just about every kind of weather. But I think these images, taken in January, are my favourite. Ice and sleet from the day before had “dressed” the posts in beautiful layers of ice, the wind had twirled and shaped the water as it froze, curling it around the posts, and the icicles had not yet melted or broken off. I took some shots at normal exposures and then made long exposure images which changed both the look and mood dramatically.


My imagination gives stories to these images. The two posts, side by side, seem intimate to me. I can think of them as “sisters” or as a “couple”. They are beautiful. They are “dressed up”; they stand proud. The simplicity and elegance enchants me and I am transported.


And what about that “No Parking” sign. It looks strange, out of place in that environment, but there it is and I quite like it.

A few days ago the ice on the lake started to melt. Winter is coming to a close. The ice volcanoes are still there but there’s also some open water. Another week and the ice will be gone, some driftwood will become visible and the lake will look different again.


Away from the lake, a couple of days ago I took a walk through a nearby forest. Different in winter but still beautiful. The last of the ice still lies in patches on the path ahead.


Just off the pathway a small body of ice lay in a shallow area. Looking closer, leaves under the thin sheets of ice created abstract images of shape, pattern and colour. The frozen bubbles were mesmerizing. So many images there.


Time stopped. I became completely absorbed in the beauty around me and in the joy of trying to capture what I saw.


Winter is nearly over. These kinds of images won’t be possible for another year. But two days ago I saw a group of tundra swans passing overhead and heard their loud unique sound - a sure sign of spring. And with the warmer weather and the start of a new season there will be other beautiful subjects to enjoy and photograph. Our world feels harsh these days, but seeing all the beauty there is in the world does much to soften that.