It’s amazing, isn’t it? You see a familiar landmark or space day after day, but as soon as it gets coated by even the thinnest blanket of snow, it evolves into something subtly different. It becomes something both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.
When I open my curtains in the morning and see that my adopted home city has been blessed by an overnight visit from the snow fairy, my eyes light up, just as they did when I was six years old. Of course when I was six my joy would have been at the thought of building snowmen, throwing snowballs and going sledging. Now I’m a mature adult … ahem … I can only dream about doing those things. My joy these days comes from grabbing my camera, venturing out into the freezing air, snapping all these altered images, and creating fine art prints from my favourite shots.
As I’m sure you’ve worked out by now, we photographers are a strange breed. While most people view winter as the time to keep warm and stay as close to the fire as possible, we’re more likely to be out and about with our cameras, capturing the newly frozen world. If you’re the kind of person inspired by winter landscapes, I implore you to check out some of the works of the famous American photographer Ansel Adams, who had a singular love of the American West, and Yosemite National Park in particular. Some of his winter landscape photographs of Yosemite are utterly breath-taking. The original photograph of Adams’ “Clearing Winter Storm” sold in New York in 2010 for a jaw-dropping $722,500! I bet you’re glad my prices are a little more affordable!
Adams was a man of few words, but when he did say something, it was typically profound.
“A true photograph need not be explained,” he once said, “nor can it be contained in words.”
That sums up to me precisely what photography is all about. A photograph captures a moment, and says more about that one singular moment than a million words ever could.
The fine-art print above is one realisation of that. Those footprints, the positions of the boats, the way the snow coats the branches of the trees in that precise way – this scene will never be there again to be photographed, but that moment has now been captured, and I was the one to capture it!
I had a lot of fun framing this shot. As you can see, there were no other fools out in the cold at the time! With no people around, it seems that the other elements – the railings, the bollards, the benches and even the trees have come to life, as though they are converging and waiting under the snow. I was drawn by all the repeating lines – an endless, regular pattern travelling towards the central point.
If you’re following the news, you’ll know we here in Toronto have been “celebrating” our coldest winter for some time, with daily temperatures hovering around the -22°C mark. It doesn’t faze me though, I’m out most days with my camera … twenty minutes is about all I can take then I’m back indoors cradling a mug of hot tea!