Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snow Shadows

Treeline on the Reed Farm
This winter has been long.  And I love winter. I love the snow, the crispness on my face, the cleanness of the white, the quiet of the season. As Ruth Stout put it:
There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.  

But  this year winter has hung on, digging it's claws into the change of season and not letting go.  I've never quite seen a drawn out winter like this-consistent snow and temperatures, not the usual warm up melt, then snow and well.... repeat.  Last year I was riding motorcycles and bikes on dirt and about to mow the lawn.  Nature will have it's way and this year winter has endured.

It's not all bad, this extra taste of snow and cold.   March brings longer days, starting very early, and for me, an opportunity to reengage my photography eyes. Looking back over the years, there always seems to be that one day during the season changeover, when my camera is out, snowshoes on and a dog along, shooting images of shadows on white.  It seems that that one day is a day I can "see" pictures.  Maybe just in my eye and maybe no one else will care or like them, but they are shot for me at that moment.  I think Stout expressed so well some of the things I feel when quietly making my way across snow covered fields and threading between dark tree trunks on the woods.  They are all "quiet stretches" to savor.  

I have a thousand pictures of Queen Annes Lace from all seasons-it's everywhere in my part of the world.  In the cold of winter, it's stands silent and delicate and in the dawn of the day casts threads of shadows on the sparkling snow.  I have yet to tire of making those pictures of them. An unimpressive treeline, grounded in fieldstone, now becomes a better subject with layers of grey hills backing it up and limbs of black branches holding still.

A day of enduring wind created acres of farm field drifts and a mosaic of patterns. Almost overwhelming, I had to caution myself not to shoot a thousand frames of these forms.  The lab followed closely behind me struggling in the deep snow until reaching the firmness of the windblown pack.  The way the morning light played off the snow reminded me of water waves gently washing up to a smooth beach leaving behind very similar shapes in the sand.  Others, like waves about to crash, but now frozen still.  Tucked away at a quieter place at the edge of a frog pond, isolated tracks were evidence that life was still tucked in here. Nearby stems of a cattail seemed to be reaching up like fingers freeing themselves from the snow, casting long thin strands in a minimalist, almost zen quality.  At another time I might have walked past, but this day, there was something there-at least for myself.  Perhaps just a simple composition belonging to just me and like in the quote something to savor.
Queen Annes Lace
The Drift Breakline
Snow Waves
Delicate Footfalls
Strands in the Snow

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