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Dried grass calligraphy

A single grass stem with a curled dried leaf casts a calligraphic shadow across a rolling bank of fresh snow

Dried grass cal­lig­ra­phy on fresh snow

Yes­ter­day was a beau­ti­ful, sun­ny win­ter day in Edmon­ton (although a bit too warm — things shouldn’t be melt­ing yet!) and I took the chance to take the snow­shoes (and kid, and dog, and cam­era) out to the Cook­ing Lake-Black­foot Provin­cial Recre­ation Area. I like going into the park from the south end, park­ing at the Islet Lake stag­ing area.

With all the snow we’ve got­ten, the lakeshore topog­ra­phy has been smoothed out to gen­tle undu­la­tions of per­fect, smooth snow. That, com­bined with the low sun this time of year, pro­vides lots of chances for pho­tographs with sim­ple, ele­gant lines and min­i­mal visu­al clut­ter.

Cooking lake post-top snow cones

Cook­ing lake post-top snow cones

(And then there’s this one — pret­ty much on the oth­er end of the spec­trum — using the same basic ele­ments for slap­stick rather than ele­gance… but can you guess which one my daugh­ter pre­ferred?)
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Snow-laden black spruce

A thick cap of fresh snow covers the top of a thin, sparsely branched, black spruce tree

Snow cap on thin black spruce

After receiv­ing huge amounts of new snow over the past few weeks, we final­ly got a day where the sun man­aged to peak — weak­ly — through the clouds for a few hours. Since I was already on the west side of town, I decid­ed to head out to the Wag­n­er Nat­ur­al Area where, I hoped, the dense spruce trees cov­ered in deep snow would pro­vide an inter­est­ing pho­to­graph­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty or two.

It was more chal­leng­ing than I expect­ed — the huge amount of snow often looked like just a big pile slumped over every­thing, rather than con­trast­ing or com­pli­ment­ing the forms of the trees. But a chal­lenge can be good fun, and I did get a cou­ple images that I’m quite hap­py with — I’ll share some more over the next lit­tle while.

Non-vignetted version

Non-vignetted

The pro­cess­ing in this one was inspired by an image by a local pho­tog­ra­ph­er who I’ve men­tioned before, Joel Koop. He post­ed an image on his blog that was heav­i­ly vignetted (dark­ened in the cor­ners) in post-pro­cess­ing — and it looked great. I had already processed this one with a lit­tle bit of vignetting, but his image inspired me to try push­ing it a bit fur­ther, and I think I like it this way. What do you think? (I’ve includ­ed the non-vignetted ver­sion here for com­par­i­son — use your arrow keys to switch between ver­sions.)
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Magpie tracks in fresh snow

The imprint of a magpies wing and tail are left behind in fresh snow

Mag­pie wing­print

After a cou­ple cen­time­ters of fresh, pow­dery snow, I went for a walk at the Strath­cona Sci­ence Park along the North Saskatchewan Riv­er. In one area there were near­ly a dozen spots where a mag­pie had dropped into the snow, leav­ing these beau­ti­ful impres­sions of its wing tips and long tail — thrown into beau­ti­ful detail by the low angle of the sun these days. I couldn’t tell what it was after under the snow, and I didn’t see any oth­er mag­pie tracks out­side of this one small area. If you have ever seen some­thing sim­i­lar, I’d love to hear you think this bird might have been up to.

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Talbot Lake Ridges

Miette range from Talbot lake

Miette range from Tal­bot lake

One of my favourite pho­tographs I’ve tak­en, (yes, I’ll have a copy at the show this week­end), is this one which I called “Miette range from Tal­bot Lake.” I made this expo­sure back in Feb­ru­ary of 2007 as I was dri­ving home through Jasper Nation­al Park. The dead trees in this pho­to were killed in a con­trolled burn for­est fire in 2003. The still-stand­ing, black­ened trunks con­trast­ed beau­ti­ful­ly with the dust­ing of snow on the ridge. What I real­ly love about the post-burn Tal­bot Lake area is that you get to see the sub­tle ridge and val­ley topog­ra­phy of the hills, which is nor­mal­ly cov­ered by a thick blan­ket of spruce and fir trees. Com­bine that with a lit­tle side light­ing, a dust of snow or bloom­ing fire­weed, and me with a cam­era – I could hap­pi­ly spend all day.

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $