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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.)

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

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.

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

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: $