” In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.”

— John Burroughs

It’s the first day of March and we have the unusual sight of remnants of snow on the ground. Vancouver and snow that lasts longer than three days? Where’s all the rain?

While we’re all eager to get onto spring, including us photographers, I recently enjoyed a walk in the forest after a snowfall and was reminded how each season has its own unique beauty. My walk began with an exploration of our own yard and then to the forest just down the street. The snow created a new, fresh look to all things ordinary and my time ended too soon. Afterward, I loaded my new photos into my Winter folder and decided to have a look at the 2000+ images from previous years.

Wow! Who took these? Oh, ya, that was me! It’s amazing how we can appreciate our own images more after time has gone by. “There are too many beautiful images here not to share,” I said to myself.

So, here you have it, my slide show on The Magic of Winter. Hope it helps you appreciate the the beauty within the ‘dead of winter’! Click full screen!

Below are a few of the images I made that afternoon. These help me realize that winter, just like our other seasons, needs to be loved and appreciated. There is so much beauty. We only need to be open to seeing it.

With the beauty of back light, these grasses growing in our front yard were showing off their intricate design.
As I explored our front yard for images, I found this one right next door. Although it looks like I’m in a meadow, there were houses and cars in the background, rendered out of focus by snow and shallow depth of field.
death of winter
Another winter scene from our neighbour’s front yard. Things need to die off before we get spring renewal.
A sword fern shimmers in the winter light.
Walking in the forest, the snow was falling from the branches above, creating beautiful cascades of light in the shadows.
While the trees were regularly dropping showers of snow crystals, they were in the wrong places! A double exposure was the solution to getting the shower where I wanted it.
Varied thrush
This beautiful Varied Thrush posed for me in our back yard. We had lots of seed out and the feeders were very busy. Really, I think he was just waiting his turn. This ‘tree’ is actually just a branch that I stuck in the ground so I could photograph the birds from the comfort of our dining room! This one was not actually part of my walk.

For Photographers

Backlight reveals hidden beauty! All of these photos, except the first one, rely on backlight to make them work. Backlight is when the light is shining from the back of the subject, toward the camera. And when it does that, it shines through the subject and reveals details that aren’t visible when the light comes from the side or front.

I used a telephoto lens (70-200 mm) for each image and had a wide open aperture. It’s the shallow depth of field that contributes to the out of focus highlights (bokeh) in the background.

Backlight reveals the details of this young leaf.