Our steps haven’t been completely clear for quite a while this winter. Even when they weren’t covered with fresh snow there were still the inevitable patches of ice or compacted snow. And the temperatures just haven’t risen high enough or the sun hasn’t beat down on the steps enough to clear them.
After a recent overnight snowfall it seemed that the steps were just peeking out of the snow, making a wonderful study in black and white. The mounds of shoveled snow on either side of the steps (remnants of previous snows) breaks up the white with a welcome curve, and the lone leaf was there for only a short time before a gust of wind swept it up and into the air, across the yard.
It was sunny and warm yesterday – perfect conditions for snowshoeing. We headed off into the woods without a specific destination but rather to explore. The snow was still deep where is was sheltered from the full sunlight making our snowshoes a definite requirement for any navigation. There were numerous deer trails and turkey tracks throughout the woods. After awhile we came upon a small clearing that was more open to the sunlight. The shadows fell strong upon the snow, in undulating lines and patterns — a dynamic statement of the beauty of winter.
I spent a couple of hours this morning at the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park. The flowers were beautiful and the rain gradually cleared away while I was there. But today I was seeing lines, rather than colorful flowers. I spotted this fern near a window. Gracefully it arched upward, and its tips hung down and even swirled over itself. I walked around the fern and photographed many of the branches. And then I saw this one as I was looking down. Its green color was complimented by the flooring stones and it spread and twirled below where I stood. For some reason this image became all about the simplicity, the lines, the colors, and the gracefulness of the fern.
One of the pluses to photographing in the snow is it allows you to see things in a much different way. My primary photographic influence is color – the hues, the saturations, the play of one color off another. But when the landscape is covered in snow I find my eyes “see” differently. The abstract becomes much more visual for me. I was especially caught by this scene. Here was a light post by the side of a street. The street had tire tracks in the snow creating the horizontal patterns. The light pole was the vertical cross-pattern to the tire tracks. But then there was this wonderful swirl and curve that was created by the blowing snow all around the base of the light post. All the visuals seemed to play off each other in what would normally be a rather nondescript scene.
The fluffy, powdery snow started falling Friday afternoon and continued throughout the night. By the time I got up on Saturday morning, we had about seven inches of fluffy, white snow covering the ground and trees. With no wind, it was beautiful! I headed over to one of the nearby golf courses. What I found was a beautiful study in the textures and lines of winter. The branches of the old oak trees were outlined in white. Their rugged bark was dusted with snow in places, and was a sharp contrast to the smoothness of the snow on the ground. And the side light from the sun was adding its own lines and shadows as it cut over the snow at an angle, sometimes creating a bright sparkle as it caught a crystal of ice just right. What seemed like a simple, nondescript scene became one of interest and beauty, and I found myself marveling at all the little nuances that were there before me.