Brrrr

I do not know where each of you live, but where I live, it is winter.
What’s a foot of snow here and there? How about minus 22 degrees F?
Wisconsin is having a very wintry winter.

While winter can be brutal, it also lends itself to the pursuit and
art of photography.

Ricardo Stra contributed these two beautiful images of some sort of
fox to my Flickr group, Earth Images.  Wildlife photography can be at its grandest in winter.

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Speaking of grand, how about the Grand Canyon in Arizona? George
Vittman left this beauty in Earth Images as well. There is something
beyond special about seeing this legendary vista when it is rimmed
with snow.
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The rest of today’s pictures are mine and they are “well-worn” having been placed the
pages of this blog before.

One of my absolute favorite forms of winter photography is
that of wildlife.  You see migratory animals that you may not see in
other seasons, and of course you may well have snow as a powerful
backdrop for your images.

Snowy Owls and Rough-legged Hawks are winter visitors in the area where I live.
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In winter, Bald Eagles will fish at every bit of open water than can find. In
Wisconsin that means that they spend a lot of time on the ice
flows near open fishing spots in our rivers.
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Gallenaceous birds such as Ring-necked Pheasants, can be seen scurring
about on the snow throughout the season.
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Some birds like this Cedar Waxwing are specialists at eating winter
berries. Those that other birds turn up their noses at. As they
scurry around on bushes and in the actual snow, great pictures are
to be had.
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Of course mammals, especially those in the deer family such as
White-tails or moose, are often willing to allow a close approach under
these conditions.

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Another one of my favorite winter subjects are close-ups. Especially those that fall
short of being macros or “super close-ups”.

Locations where moving water begins to freeze, such as rocky areas
around lakes, or the base of waterfalls, make perfect subjects for
semi close-ups.
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Actual macros or super close-ups, made of patterns, shapes and natural
contrasts of ice and liquid water or rock, are one of nature’s
greatest gifts to photographers.
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Landscapes are likely what most photographers think of when the
consider winter photography. It’s hard to disagree with that analogy.

All of the images below were created within 20 miles of my home, most
a lot closer.

In winter, we have the rare opportunity to make compelling images
under all light conditions. Below we have pictures made under solid
overcast conditions, as well as at the edges of light around sunrise or
sunset. While there are no midday pictures below, the low southern
angle to the horizon, of the mid-winter midday sun is also very sweet.

The five photos below were all created during the soft, quiet light of
an overcast day. The gentility that arises just after (or during) a
snow storm on overcast days, makes it one of my all time favorite
conditions and subjects.
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It is well worth the effort, and sometimes the pain, to rise in the
darkness on a winter’s morning after a storm, and go out to a pre-chosen
location, and create images that combine the chilly blast of the
aftermath of the storm, with the warm glowing light of sunrise. Of
course this works just as well, at sunset.
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————————————————————————————————-

Every story has a moral.

The subject of winter got me thinking about a winter’s day in the long ago past.

Many years ago when I was driving a truck for a living, I was in a
large city, parked at the curb and doing some paperwork.  An elderly
lady was making her way along the sidewalk by gripping on the side of
a building. There had been an ice storm over night and the portion of
sidewalk she was on had not yet been salted. She lost the grip she had
on the protruding bricks of the building and took a fall. She laid on
the icy walkway and cried. I jumped out of my truck and carefully and
painfully (she was obese) pulled her to her feet. I then walked her
along the sidewalk until we reached the area where shopkeepers had
salted. She continued on her own but never said thank you. I said to
myself…..ingrate! How selfish some people can be I said to myself!
Then I got back in my truck and thought about it. I became ashamed of
myself. I was being at least as selfish as she was. I mean, who knows what
the anguish and horrors are in this lady’s life. While it may have
been true that she should of said thank you, it was equally true that
a thank you should have been of no consequence to me for doing a good
deed. A small enough deed at that.

The real moral to the story is, I was happy after the incident because I felt good about
helping this stranger.  My entire day was made better by those simple
actions, and I would suggest, so was hers.

Sometimes it’s not what we do, but why we do it that makes us better.

God Bless,

Wayne

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