The Softening

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Last-Year's-LeavesLittle glimpses of the softening landscape and the play of light and shadow by roadsides. Spring has been set in glorious motion and there was a collective sigh of relief from the landscape and its inhabitants.

(click on the gallery of square tiles below to view each image individually)

© Karen McRae, 2015

Origami Gulls

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The-Gulls-7The warm weather birds are returning. And while the land, too, has returned from under the snow, the rivers and lakes are still holding vast expanses of ice. I was watching these seagulls bickering, swooping and foraging at the open edges of the water, catching little fish and the lovely afternoon light. Some of the slow-shutter-speed images made me think of paper cranes which explains the title ‘Origami Gulls’.

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© Karen McRae, 2015

Residual Garden

These are macro photographs of some of the little seedheads in my garden that are no bigger than my thumbnail. They have been mostly snuggled under snow for eternity the winter… But today spring actually seemed like it temporarily meant business and it got to work rolling back those white carpets that have been covering the fields and lawns and sleepy flowerbeds. A brilliant day full of warmth, sunshine and riotous birdsong. Who could possibly stay indoors?

[From the series In Transition: Seedhead Series. (click on images to view them larger)]

© Karen McRae, 2015

Spring is Extinct

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LittleGlaciers5Or, at least, if you lived here you could be forgiven for thinking this is true. It is also true that there are small signs of spring: the pussy willows are indeed popping out of their dark skins, the birds already have a little spring fever, the days are longer, brighter… But it’s still pretty cold. Just yesterday it snowed. Again.

Today the sun was shining, though, with enough warmth to start a slow melt of the little glaciers that line the streets. They are retreating incrementally. I spent hours out in nature but it was only on the walk home, looking at that gritty street-side snow and those small puddles, that I found images I liked. A slow shutter for a slow spring.

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[Images of pavement, snow and ice, made while walking]
*Spring is not really extinct. I hope.

© Karen McRae, 2015

In Passing

Autumn-Dusk2A few more of those slipping-by landscapes ~ Late autumn to winter as we wait on spring.
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[I recently posted the penultimate photograph but I like it paired with the image just below it ~ the unkempt, and the (somewhat) orderly.]

© Karen McRae, 2015

This Might Be It

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TheRapidsinMarch7We might have reached the final crescendo of winter cold. Maybe? This might be it for mornings starting out at -25c. How beautiful they can be, though. The clarity of the cold. And a stage set for…ducks. Those goldeneye ducks will push up against the northern iciness as long as there is open water. Surely there are more hospitable places to spend the winter but every year it seems as though there are just a few more of these birds that can’t resist this beautiful river.

The thermometre is rising now. We are destined to feel temperatures above zero in the next few days. It will be especially sweet this year.

Part of me, though, already misses this frosted landscape.

[photographs from yesterday morning]

© Karen McRae, 2015

‘The Tangled Garden’ *

The-Tangled-Garden(click on image for a larger and more detailed view)

*the modern, gritty, winter version.

Which is not at all like the *original Tangled Garden that inspired the title: a painting made almost 100 years ago, all brush strokes and rich autumn colours. The image here is urban: all road salt and gravelly snow at the edges of the concrete city. ‘Painted’ in 1/20th of a second at the press of a button.

But it would be very difficult to create this image again. The landscape and the light change continually. The synthesis of camera movement and car speed would never quite be the same. To me there is something hopeful and lovely about the whole gritty mess; a push and pull between the focused and blurred, between earth and snow. I like, too, how the subtle flecks of gold graze some of the vegetation – the last bit of light before it falls away. And the idea of painting with a camera, and making images that we might not actually see otherwise (but perhaps still feel).

© Karen McRae, 2015