Spring Shield



Reflect3This is a place I’ve been wanting to photograph for a while but I’m usually here with a bike and my mountain biking ‘ability’ is not really compatible with safely transporting a camera and riding over rocky terrain. On the weekend I decided to walk the trails instead but the sky was a heavy grey and the light seemed uninspiring for making images.

This Canadian Shield landscape is always beguiling to be in, though, with its lichen-covered granite undulating gracefully between ponds and wooded areas. The images that I liked the best (and have posted here) turned out to be double and triple exposures.

The landscape is still mostly a profusion of lovely browns but if you put your ear to the ground you can hear that the earth’s heartbeat has quickened.

[A series of in-camera multiple exposures]

© Karen McRae, 2014

The Creek’s Edge


Creek-E(motion)-2Here we are at the edges again. The creek overflowing onto the rich earth, buds swelling on the tips of branches, patchy tufts of green grass, the sun falling away. This sepia-toned world won’t last too long now.

I had trouble finding a way to mark this particular transition but I kept working at it. A single image wasn’t working so I made some in-camera double exposures. One frame with movement and one without. Sort of like layering a quick sketch and a detailed drawing. Somehow this came closer to capturing the allure of the in-between.

Today is Earth Day, and many of the same issues that fueled the first Earth day in 1970 are just as immediate as they were 44 years ago. We are still on the edges of possibility.

© Karen McRae, 2014

The River’s Edge





At-the-Edges3The river ice is breaking up slowly. Shifting a little everyday in the sun and wind and really coming open where there are strong undercurrents. I was a little surprised to see this snapping turtle floating at the frayed edges of the ice, able to lift its head for air but otherwise shifting with the water like a piece of driftwood, too cold to move. It’s been a long winter for everybody and spring has been tentative. We have land now, though. Earth, mud, grit and weathered grasses. The snow is mostly gone, we are just waiting on the river…




© Karen McRae, 2014

Road Stories 2 ~ the edges of



Left-Behind-_-Light-TrailsThe edges of the city in that in-between light at the edge of the day. It seems too we are in the fray of both winter and spring. But were making progress. It’s okay that it’s not moving along too quickly; I am trying to savour the slow release of the earth and the lethargic inching up of the thermometre.

Transitions can happen so quickly that there are times you can’t get to them. Can’t be in them. They are gone before you arrive. But the edges, they are full of possibilities too.


[These images were made while traveling in a moving car]

© Karen McRae, 2014

Coming to Life


A rather awkward little animation but it was fun to make. The subject is a seed head from my garden photographed at slightly different angles to allow for movement and then layered and animated in Photoshop.

Unfortunately it cannot be turned off but below is a still image of the same subject for visual relief. GIFs can get annoying very quickly! It’s not something I would usually post (although I’ve made a few other unskilled animations over the years), but for some reason I keep picturing this little dragon breathing…


What’s growing in your garden?

© Karen McRae, 2014

Incremental Spring


AfterWinter2These little seed heads in my garden keep calling me back to look at them and I like observing their changes as they advance through the seasons and work their way out of the snow. Somehow they still hold a whisper of the faded colours of summer.

Spring is in no hurry, really, but under the trees there are finally circles of earth, damp and tarnished from the winter. These hopeful patches might hold a gentle robin or a few starlings jabbing hungrily at the ground, and today for the first time I am hearing the lovely lilt of a red-winged blackbird. We are grateful for any bits of spring that we find even if it is simply the incremental folding back of the snow or a few pussy willows breaking through their skins.

Below: The first pussy willows, a couple of weeks old now…

© Karen McRae, 2014