The First Few Days












Openwater_Frost10The first few days of the year have been very cold. I am frequently lured out in this weather – it is one of my favourite times to make photographs – as the landscape shifts in and out of light and the breath from the river envelopes everything in its wintriness.

The sighting of a robin used to be a harbinger of spring but it is no longer uncommon to come across small flocks of overwintering robins. These robin photographs were made on one of the coldest days of the winter.


© Karen McRae, 2014

The Rain Becomes You

The-Water-GathererA damselfly that tells fortunes…?


Hold-on-TightI think this might be a small weevil(?) of some sort, managing to hang on to the underside of a leaf with the weight of all that water.




The-Little-ForagerWe have had a fair share of grey and rain around here. The earth is well watered, and you could disappear in the tall green grasses. It is easy to gripe about the greyness of it all, but when the sun returns you are reminded that each drop is a transient gem.

© Karen McRae, 2013

What Water Does

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”
― Loren Eiseley

MosaicSeedhead_LollipopAbove and below: Seedheads covered in ice from freezing rain – the patterns develop as the ice starts to melt away and break up into smaller pieces.


FrostFeathersFrost flowers develop when it is very cold and the air is quite moist. The ones pictured here formed on thin ice at the edge of the river near open water, on a night when the temperature dipped to -25C.
FrostLeafAbove: A tiny branch with phantom ‘leaves’ on a cold winter morning.
Below: A small frost formation on a window. WindowFrostFormations2

CandleIce4The Ottawa River shifting through the seasons.

Rapids1I sometimes find it difficult to shift my visual thinking/creativity away from the winter landscape in the spring. For me it holds a bit of magic like no other season. The key to these transformations is water. From raindrops to snowflakes, to ice and frost, is there anything with more imagination than water?

The landscape is mostly shades of brown now with small bits of green trying to emerge through the damp earth. The river has lost its ice. Most of the photographs here have been posted on these pages before, some even from the previous winter, so I guess this is a bit of a recap (or an ice cap), but together they attempt to illustrate, and to let go of, the season that has just passed.

Also, on Monday April 22nd it will be Earth Day! In 2013 the focus is on climate change and how it is impacting people, creatures and environments the world over. You can learn more (and participate) by going to the Earth Day website. It is our collective voices and actions that make changes.

What are your plans for Earth Day?



© Karen McRae, 2013

World Water Day

ADropontheEarth3Today is World Water Day.

World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.” This quote is from the UNESCO website.

If you have had a chance to see much of this blog you would notice that is 93 percent water and 7 percent dehydrated (I haven’t actually done the math for this but you get the idea).
I suppose it is redundant to say that water is fundamental to existence but… But it is. And there are a thousand reasons why I think about this.

We are all integrally connected – to the earth – to water.

2013 is the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Cooperation. There is always room for more of that, isn’t there? In the spirit of cooperation and World Water Day I’d like to share what I think is an inspiring, alarming and important book – about water. About us.

Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts. If you get a chance to read this, please let me know.

Because this little drop of freshwater here; it might fall into the little creek at my feet, meander out to one river and then to a bigger river, and find its way to the sea. It might end up at your feet.

© Karen McRae, 2013