The Spirited Ones


InandOutof-the-Hand11Tiny chickadees in and out of the hand. I feel these images may give a sense of the sensations; the whirr of the wings at your ear and the ever-so-gentle touching down on your fingertips. A quiet joy.

[Click on the tiled squares to enter an image gallery]

The River's Edge
At River’s Edge, end of day.

© Karen McRae, 2015

Evening Aria


EveningSong2In-camera multiple exposures of the mutable river and sky ~ intimate and still, wide open and wild. The summer heat sends the mind (and perhaps the body) to the water.

© Karen McRae, 2015

Origami Gulls


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’.








© Karen McRae, 2015

This Might Be It






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

It’s Better (and colder) In Real Life


I can’t resist the call of the river, even at (especially at?) -25c. The way the cold transforms the landscape is always captivating and I especially love visiting the places where the water runs fast and manages to defy the freezing temperatures. It can be difficult to truly capture the majesty of the winter wonderland but perhaps that is part of what keeps me coming back.






Karen McRae, 2015

Iced Landscape

River'sEdge_grassesThe river’s edge, late afternoon

WinterStarlingA starling in winter dress

IcedLandscape2_the-woods The woods fully iced

After a quick succession of snow, freezing rain, and plummeting temperatures the sun came out and today everything was sparkling.

Karen McRae, 2015

The Jagged Edges of Winter


It seems the river has been pitching itself against the shoreline in the cold and wind, frosting whatever it could manage to touch before its own edges are too frozen to move. Unfortunately, by the time I managed to get out the light was very dull, but at the moment there is new snow falling, and by morning the landscape will be transformed again. These fringes of the seasons can be so fleeting.


© Karen McRae, 2014

Purple Martins




Purple-Martins-4The gorgeous Purple Martins have returned to their summer home near the river. I saw a little bit of nest-building material being collected but mostly the swallows were zipping about catching insects when I made these photographs.

Purple-Martin-Nesting-BoxI love their songs and when you hear an entire community of them vocalizing together – especially once the young are hatched – it’s really quite a wonderful auditory experience. I’ll try to make a little recording at some point but there is a soundbite link below if you’re interested.

Click here to listen: Purple Martin Vocalizations (Soundclip from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.) Imagine perhaps 100 birds making those sounds…

Purple-Martins-5It’s been so beautiful outside it’s been hard to stay indoors!

[The image with three birds is a composite (layered) image showing various flight acrobatics.]

© Karen McRae, 2014