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

Night Light 2



PalmerRapidsatNight2Long exposures of fast-moving water at night. These photographs were made during a paddling/camping trip and although there were lots of stars in the inky sky there was no glowing moon, so in order to light the first and last images I ‘painted’ the slipping-by water with my headlamp and set the camera to make 30 second exposures. In the middle image you can see my paddling friends are lighting the rapids (and the fluttery bugs) with their own headlamps.

(Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera set to raw mode when I made these photographs – poorly planned on my part – so the image quality is not that great…)

© 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 Shape of Winter, Elsewhere








SandbarRipples5 In this version of winter you cast off your boots and bulky layers and place your feet directly on the warm sand. Sand that you have gratefully borrowed for just a week. And you can’t stop looking at those marine blues of the sea and the graceful patterns the water makes. You want them etched in your mind forever. Damn, we live in a gorgeous world.

A counterpoint to the previous post, I guess. I’ve been away – feet in the sand, head in the clouds blue sky.

[Near and far views of the shifting landscape of Exuma, Bahamas. Sigh.]

© Karen McRae, 2014

Cold Enough

Cold enough for a rebirth of frost.

Shards assembling themselves

like a phoenix rising from damp ashes.

SundogCold enough for all-day sundogs

those almost rainbows – a compass around the sun.

Flow3Cold enough to feel alive

in the bright rays

Flow1in the cadence of the water

Flow2in the crisp beauty.

Cold enough to feel

until you go



© Karen McRae, 2014

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