Things To Love About February









This view.

February holds a little bit of everything, even in its infancy. Snow (not enough), rain, freezing rain, warm temperatures, freezing cold temperatures. It is a month that throws itself to the wind and just goes with it.

All this ‘weathering’ has created a lovely kaleidoscope of shapes on this expansive part of river, the colours shifting with the light and clouds as they streak across the sky.


© Karen McRae, 2016


Waxwings3I’ve been seeing glimpses of this flock for several days out my window. They rise and fall as swiftly and gracefully as snowflakes on the whim of the wind. Moving between evergreens heavy with pine cones, mountain ash trees laden with berries, and a huge silver birch with winter buds.  It seems each time I decide to go outside and watch them they are gone by the time I bundle up and lace up my boots. I’ve been sneaking shots through the window, but really, they are too fast for me.

© Karen McRae, 2016

Winter Nights

WinterNight2They have only just begun, really. It was a few days ago that the snow finally decided to swing by and tuck in the plants and trees with a thick white blanket. I confess that I love it. What is more peaceful than a shrouded winter night? The snowflakes, relinquished from clouds, slipping by in whispers. Fresh snow for a fresh year.

Best wishes for this shiny new year

[Images made by using a pop of flash at the beginning of a long exposure and then a little camera movement during the exposure.]
© Karen McRae, 2016

Hanging Memories on Ribbons

A couple of years ago around this same time of year I came across this small tree decorated with a few shiny baubles on gossamer ribbons. It was a season of snow and cold, which this year emphatically, is not. At least, not so far. This particular tree, I think, is planted in a public space in memory of someone and those ribbons and balls were most likely filled with warm thoughts and tender memories . It seemed such an intimate and lovely gesture in an unlikely space and at the time I thought the best way to photograph the scene was through camera movement. One small gesture for another.

© Karen McRae, 2015

In Passing

Autumn-Dusk2A few more of those slipping-by landscapes ~ Late autumn to winter as we wait on spring.

[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

‘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

Something in the Air


It has been -20c for a month and a half.

This statement may be an exaggeration but only a slight one. If one wanted to know for sure they could always check here, but why bother. It feels like it’s been -20c for a month and a half. Even for a winter lover it’s a bit cold.

The birds have had enough. I hear them calling for spring in their songs. Perhaps even insisting on it. At least, these sound like spring songs I am hearing. Yes, I am hearing one now…? And the feathered ones seem especially active. But it could be that they are just trying to keep warm.

Nature is pressing on, though. I see the bluejays picking at tight winter buds and catkins on some of the trees (how do they still manage to produce those in this cold?!). The sleepy pussy willows are likely growing those fur coats they need for early spring – I haven’t checked yet.

Anyway, there is something in the air besides -20.

Dozens-of-Waxwings1A flock with dozens of Waxwings, spotted yesterday.






© Karen McRae, 2015