Winter has a way of showing us things we don’t notice in other seasons. Rocks and branches hidden during most of the year are now brought to the forefront. Ice is the hi-lighter and snow becomes a painter’s brush. Ice covered trees and rocks are Winter’s sculptures. These abstract pieces are impossible to see at any other time, just in Winter. The exhibit is available only to those venturing out during this harsh and unforgiving time.
Landscape changes during the Winter. Familiar surroundings are transformed into an altered space. Covered by snow and ice, few landmarks remain to help us navigate this changed space. The trees are reduced to ominous silhouettes in this season, but are the few familiar elements, helping orient ourselves. Like silent, sleeping, sentinels, trees withstand the cold darkness of the winter, standing on the lookout for another cycle of warmth and nature’s awakening.
What colour is Winter? When thinking of Winter, we tend to imagine a monochrome world. It is the landscape of muted tones of gray and white. In Winter, the Sun peeks at us at a lower angle, sparse with warmth, yet full of colour. Soft glow of first morning rays on ice and fleeting hues of purple and blue light up the skies for a few brief moments. This colourful light show is there for minutes, bridging a long night and a cold, bland winter day.
Ice is one of the essential elements of a winter landscape. The grip of deep cold sculpts a delicate layer of ice at the edge of the water. Rocks and pebbles slowly become something different. A temporary outline of the winter stillness against the restleness of the lake. Ice outlines are a winter’s mirage, there for a moment, gone with the first thaw.
Winter is usually associated with stillness, silence and cold. Winter also brings different colours, a changed view on the familiar. Snow covered shapes appear different, more mysterious. Ice build-up creates new shapes and adds to a new landscape, here just for the season. This cold landscape appears permanent but is anything but. This snowy mirage gives us a stage, a place to observe a different world and think of what comes next.
The great water that connects, divides, and provides. Great lakes have made adenturers out of all of us for millenia. As we make home of these accepting but rugged shores, admiration of this massive waterway just grows. Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior,
H-O-M-E-S, is how school students remember them on their geography tests. Once you behold the water, though, there is hardly a way to forget. The big water that makes us all eternal voyageurs, hopeful adventurers.
Photographed at a variety of Great Lakes locations in period between 2010 and 2017 using Olympus Digital Cameras.
The great lakes are indeed the imposing inland seas. Lake Superior is the largest and most impressive in its vastness and quiet power. This lake has been known to overwhelm some of the largest of ships with its power and sudden weather shift. More often, it overwhelms with the majesty of its landscape. For centuries, this vital waterway has inspired travelers and artists. It is indeed a timeless place. Facing this great mass of unstoppable water, one can only marvel at the serenity and eternal dimension of this landscape. It’s Superior shore, a reminder that we are only visiting here.
Photographed near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario in May 2017 with Olympus PEN EP-5 digital camera.
St.John’s Newfoundland is the eastern most harbour on the continent. It is the port at the same time nearest and the farthest, depending on one’s perspective. A harbour shielded by the rocky walls, history inscribed in its fortifications and lighthouses. Once a fisheries center, now this city harbors tourists and memories. Colourful houses, lighthouses and repurposed fishing ports shelter life that moves at its own pace, human warmth amid foreboding nature and rugged sea.
Photographed on Kodak Ektar 100 film, St.John’s, NL September 2017
Processed in West Toronto, using Argentix/Unicolor C-41 kit
Montreal is where the Old World stops and the New World begins. This transition starts at Old Montreal. Icons of the old world with the new world background. Going up river from Montreal we find West, Great Lakes and the New World, a place where we can explore and reinvent ourselves without worrying about what our pre-ordained place in the world is. Old World is down river, across the Ocean, with all its habits, biases and unresolved issues. On a crisp Spring evening, the old and new combine into a comfortable in-between-place, a somewhat imperfect but workable blend. Old Montreal, meeting of the old and the new, in quiet harmony.