The Colours of Winter

ice, mountains, ice bubbles, canada, alberta, not abraham lake, not spray lakes, rockies, dan Jurak, alberta, landscpae

Ah winter. The season where everything is white. White? Everywhere? Hardly.

I love all of the seasons that we have up here in Alberta. From the browns and blacks of early spring (really, Alberta in March and April is devoid of bright colours), to the splashes of wildflowers against green forests and crops, the golds, yellows and reds of autumn and the spectacular sunrises and sunsets of winter.

For many years winter was my favourite time of year to take photos. While others huddled indoors or jetted off for warmer climes I preferred to be up before sunrise, thermos full of coffee, spare camera batteries in the vehicle and my warmest winter wear.

Close to where I live on the coldest days of the year if there is no wind something magical happens to the prairie. It becomes a scene from a fairytale book. With a low hanging ice fog and a perpetually low sun just peeking above the horizon for most of the days my bak yard becomes a photographers paradise.

Further west in the Canadian rockies which for me is a four hour drive, the national parks provide a different kind of environment to photograph in. Weather and light are everything here. It is easy to become overwhelmed by a mountain environment and simply record everything that you see. Do that and if you are like me you will probably be deleting most of the images from your memory cards when you get home. What seemed stunning in person looks obviously dull on second look.

In the mountain parks I am more at the mercy than back at home. At home I check the local forecast and if it looks good I am out in a flash.

Conversely when I am in the mountains I will take photos no matter what.

Happily the great colours of morning and evening happen around 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. during the shortest days of winter.

On the day that this photo was taken I was up at 7:00 a.m. had time to grab breakfast and get my thermos filled and was out on the ice before the sun rose.

By 9:00 a.m. I was driving back home.

The brilliant colours don’t last for very long but with the light very low to the horizon the light is fantastic during most of the day for black and white photography.

Happy shooting,

ps. BTW, this photo was NOT taken at Abraham or Spray Lakes which have become very popular, in fact too popular to my liking.

Why do I feel that way? I read a blog earlier today about a place in the U.S. that over the past years has become famous for its night time photos of the milky way and rock arches.

The place has become over crowded with tour buses now stopping there and tourists indiscriminately relieving themselves everywhere which leaves human feces and urine in the open. Photographers are camping there illegally overnight and vandalism is occurring to the surrounding area.

It has gotten so bad that it has been suggested that the area be closed to the public during certain hours.

Of all the places in the states to take night pictures, so little imagination is used that it is easier to follow the sheep to where everyone else is. That my friends is not what creativity is about.


~ by Dan Jurak on February 14, 2017.

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