Winter Walk around My Neighborhood
January 3, 2021
People in the northern climes carry idealized images of palm trees in their heads. They imagine green fronds on tidy trees right next to a pristine beach. They don’t see the brown fronds that hang down below the green ones or ones that fall off the trees into the roadways. They don’t see the litter of dead fronds at the base of the trees in the parks. (Mind you, I like the litter of dead palm fronds, but I may be a little unusual that way.) The other day I was looking at the remnants of snow lying around my neighborhood and thought, “People who don’t see snow in person don’t know how it looks after it’s been around a while.” So I start off this post with that reality, segueing into what else I could find on my dreary morning walk yesterday. We aren’t forecast to see any sunshine until a week from tomorrow, and that only partial. I may have to resort to the archives or more Intentional Camera Movement in the house for the next post.
That’s a nicely isolated little leaf in #6, and then a different take on the theme in #7. Like you, I’m also fond of taking pictures showing dense scraggly bare branches in winter like #11 and #9. The same goes for the remains of cattails, as in #5. Does #10 show winterberry, Ilex verticillata? I remember dirty snow from when I grew up in New York.
January 4, 2021 at 8:39 AM
Glad we share a love of bare branches, Steve. I like seeing the underlying structure of trees; with leaves on the branches you can’t see it as well. (It’s not that I dislike leaves, and I’m happy you like #6.) I wish I could say that #10 shows winterberry. Unfortunately, it’s multiflora rose, an invasive species. Pity the rose hips are so pretty. Maybe that’s the way the plant apologises for its invasion.
January 4, 2021 at 9:03 AM
Yes, people always think of the pristine bits and forget what, overall, reality is actually like. #6 gets to me too. 🙂
January 4, 2021 at 9:12 AM
Thanks, Adrian. It’s not often that I think the center of interest belongs in the center of the composition, but it seemed the right thing to do with #6. My intent with the snow photos veered in two directions. I wanted people who’d never seen snow in person to understand that it doesn’t always look like a fluffy blanket. But I also hoped to show people who know perhaps too well what snow can look like as it gets old that even the dregs can be interesting if you spend a little time looking at them.
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January 4, 2021 at 11:38 AM
Wonderful shots, Linda. Especially #6 and #7.
January 4, 2021 at 10:08 AM
Thank you, Ken. The leaves and their settings in #s 6 and 7 are perhaps 12 feet apart. They are in a now-frozen vernal pool that completely dries up most summers.
January 4, 2021 at 11:41 AM
Lovely essay Linda!
January 4, 2021 at 4:17 PM
Thank you, John. I’m pleased you like it.
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January 4, 2021 at 9:17 PM
Fine set, Linda; they feel close!
January 5, 2021 at 2:58 AM
Thanks, Harrie. They were! 🙂
January 5, 2021 at 5:47 PM
What wonderful treasures you brought back from your exploring!
January 5, 2021 at 9:22 AM
Thanks, Mark. I was hoping for more. I had to relegate a lot of photos to the no-good pile because the focus was off. I was shooting at high ISO, which my camera doesn’t like. I don’t understand why my photographs are crisper when I shoot in strong sunshine. Do you?
January 5, 2021 at 5:54 PM
I can’t say that I’m fond of dirty old snow but I love what you’re seeing on these walks, Linda. I commiserate with you on the sunshine, though I think great images can be made without it. (But the lack of light does create problems like you said to Mark). Enough of this cloudy, gray weather! It’s hard on the spirit. It’s challenging to look objectively at the old snow photos because I have so many negative associations with old snow, especially on NYC streets. I like the progression of 5 – 7. In #8 you matched the bark to the leaves in the background – wow. #9 – 11 show beauty in chaos, something you need a good eye for composition to do successfully. I think #11 is my favorite because it has emotional overtones – the branches seem to be reaching gracefully down to almost bless the bent-over grasses, as if to say, “Take heart, you will live again.” It’s poignant.
January 7, 2021 at 12:23 PM
Thanks for your honesty about the old-snow photos, Lynn. Perhaps I was trying too hard to find beauty in the truly mundane. And I wonder if I really did educate anyone about the look of old snow. Most if not all of the readers of this blog are probably familiar with it. Some years ago, however, I was showing my Sarasota neighbor—born and raised in Florida—some of my photographs, and she was puzzled by one taken along Ohio’s Vermilion River in winter. “What’s that?,” she said, pointing to a thin film of ice among twigs and leaves. She had never seen ice in the landscape and didn’t recognize it. Progressions are fun to try, and I’m glad you saw them in #s 5 through 7. I love that you see emotional overtones in the last photo and have such a winning way of explaining them. I didn’t have your words but felt a tug every time I looked at that one. That’s why I saved it for last.
January 7, 2021 at 5:20 PM