The Humble Lens -- Embracing the Beauty of Winter
We’ve all been there. The weather turns. The last leaves fall. The days become shorter and darker as we linger around the winter solstice. Here is a gentle reminder that winter can be both a place where we gravitate toward comfort and warmth as well as an opportunity to pause and appreciate all this season has to share. It is both the ending of one seasonal cycle as well as the beginning of another.
A fresh start.
Appreciate the seasons. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I've learned to appreciate the seasons in ways I’d never recognized before. As an artist, creating during the throws of winter is critical to my mental wellbeing, so I wanted to share a few ways that you can create beautiful imagery with your phone or camera during these shorter days. When bundling up to go outside, dress with warmth and texture in mind. Consider accessories that have rich deep colors, heavy knits, and layers. This is your opportunity to incorporate elements that will both keep you comfortable in chilling temperatures and also add elements or interest and pops of color to your imagery.
Chase winter light. As a photographer, I am a light seeker. It is a critical aspect in creating my imagery. But the incredible thing about the seasonal changes is that they occur as a result of the earth’s tilted access and constantly changing position around the waxing sun. The light is always there. It’s just different. And different is good. I’ve found that the winter sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking to capture through my lens. They often have a cooler, cleaner hue and color, sometimes beautifully diffused by the winter fog of filtered by the trees that have recently dropped their leaves. And the blue hours are spectacular as well, leaving behind gorgeous depth and emotion in your imagery.
Enjoy your own private oasis. One of my favorite parts of adventuring with my family during the winter months is that we often arrive at our favorite beaches and trails to find that we have the entire place to ourselves. These experiences, where we feel as though an entire vast space has been reserved just for us, have made for some of the most amazing memories and photographs we’ve captured as a family to date. Remember, beaches, lakes and trails aren’t just for the summer months.
Let the natural elements and your imagination lead you. Don’t wait for the wind to die down or the fog to let up. Jump in and capture the movement and the mystery that these winter elements are handing you. Rain and snow doesn’t mean you have to stay in. Be the first to walk a freshly snow-blanketed trail. Photograph the way you feel when you are surrounded by such a magical scene.
Capture winter foliage in your frame, forage and bring them home. Winter has a beautiful way of simplifying everything, producing a clearer, crisper view of the world around us. A stillness. A sense of peacefulness. Take time to appreciate and photograph the foliage that surrounds us in winter and even forage and bring it back in to appreciate in your home. Gather ivy, symbolizing cooperation, loyalty, life and rebirth, to adorn your mantle and frame your favorite window. Evergreen trees (cedar is my personal favorite) always look their most regal during this time of year, when all the colorful leaves have fallen and it is their chance to steal the show. After photographing them, look for windfallen branches on the ground, gather them and arrange cuttings in a vase for your home. A combination of cedar, blue spruce and pine are a beautiful combination This "solstice bouquet". Holly is another winter foliage that should not be overlooked. It is thought to bring good luck and protection. If you find it, add a few sprigs to your solstice bouquet.
I carry this beautiful quote in my soul through the depths of winter:
"Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they will grow again." -- Katherine May, Wintering
Trust in the cyclicality of Mother Nature. Know that the energies of spring will arrive in due time and watch for them when you're adventuring. Every season has so much to give to our creative minds. Sometimes all we need is a little reminder.