Coming to Grips with Winter (and a horrifying ending)

I hate winter. I hate snow. I hate the cold, the dark, the icy roads, the shoveling and scraping but, most of all I hate the absence of color and aroma. This is why I love taking pictures in winter.

Yes, there’s the beauty of snow-capped and ice-framed trees…the sublime quiet of their form and texture. Like this…


But you can only take so many thousands of pictures like this before you say, “I want a living leaf. My imaginary kingdom for a living leaf.

And some color would be nice

So, beloved Canon 5D2 in hand, I ventured out into the cold Canadian winterscape in search of color (after kissing the camera of course) (and the Sigma 24-70 lens) (after having my lips stuck to my wonderful Kia Soul just a few days ago, I patted my Soul affectionately and said, “Good girl.”) (and then left my Soul behind).

I walked for miles. And miles. And miles with a song sitting vaguely at the edge of my mind, but ever elusive. I traversed vast snow-shrouded fields, trekked to the summits of cloud-touching snow banks and giggled as I made now-angels to mark my path so that I could find my way back.

All this within the borders of Freddie Beach, a small city perched precariously at the edge of the Earth.

Just as I was about to scream, “Oh shit!” to the gods and those who haunt the forests with snowmobiles and snowshoes…and thermos full of tasty hot chocolate (which, at the time, was sitting safely on my kitchen counter wondering wtf)…I spotted the color. It was muted and almost shy, like something recently birthed from the frozen ground.


I quickly cleaned my lens and set my camera to ISO 200 (it was overcast), f/11 (to bring out a world of detail), 1/240 (because I was shaking from the cold) and 70mm (because there was no way I was going to struggle across that wasteland of white up to the subject).

I think, at one time, this might have been an ice house…a structure used to keep winter within its walls year ’round to preserve food. Or it might have been someone’s pot garden…a structure used to keep summer within its walls year ’round.

I took three pictures, using different compositions. I rejected the two with dragons flying out of the door. They seemed so out of place, and I would have been accused of gratuitous Photoshopping.

It wasn’t until I processed the image that I saw it.

A dust spot…rearing its ugly head at the top left of the image. Just as I was about to eliminate it with the Spot Remover, I thought, That’s not a dust spot. That’s a dragon flying into the void of another Canadian winter. So I left it in…for those who still believe in dragons. See it?

Back to the moment, though, I suddenly had an urge to crawl under my bed with a thermos of hot chocolate and wait for spring to arrive.

When I arrived home…the hot chocolate was gone and I had a feeling of something ominous present. And I heard a voice, “Serves you right, Biff.”

I looked at the counter behind me. Sitting on it with a terrible smile was…the fox! And beside him, smiling just as evilly was…the soul-sucking editor of the Twisted Tails Anthologies…J Richard Jacobs.

He ground his teeth together and said, slowly, coldly, blood-suckingly, “Hello, Biff.”

(To be continued)


Day 24 – Oh God…I Left My Camera At Work…but…

So I left work today with my friend Dwight driving me to the garage where I had winter tires installed…with studs. Studs. Chicks dig them. They lock the doors where I work as soon as everybody’s out the door. So the door was locked, and the only people who have keys are nameless and totally unapproachable. That’s when I realized…

I left my camera at work.

My 5D2 and 24-105 lens and 70-200 lens were locked away by nameless, unapproachable people. I felt naked. Alone. Estranged. Disconnected. I was a mess. I picked up my car and cried all the way home.

When I got home, I looked at the dining room table and saw it. It was my 1D2. An older camera, but state of the art in its day. Only 8.5 megapixels…but 50,000,000,000,000 focal points. And that’s a lot of focal points. So I grabbed the camera and a couple of lenses and headed down to the car without even showering the smell of IT off my body. (That’s information technology for both of you who, I’m assuming, have lives.) I haven’t used it much because some of its functions are still a mystery to me, but the shots I’ve gotten with it that are…droolable.

This camera still rocks.

I also left behind my photo book with a list of the images I want to capture (Not that I’ve followed it much anyway. I take a mindless approach to my art. Ask any of my writing students.) So, I drove around the city, a city drenched with rain, rain that wouldn’t say, “OK…you’re wet…I’ll move on.” It was nasty clinging rain. The kind that sticks to the earth like a big ball of snot droplets.

That kind of rain.

But I kept driving. And driving. And thinking…I’m hungry. And I have to run tonight. And do a workout. And eat. And take a picture and blog it. And Skype with my daughter. And buy a bottle of wine. And a box of cereal.

It took half an hour to find my picture. From a distance, it looked weird (which I believe I’ve been called lately for reasons I’ll keep to myself) but I knew it would look even weirder up close. So I parked my little blue Accent and walked over to the weirdness with my 1D2 and a 1.8 50mm lens and started taking pictures.

I was going for texture on this one. And the incredible design. And the contours that can make it just about anything your imagination conjures. It is so organic. And it evokes images of condoms. But that’s just me. And apparently, to a few people who obviously know me too well…I’m weird.

OK…both of you…my cherished readers…what do you think it is?