Freezing Temperatures

Pacific Nortwest of the US rarely experiences freezing temperatures in low elevations making for more exciting winter photography.

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It has been my long time dream to go out to Olympic coast around winter solstice. The sun is at the lowest point of the year making shadows longer whole day. Unfortunately with all the holidays preparation I hardly could get out and photograph during this time of a year.

This year I could finally get out and photograph. I was hoping for heavy clouds, moody skies typical here this time of the year. Instead it was kind of like summer: clear blue sky; the sun shining bright. The only difference was that it was very cold and I needed layers of clothing to keep myself warm.

Such conditions made images including lots of sky quite boring. At the same time the temperature dropped below zero which made it a good time to visit some old favorite places and see them in the new way.

Backroads of Alberta

One of the reasons I travel a lot by car rather than plane is to see places around on the road to the destination. Unfortunately, in most cases once I’m behind the wheel I get a tunnel effect when I see nothing but the road with its final destination ahead. For some reason getting to the destination as fast as possible becomes the only goal.

On the trip to Alberta I actively fought an urge to drive from point A directly to point B. Instead I was taking some backroads, sometimes unpaved, moving slowly looking at things around. It was taking me much longer but it was a more satisfying study of Alberta outside its famous national parks and big cities. Here is a small selection of photographs of rural Alberta.

Up on a Hill

Sometimes you need to get up on a hill to see a view. Just like I did when we drove thru Canada.

We drove thru places of snow and ice that were picturesque enough. But then I saw a hill with a parking lot next to it. I stopped and climbed the hill. The view that opened up to me was breathtaking.

The vast flats of frozen river covered with snow, the soft spots of sun light breaking thru clouds, the blue hazy mountains in the distance and a cloudy sky above it all. The view was worth photographing, the awe was worth sharing. I called up the other guys and we spent some time photographing.

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Only Mountains

There is a saying in Russian culture: only mountains can be better than mountains. So, in this post I’m presenting of photos of mountains and only mountains from my recent trip to Canadian Rockies.

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No Hibernation!

A while back I wrote that I tend to fall in kind of artistic hibernation in winter. It is hard to push yourself out of warm cozy home into bitterly cold of winter wind.

This year I did it! I pushed myself out. I started going into the mountains and taking photos. I bought enough clothe to keep myself relatively warm even in wind at temperatures well below freezing.

So, this year I can show a few winter photos starting with a few simple ones.

No Photos Is Ok

[Good] photographer is the one that does not show bad pictures.
Jay Maisel

There are days when I take photos that excite me, photos I love. And then there are other days when I get none. That’s ok. It is continuous learning experience, continuous self-development. The important thing is not to lie to myself and pretend that mediocre photos are good ones. Just because I put up a lot of effort in taking them does not make them good.

On my last trip to Rainier two weeks ago I had those two days. On the first day I was treated to a nice sunset with great color in the clouds and a pink tint on everything on the ground from the light reflected from the clouds. (That’s when I took the photo below.)

On the second day nothing worked out. The photos turned boring and did play any tune in my heart. And you know what? I’m not going to show any photos from the second day. I’m still going to look at them; see if there is anything that can be photographed differently; what and why did not work. I’m learning from bad photos and you’re enjoying good ones.

Sunset at Mt Rainier
Sunset at Mt Rainier