A Birthday Walk

If I had apprenticed under Ansel Adams, I am sure I would have been greatly influenced by his attention to image detail and the ‘Group F-64’.  On my personal journey, however, I was influenced more by painting artists. My grand-mother painted, my father painted, and my younger sister and her husband were both professional painting artists. Together, they have had a profound influence on my approach to photography. The following three images speak to that influence.

Over the Christmas holidays I was laid up with the flu, unable to photograph the winter wonderland I saw out my bedroom window. But on December 28th, I bundled up and went for a short walk with my camera.

standing alone

The trees were laden with snow and I felt swept up with those winter and Christmas feelings I experienced as a kid growing up in Eastern Canada. As I began to make images, I had no intention of trying to replicate the scenery around me. The drooping branches clad in white, were all about childhood feelings. With the influence of painters, I set about trying to capture those Christmas winter memories.

Although it was an evergreen forest, there was not a hint of green. The only contrast I could discern were the darker tones of tree trunks. I used them as my strongest compositional elements in my painterly renditions of the winter forest.

only three tree trunks

My only other feelings that day were those of the -25 degree temperature.  When processing these images, I preserved those feelings by not eliminating the cool blue cast. To do so would have eliminated my true feelings about the cold temperature.

brush strokes

On that single hour’s walk with my camera, my thoughts, feelings, and memories were far more important to me than merely portraying the appearance of the trees and the forest. It was a most memorable birthday walk on a cold day in a winter forest.

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12 Comment

  1. R David Williams says: Reply

    Happy Birthday Chris:
    … and thank you so much for sharing. I can feel the cold coming through the images, and a sense of of awe and wonder coming through the brush strokes. I can’t think of a more healing place to be than among the trees.
    Kind regards, David

  2. chris says: Reply

    Thank you David. Re-reading the blob post this morning made me want to go back and explore the forest more deeply. But it’s actually raining today…it could be more interesting than ever!!

  3. Nancty Mackenzie says: Reply

    Great photos Chris – we are in the middle of snow blizzard here in Nova Scotia and it is truly a beautiful sight. Belated best wishes. Nancy Mackenzie

    1. chris says: Reply

      Thanks Nancy. I bet it’s amazingly beautiful back east. Enjoy!!

  4. Joan Loeken says: Reply

    Beautiful images, Chris. I love your renditions, and like paintings, I can ponder them for a long time. Thank you.

    1. chris says: Reply

      You are a treasure Joan…thank you.

    2. chris says: Reply

      Thank you Joan. I look forward to seeing you at our Fall Workshop!

  5. Vera Busse says: Reply

    What a wonderful feeling you portrayed. Sorry for you with the flu through Chritmas. But the feeling of the serenity of a peaceful walk in the cold, camera in hand is the reward of acceptance.
    To feel the freedom of the snow the trees and a rested mind is a time the rest of the world is craving for.
    I love your pictures, your thoughts and the fact that you share them.
    Again a very what was a drab morning as I look out on the fog covered mountains.
    But I now see a beauty in the grey snow covered trees.
    Thank you you are amazing, A few pictures, a few words, can tell a wonderful story

    1. chris says: Reply

      Thank you Vera for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Chris

  6. chris says: Reply

    Thank you Vera. Knowing that the images I made that day in response to childhood memories resonated with you, is an amazing bonus to the walk itself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Vera Busse says: Reply

    This site with its beauty gives a sense of belonging.
    I wonder could we drown in Nature.
    We can never get enough, for if we look with our heart and soul it just keeps coming.
    You show Chris there is some beauty in everthing.
    After the sommer of fires and your pictureseven the smallest bit of grass brought out the beauty of hope.
    I am so glad I was sent the link to this site.
    The Caribou is in my blood. From the time we had Beaverdam guest Ranch to my life in Africa and Vancouver to being back here there is beauty in everything, you just have to take the time to see it.
    This you do for all of us. Thank you!

    1. chris says: Reply

      Thank you kindly Vera. I’m glad to be part of bringing back happy memories for you. Chris

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