Newsletter No. 101: December, 2013
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
I am just back from Ireland, where I visited my
sister Jane who lives in Physicianstown, near Kilkenny. There, I was
fortunate enough to take in two large art exhibits of the work of her late husband Tony O’Malley, on the occasion of his centenary. I’ll share some of
what I saw and photographed over the next few newsletters.
Before leaving for the green of Ireland, however, I went on a sleigh ride in a white winter wonderland. I’ll start this Christmas newsletter there.
Our goal at the Chris Harris Gallery is to share the creative process. Please share this Newsletter with friends. Thank you.
1. A Traditional Christmas Sleigh Ride : Family fun at its best
2. The Year in Review
3. Moments of Light: Each one is extraordinarily unique
4. Season’s Greetings
1. A Traditional Christmas Sleigh Ride: Family fun at its best
Christmas are never far away.
Christmas sleigh ride
|Notes on composition & technique: I was looking for a fresh perspective that would capture the sense of motion as they silently moved through the forest. I crouched low to the ground and shot at a relatively slow shutter speed.
EOS 5D Mark III; iso 800; 1/80 sec; f-8; 16-35mm lens at 16mm; handheld
Tobogganing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are just some of the fun activities that await holiday visitors. I joined hosts John and Myrna Barkowsky who took me for a sleigh ride through their beautiful ranch property. Although they have a sled for large groups, we traveled in a smaller one; designed perfectly for honeymoon couples!
It was like going back in time
|Notes on composition & technique: For this image, I chose a spot where my composition would have the sleigh moving diagonally into the picture space. My mental focus was on the horses feet so that all four legs would be separated (three legged horses somehow don’t cut it for me!). My peripheral vision told me when to click the shutter, which was as soon as the sled passed the branches on the left.
EOS 5D Mark III; iso 800; 1/125 sec; f-8; 24-105mm lens at 22mm; handheld
Before your day of winter fun is over, everyone is
invited in for hot drinks. Nestled between a beautifully decorated
Christmas tree and a cozy fire, it’s time to laugh and enjoy the
Christmas cheer overlooking Spring Lake
I so appreciated experiencing the day at a pace reminiscent of days gone by.
2. The Year in Review:
For Rita and I, it was another wonderful and eventful year.
One highlight included our very first holiday together in
10 years. We went to Prague in February, for two weeks of art and
culture. We wanted a change from our wilderness lifestyle and we sure
experienced that in Prague! As one of the few cities not bombed in the
war, the architecture was exquisite. What a fabulous place to visit. In
15 nights, we took in 13 evening concerts of every description. It was amazing.
Charles Bridge, Prague
|Notes on composition & technique: While walking across the Charles Bridge after attending an evening ballet, I made this night exposure that included the palace in the upper right.
EOS 5D Mark III; iso 200; 1.6 sec; f-8; 24-105mm lens at 40mm; on a tripod
Another highlight this year was taking five days in September to pay tribute to Canada’s most honoured nature photographer, Freeman Patterson. A member of the Order of Canada, Freeman has taught and influenced photographers worldwide. I took a workshop with Freeman in 1974 and he has been a major influence on my work ever since. Rita and I joined him at his Retrospective which was held in conjunction with The Lord Beaverbrook Gallery in both Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick.
Rita, Freeman and myself at his home. September, 2013
Naturally, we also filled up our calendar with photographic adventures here in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of BC. These included trips of varying lengths to the canyon grass-lands, the inland rainforest of the Cariboo Mountains, the Swift and Mitchell rivers, the coastal rainforest and fiord lands of the central coast, the Itcha Mountains where we traversed by horse, South Tweedsmuir Park for a fly-in hiking adventure, and a whole series of agriculture photography shoots at a number of farms and ranches.
| Notes on composition & technique:
This panorama was made near Ptarmigan Lake in South Tweedsmuir Park and
is comprised of three images stitched together. There were numerous
glacier fed alpine lakes and I wanted to include this lake in its
entirety. Trying to capture the sense of scale in these settings is
EOS 5D Mark III; iso 200; 1/60 sec; f-11; 24-105mm lens at 32mm; on a tripod
As I look back on my year’s imagery, it fittingly shows
how fortunate I am to be a photographer in the most diverse region of
3. Moments of Light: Each one is extraordinarily unique.
The Coast Mountain Range that stretches through the West Chilcotin is surely one of the most stunning landscapes on the planet. While at university in Fredericton, New Brunswick, I saw in the book store, a Sierra Club calendar of the Coast Mountains. It was the defining moment in my life, for I knew instantly, that the wild open spaces of the west was where I had to go to live my life.
Forty-three years later I was paddling my Chestnut canoe (made in Fredericton) on a small lake in those very Coast Mountains, staring at an iceberg that had fractured off a receding glacier. A moment of light revealed a hue of colour I had never seen before.
A touch of radiance
|Notes on composition & technique: During an early morning paddle, an iceberg absorbed a touch of light, separating it dramatically from the towering mountains still cast in shadow. With the small berg on the right, I was able to place the larger berg on the left and still maintain a sense of balance.
EOS 50D; iso 800; 1/640 sec; f-13; 100-400mm lens; handheld
As I paddled in closer, the hue intensified, and the
details of form and texture revealed themselves. As this iceberg melted,
its centre of gravity shifted, and it rolled. Old water lines have now
become oblique lines above the water line.
Old water lines
|Notes on composition & technique: Every swath of colour creates a shape. It’s always interesting to ask oneself; am I primarily drawn to shapes, or to colour?
EOS 50D; iso 800; 1/1000 sec; f-13; 100-400mm lens; handheld
Wherever I peered into the ice, I felt the sense of time. If you look closely, you will see two water droplets that are about to hit the water. As I watched the iceberg melting, I realized that each of those droplets of water were once snowflakes that landed on a growing glacier thousands of years ago. Soon they will once again return to the atmosphere.
Ice cavern I
Notes on composition & technique: Each iceberg had compositions within compositions. One just needed to slow down and see deeply.
There are days when there are no icebergs, but when there are, each is so completely different in their structural design. It is such a dynamic landscape. The shapes, the lines, the textures, and the colours are fleeting.
Each is a moment in light.
Ice cavern II
|Notes on composition & technique: Continuously melting and changing shape.
EOS 5D Mark III; iso 640; 1/640 sec; f-14; 24-105mm lens; handheld
I’m so blessed to have seen that calendar in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and because of it, the unforgettable day with the icebergs of the Coast Mountains.
4. Season’s Greetings
Our dog Duggan leads the way as we bring home our Christmas tree
As I write this newsletter, I am waiting for a friend to come over to plough our driveway. Our car can’t make it up to the house, but I’m sure Santa won’t have a problem. By the number of deer tracks all over our snow-covered garden, Rudolf will be right at home here!
Rita and I have enjoyed a wonderful year and we are both looking forward to another year of creativity and sharing.
Thank you for being a Newsletter subscriber and for sharing in the search for beauty in this wonderful Cariboo-Chilcotin region of Canada. Your emails, thoughts, ideas, and supportive comments have been greatly appreciated.
To all, wherever you may live, we wish you health, friendship and peace. Merry Christmas and a happy holiday.
Chris & Rita