foto friday – into the woods

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More sketches from a winter walk.


foto-friday-sketches: on saturday



A couple of sketches from a day long trek in the woods this week.

The snow is finally deep enough to get out the snowshoes. Breaking trail on a path is mostly OK but you’re quickly knee deep the second you step off to explore.

The wind has scattered seeds galore across the open white. There are signs of winter deer and the tiny feet of field mice accompanying mine as we traipse about the landscape. The birds seem to have mostly disappeared but it could have been my ears.

We lost most of this whiteness over the course of a couple of hours yesterday in our annual January thaw. A burst of warm damp air swelling up from the Gulf of Mexico and desperately pushing the leading edge of cold back towards the north.

It never lasts long, the temperatures plummeting back down to -15°C from a high of +13°C earlier in the day. It is truly surprising to watch a change of nearly 30°C  between breakfast and supper.

Temperature is a funny thing. Relative it seems to our spirit, sunshine and the amount of dampness in the air.

At any rate, we’re back into winter and the increasing amount of light says that spring is just around the corner. Cheers et à bientôt !




picture tuesday – winter prepping


So we had our first warm day in a couple of weeks and  a small snowfall to go with it.  Even with the dampness and wet clumps of snow falling from branches, it meant a day of walking unencumbered with cloaks, coats, hats and various adjustments.

I’ve become quite enamoured with wool again and the shifts back and forth from 0ºC to -20ºC are a good chance to experiment with outdoor options and covering. When the wind picks up at -10ºC it’s a question of trying to protect the skin while disappating body heat and moisture at the same time while not building up a layer of ice.


So far I’ve got the dogs outfitted and most of my kit together for winter shooting. snowshoes, ice crampons, a newly fitted tripod pack and staff. A few days figuring how to attach it all together and we’re of for adventure. My only hesitation being the drop in temperature that will be arriving in a week or so where the weather can be a regular -20ºC to -35ºC or more, depending on the wind. Something for which you have to be prepared.

As much as I love the outdoors, it can be pretty unforgiving even close to home.

My hand has already frozen to a tripod leg this week and keeping batteries warm and condensation out of the camera present some special thought and care. Still there’s lots to see and I still find winter and scruffy forest a very special challenge.


foto friday – venerable star

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The thought has been occuring to me lately that every venerable and wise man I can think of has a good walking stick or staff.

Some have a cane which is respectable enough but as there are short walking sticks to be had it’s not the same.  To me, Charlie Chaplin seems to sit somewhere at the edge of this line.

Equally I suspect, carbon fibre and aluminium alloy won’t find themselves in the hands of the venerable or even the wise. Smart maybe. But smart isn’t always wisdom.