Friday, February 19, 2016

How to Photograph Snowflakes

When you're young, winter can be an enchanting season. Waking one morning to a world that's been transformed from the dreary landscape of leftover autumn into a wonderland of white is magical. 

Adults need only look through the eyes of a child to discover the beauty in the cold and snow.  They look deep into the souls of Old Man Winter and Jack Frost to become fast friends. It's all just fun and games from then on.

In wide-eyed wonder, they plough through drifts, despite being encumbered by bulky snowsuits and heavy boots. They plop on backsides, then fall back with arms and legs waving to imprint their angelic selves into the white fluffiness. Grabbing toboggans they run to their favourite sledding place, a communal spot for social and physical activity.

On the perfect day,  snowmen and forts will rise from the ground. Passersby and imagined enemies must then be wary as snowballs are lobbed from behind the former and atop the battlements of the latter.

These are the memories I hold in my mind of winters with our four children. Now with pre-school grandchildren visiting our home, my eyes have been opened once again to the wonder. 

Walking last weekend with our Little Missy I noticed her staring at her mitten. What had caught her attention were two tiny snowflakes lying on the tip.

Looking at them as they twinkled in the sunlight, I thought about their individuality. I saw myself in primary school, classmates and I with folded paper and scissors in hand, snipping away, then unfolding to present our own unique snowflake.  I remember staring too with the same interest as my beautiful granddaughter at the ones that landed on my clothes.

How nice, I thought then, would it be to be able to preserve them for her. Grabbing my camera I took a few shots, effectively capturing the shape and form of each. Yet, I wasn't satisfied with the quality. Knowing that the opportunity would once again present itself, I decided to do a little homework before the next time. Here are some of the helpful sites I found that I'd like to share:

How to Photograph Snowflakes With a DSLR Camera

Photographing Snowflakes

Shooting High-Resolution Macro Photos of Snowflakes

Chasing Snowflakes by Don Komarechka

How to Photograph Snowflakes

Thursday, February 18, 2016

8 Collections of Gorgeous Winter Landscape Photos

One of the first steps every morning for me is to check The Weather Network and find out the  temperature for the day. Since I walk to work,  in a frigid Canadian winter it's wise to be prepared. 

Seeing that my hike today would be happening in a bone-numbing -17°C, I suited up and headed out into the prettiest morning I think I've experienced this winter.  Sunlight twinkled off frosted tree branches and the white blanket of snow covering the ground below glistened.  Though the crisp air burned the lungs initially, there was an invigorating freshness to it, waking up my senses and enlivening my brain.

It was the kind of morning that reminded me winter really isn't all bad. Not to say that I'm not eager for spring, but I did have a moment's appreciation this day for the value of living in an area where there are four distinct seasons — even if each can suffer a little bit of an identity crisis from time to time.

Seeing the value in three of them has always been easy for me. The receding snow free patches of grass,  buds breaking though soil,  tiny verdant buds appearing on naked tree limbs are spring's promise of rebirth. The flowers, the sun, the heat of summer warm body and soul.  The colours and new freshness to the air are autumn's final hurrah.

But winter's arrival always leaves me feeling needy, sombre and sad.  It's difficult to look at the starkness, feel the cold and be weighted under layers of clothing and not miss all of the beauty of the other seasons.

And then a morning such as the one experienced today arrives and I can feel that little spark of enthusiasm again. How brilliant is the world around when a cheerful sun meets a pristine carpet of white.

So to give winter a little respect, I thought it would be nice to offer a few photo collections of it at its best:

iPHOTOS.com Winter Landscape Photos

Clipart.com Winter Landscape Photos

Acclaim Images Winter Landscape Photos

ClickArt Online Winter Landscape Photos

Stunning Winter Landscape Photos by Chip Phillips

National Geographic's Winter Landscapes

20 Photos of Winter Landscapes

 50 Gorgeous Winter Landscapes

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

3 Collections of Wonderful Winter Landscape Images

The corner of the world in which I live is painted by the hues of four seasons. Though the duration for each display changes year by year, we will always see spring's burst of burgeoning greens and pastels, the lively palette of summer colours, the vibrant shades of autumn and the white, grey and blue of winter.

This winter has been a bit of a Pollock painting with splashes here and there of what the season should be. A mad rage, which turns the world a milky white, is washed away the next day with a grey drizzle, followed by one with a spot of cheery sun against an azure backdrop. 

Since winter's official start date, we've experienced a spring of highlighted by wide range of temperature and  varying heights of snowbanks.

It's been nice. Driving has been easier with blizzards at a minimum and the balmy days are a welcome respite from the typical biting cold.

Yet, we have still enjoyed that impressive winter beauty. There's typically been enough snow to blanket the landscape, which,  though it's a monochromatic picture, can be glorious on the right day.

Back when I enjoyed heading out by snowmobile on one of those crisp, frosty afternoons, one of my favourite moments was the stop in the middle of a vast field. The snow sparkled beneath a dazzling sun and shadows played across the expanse.  The trail before us cut through the smoothness, while here and there a series of paw prints left their pattern.

Though grey and still, the calm woodlots too enticed us to stop and gaze, offering peeks at brilliant blue between barren branches.

It's when these memories are recalled that I start to think it might be fun to get back on that snowmobile for a ride across those open fields and cruise through peaceful forests again. Then I think about my back and my knees and decide perhaps a walk in the woods might be a better plan. 

In the meantime I can just enjoy these wonderful winter landscape illustrations:

iCLIPART.com Winter Landscape Illustrations

Clipart Winter Landscape Illustrations

ClickArt Online Winter Landscape Illustrations

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

4 Fabulous Collections of Family Fun Photos

Many folks in Canada are back to work after the first long weekend of the year, a celebration of the best thing in life to celebrate. Family Day isn't just a bit of a break in a dreary winter. It's an opportunity to enjoy that time with loved ones.

For my husband and me, our family circle wasn't as complete as we would have liked as three of our children had work commitments. Otherwise, though, the time was pretty close to perfect.

On Saturday, our son-in-law brought two of our grandbabies for a sleepover, then we returned the favour by taking them home the next afternoon. The treat for us that night was a fish fry, which our daughter has decided will become a Family Day tradition.

Grandpa and I were awakened Monday morning by the best two little alarm clocks ever. Then it was off to a pancake breakfast served up by our granddaughter's nursery school, where I was told by Her Sweetness that there would be lots of other children so I should try not to be shy.

The rest of the day was one of play with her and her little brother until the perfect ending full of cuddles and bedtime stories.

In between we did get some quality time with Mommy too.

I should perhaps explain that our family does spend quite a bit of time together already, as most of the rest of you do too, I'm sure. It's idea that the focus is on doing this very thing on this particular day which to me emphasizes the quality of the action though. From movies to ski slopes and hockey rinks, people this past Monday made it a point to go places together and enjoy activities as family. That, I think, is just awesome.

I eagerly anticipate every long weekend from spring on through to Labour Day. But none feels as special to me as this one solitary example stuck smack dab in the middle of winter's bleak cold, snow and ice.  With the focus set on the people who warm my heart most it's a great break in the season.

And the inspiration behind these great collections of photos:

iPHOTOS.com Family Fun Photos

Clipart.com Pictures of Family Fun

Acclaim Images Family Fun Photos

ClickArt Online Family Fun Photos