Winter moods

15 Jan 2014

The festive days are now behind us. The good resolutions for the New Year almost forgotten, the chocolate-induced stomach aches a distant memory. So what is then left in this period of the year?

Aurora

The Dark days before Christmas, they say. But in fact after the festivities of Christmas and New Year (and for some Christmas again…), the days seem way darker, way colder and way more hostile to human life. You only have to put your head outside and feel the wind chill of –43 to know that now is not the time to go outside and enjoy the weather. But is it all that dark and cold?

Cold, it certainly is. Wind chill warnings, telling us that our skin, when exposed to the wind can get frostbite in less than 10 minutes are no joke. So there is only one thing left to do: wrap yourself in more clothes and go out anyway. Not a company here in Manitoba will appreciate it if you don’t come to work because it’s “chilly”. Perhaps the schools will close for a day or two, but that’s it.

So all seems back to normal, only with that cold extra twist to it.   No need to complain, if you are here, then that is because you enjoy it. Admit it Smile.

The moods of Mother Nature in winter can also yield some beautiful images. Just look at the cold night’s aurora of the lead picture of this post. That particular night was very cold and I was not really prepared for it. At the point of having my tripod nearly freeze to my hand. The next day, my skin was burning under the warm shower. A clear sign that that had really been too cold.

Prairie sunsetPrairie sunset

Sunsets are particularly crispy. The air is clear and without any moisture. A beautiful but a bit hostile view of a prairie sunset. The colours here are shown as they were, no colour corrections applied.

A partial Belt of Venus and a lot of snowA partial Belt of Venus and a lot of snow

While sunset shots taken into the sun mostly look like any other sunset, looking the other way can give some surprises. This little “island” of trees in a colourful sea of snow and ice was also worth a shot.

Anglican church in downtown WinnipegAnglican church in downtown Winnipeg

Churches also take on a special mood in winter. This Anglican church in Winnipeg during a snow storm just screams of cold. The non-shovelled path to the entrance also tells us to stay away, stay home and enjoy the warmth of your house.

I believe this was in Ste Agathe, MBI believe this was in Ste Agathe, MB

This church in Manitoba just seems to simply tell you that if you are there, taking a picture, you deserve all the cold that Mother Nature can throw at you. Crazy photographers. The little bit of smoke from the chimney seems to be too insignificant to be warming anything more than a rabbit.

Endless white of Lake WinnipegEndless white of Lake Winnipeg

But if you are really in the mood for some wide, white horizons, you want to go to the lakes. Lake Winnipeg , also called Big Windy gives you instant pleasure. At least if you are into those cold white moods of winter. A featureless foreground, a far away horizon and a bleak blue freezing sky. What more do you want?

Empty pleasure harbour in Gimli, MBEmpty pleasure harbour in Gimli, MB

The empty harbour of Gimli, Manitoba is not an inviting sight. The big, blue Namao can do nothing to make you feel a bit more welcome. My fingers were nearly freezing here too. Lots of wind over the lake and none of it was only a tiny bit warm. Time to take the shot and get back in the already cooling car. It was too cold to think of a better composition, cutting the Namao in half with a lamp post?!?

The Forks, WinnipegThe Forks, Winnipeg

Back in Winnipeg, The Forks, a place always bustling with activities is now bare and empty. The Assiniboine River is getting too much water from upstream. This results in a faster water flow under the ice and less ice to enjoy. While we have had nearly 5 weeks of temperatures below –20C (-4F) the ice is still not thick enough to support people.

Unused bench for the nightUnused bench for the night

No, the best thing for a winter mood would be to find a nice warm welcoming park bench somewhere and sit down and relax. I think I will pass and wait until the white cover here has disappeared. Park benches by night and in the snow always make me feel a bit queasy. I can imagine myself sleeping there, prone to the elements.

No, I think the winter moods are great to photograph, then beautiful to be enjoyed from inside, with either some hot chocolate or a nice cool beer. A little soft music and/or good company will make that winter mood perfect.

Until next time…