Judging by the temperatures, winter is nearly over. Giving away to a few days of spring and then summer. At least that’s what we have come to expect in Manitoba. That it is only the beginning of March makes no difference. We all know that spring and summer will come.

Brereton Lake

At least at one point in time. Perhaps next year. So for now we can show our pictures of the almost  past season, with the hope of a new season to start.

Will that be soon? Nobody knows, not even a groundhog.

The issue is the same every year near the end of winter. We have had enough of the cold and the biting winds. Enough to last us a lifetime. And yet, there is more to come, March and April can both be cruel to the inhabitants of the prairies.

Muskrat outside of his home

Muskrat outside of his home

Photographers have had enough of shooting mostly black and white, they are hunkering for some colour in their shots. Other than a clear blue sky, that is. They start shooting macros inside their kitchens to pass the time. Even the garages are too cold for any activity.

Lights on the Legislature

Lights on the Legislature

The mood from the start of winter has changed from “Winter Wonderland” to a grim feeling of hatred towards the thermometer, and in some cases even towards the weatherman on TV. Unless they show something positive (temperature-wise, that is), they are no longer welcome in our homes.

Union Point Church, Manitoba

Union Point Church, Manitoba

Yet, there are still some intrepid pixel hunters that find things to photograph and beauty to show. I’m one of those. Even if my patience with winter is starting to wear off, I still enjoy the plains and even the forests under this white blanket. Things are serene in this way. When driving alone, I put up some ethereal music and let myself dream through the area. With the car in “park”, that is…

Prairie sunset

Prairie sunset

Sunsets on the prairies are known to be spectacular, even more so in winter. Perhaps because there is nothing to block the declining rays of the sun. While shooting this sunset above, I naturally grabbed my wide-angle lens (11-16mm Tokina), but soon came to the conclusion that shooting this at some 250mm with a different lens gave a way better sense of the reality of the moment.

At the beach

At the beach

Most of the times that I am outside, though, is not during sunsets. Midday, plain harsh sunlight is very often on my menu. It makes for tricky shooting conditions. Finding the right spots for pictures can become a challenge. Luckily Manitoba has no shortage of beautiful spots to shoot. I’m sure all other provinces and US states have the same opinion of their area as well… Smile

Highway 503

Highway 503

Lonely roads are my preferred places. In the above picture, a friend and I were on such a road. While the weather was nice in Winnipeg, here it was just beginning to snow. Within minutes the end of the road was completely out of sight. The tiny specks in the sky are not sensor dust, just snowflakes coming down. It was nearly silent in this place, apart from a few birds fighting over some seeds in the bushes somewhere.

White winged Crossbill

White winged Crossbill

A few miles down this same road, we found the birds responsible for the noise. White-winged Crossbills. Once they noticed us, they were on their way to quieter places. Wow, these birds must really like their tranquility.

Great Grey Owl (Strix Nebulosa)

Great Grey Owl (Strix Nebulosa)

On other roads, the tranquility is only disturbed by some that are on the hunt. Hunting for mice or voles, sometimes even squirrels. The owls here are are mostly non-migratory, they are here all year. Yet in winter, they come out and show themselves. The rest of the year is spent in the woods where nobody can see them. They hunt without making any noise.

Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owl

Both the Great Grey Owl and the Northern Hawk Owl are ferocious hunters. When they are concentrating on their prey, humans can hardly disturb them. Come too close and they’ll either fly away or make you regret coming too close for their comfort. A photographer that comes too close should be ashamed of himself/herself, and occasionally will face the consequences (owl 1 – photog 0) Smile.

Winter is a time for slowing down and think about life, summer and other subjects. I prefer to keep my brain quiet and go out and shoot. Winter can be so rewarding for those who go out.

Until next time…

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Henk
4 days 4 hours

Presets can speed up your workflow a lot, provided you have plenty of the same type of pictures. People doing weddings will a ...

Henk
4 days 4 hours

Hi, I hadn't noticed that the typing colour was that dark... changed it to pure white, that should do it ... Henk

'Dan..
4 days 6 hours

I certainly agree the use of presets will discourage people learning their own methods but they can offer a shortcut to fulfi ...

Henk
25 days 5 hours

Well, I was told so by a "pro" that later recanted... :-) I removed the name, so at least it is now correct.

josie brendle
26 days 8 hours

nice blog but sorry the horses are not Clydesdales. Those are a little bigger. :)

Henk
26 days 21 hours

Test comment here

Henk Von Pickartz
27 days 1 hour

This is a comment. I will see if this works or if this will be taken over by spammers. If so, then I will take it down again.