painting and photographic works

Posts tagged “snow

Forms on a Frozen River

It is the end of January and the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton is frozen over and covered with 15 centimeters of fresh snow. I venture to the river’s edge and am captivated by the abstract forms that I see:






In a January Fog

While not unheard of, foggy days in Edmonton are also not very common. This last weekend in Edmonton was however one of those times – a fog  just heavy enough to hide the far side of the river valley and flatten out depth. The high humidly and sub-zero temperature resulted in a delightful, frosty coating on the trees.

Combining the fog, frost and late afternoon/early-evening light lead to these moody,  black and white images:


Frosty Thorns


Poles in a Frosty Landscape


The Five


Three, with Frosty Wires


Rowland Bend

Riverdale (a painting Series)

In the early 1990’s I did a series of paintings of the Riverdale community, in Edmonton’s river valley.


“Tree Frog Press”, acrylic on hardboard, 30 by 41 cm, 1991


“Bird Bath”, acrylic on canvas, 61 by 51 cm, 1992

One of the most distinguishing features of the community at the time was the large, undeveloped tract of land that belonged to the historic Little Brick factory,  By the end of the decade those fields would be redeveloped to look like suburbia, but at the time it lent a rural charm to this area, just a kilometer from downtown.


“Old Brickyard Field”, acrylic on canvas, 51 by 61 cm, 1992


“Old Brickyard Road” acrylic on canvas, 51 by 61 cm, 1992


“The Little Brick House”, acrylic on hardboard, 28 by 36 cm, 1991


“The Rink Shack”, acrylic on canvas, 51 by 61 cm, 1992


“Sun on 92nd Street”, acrylic on hardboard, 36 by 38 cm, c. 1992

A decade and half later I would revisit this series with a few more paintings of the community:


“Summer Morning on 91st Street”, oil on hardboard, 51 by 61 cm, 2008


“Riverdale Garage (winter sunlight)”, oil on canvas, 41 by 51 cm, 2008

Moodier in Black and White

Here are some photos taken on the same outing as my hike last Sunday in Edmonton’s  Mill Creek Ravine – but taking out the color the images have a much moodier feel.


Spring Slope


Stairs and a Patch of Snow


Trunk on a Diagonal


All Quiet Under the Bridge


Tangled Slope


and as a bonus, a black and white image from beside the river in Edmonton’s Louise McKinney Park:


Promenade Beside the Ice

If You Look You Will See

Today was another one of those days when I just go for a walk in downtown Edmonton and see what I can see – what I can see in terms of interesting patterns.






Winter Nature – Black and White

Here are a few of my recent black and white photos showing Edmonton’s river valley in early January.


Path Through the Riverside Brush


Snow Covered Tangle


Patterns In and On (and the Edmonton Queen)


Up a Snowy Trail


Downtown Edmonton Over the Frozen North Saskatchewan River

Snow and Shadows

A New Year’s Eve afternoon walk in Edmonton’s river valley revealed interesting patterns made by snow and ice, trees and the sun.


Blue Diagonals


Alien Icescape


Foot Paths




Crystalline Edge




Like Flakes

Spring Sneaks In (Part 2)

Here are some more photos from Edmonton’s river valley on the first weekend of April, showing the transition to spring.

For the eyes starved of color over the months of winter, the faint golden glow of the uncovered grasses and the rosy haze of the Dogwood twigs in the distance, is a feast for the eyes.

Snowy Path

Snowy Path

Rosy Haze

Rosy Haze

Path to the Blue Forest

Path to the Blue Forest

Subtle Color

Subtle Color

Melting Path

Melting Path

Spring Sneaks In (Part 1)

As April arrives in this part of the world (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), spring continues its advance. Although it will be a good month longer until the bare trees will burst into leaf, the snow (even that which fell in the last week) is mostly melted and there is something in the air that warms the soul and brings a smile to my face.

Today while out walking in Edmonton’s river valley I caught these images, these hints of life to come:

Shrubs and Sticks

Shrubs and Sticks

Path to Spring

Path to Spring

Tracks in the Mud

Tracks in the Mud

Slow Spring

Slow Spring

Spring Sky

Spring Sky

A Winter’s Night in Olds – Black and White Visions

Here is part 2 of my photos from a cold (and a bit foggy) January evening walk around the town of Olds, Alberta. Part 1 featured color photos (subdues as they were); this set is all black and white:

Fire Hydrant in the Night

Fire Hydrant in the Night

A Glow From Within

A Glow From Within

Highway Junction

Highway Junction



Coming and Going in the Night

Coming and Going in the Night






Abstracts in the Winter Landscape

Two months into winter and my photographer’s eye is starting to  adjust to the winter landscape. With the general absence of color I find that I need to see differently to find interesting photo subject matter. Here are a few recent (December 2012) photos:

Between Water and Ice

Between Water and Ice

Bridge Rail I

Bridge Rail I


Rusty Blue Drum

Rusty Blue Drum


Bridge Rail II

Bridge Rail II


Nature's Magic

Nature’s Magic






Spirit of Spring Landscapes (Part 2)

Here are some more abstract landscape photos depicting the spirit of early spring – as the snow bids a hasty retreat at the end of March (in Edmonton).

Abstract Landscape 403-027

Abstract Landscape 403-074

Abstract Landscape 403-041

Abstract Landscape 403-052

Abstract Landscape 403-027

See my earlier blog post for additional photos in this series.

Spirit of Spring Landscapes

As the snow quickly receded from the spring landscape this week, I strove to capture the essence of the season in photographs.

Dark Forest


Abstract Landscape 403-044


Spring Thaw


Before the Greening


White Woods

These photos were captured March 27th 2012 in Buena Vista Park in Edmonton using a neutral density filter, a 2-second exposure and various intentional camera motion during the exposure. These images are part of my collection of reference photos for an abstract painting series.

Abstractions of the February Landscape

Color on the Trunk

This is another series of abstracted photographs. As I have shared previously, the technique I use is to employ a neutral density filter that allow me to use shutter speed in the 2 to 4 second range. During this long exposure I will move the camera – normally in a direction parallel to the lines I wan to emphasize. In the previous and next image I would have followed the line of the vertical trunk. Generally I don’t want too great a range of movement and might go back and forth over a short displacement during the exposure.

Morning Light

“Morning Light” was the result of a bit of a happy accident. I neglected to stop down my neutral density filter sufficiently to get a “proper” exposure. The image was over-exposed but still one I could work with in post-processing. I liked the over blown background exposure that resulted.

Abstract Landscape 381-104

Yellow at the Base

The yellow at the base of the tree (that you may be able to make out in the previous image was from the lichen that I typically find on the trees around the Edmonton region. Especially in the winter this color seems intense. However, straight out of the camera, these long exposure images typically do not have much color, so I usually will bump up the color saturation significantly to get an image that feels to me like what I was actually seeing/feeling.

The Edge of a Hill


Trees, Snow and Ice – Mid-February Black and White

This past week (middle of February 2012) I have been drawn back to black and white nature photos as I wandered the ravines and river valley in Edmonton. Here are five of my favorite images:

Tall and Bare

Fallen Logs Across the Creek

Black and White Trunks

Shadows Across Frozen Creek

Against the Sun

Do you have a favorite amongst these image? If so, which one and why?

Northern Winter (Black and White, Part 2)

A continuation of an earlier post sharing some black and white landscape photos taken in January/February 2012 in the Edmonton river valley

Open Water and Ducks

Blue on Blue in Black and White

Stairs in the Valley

Grasses, Trees and a Cloud

Beautiful Trail

Northern Winter (Black and White, part 1)

Winter, in Edmonton, Canada typically means a fair bit of snow and temperatures in the minus 15 to 30 Celsius range. The 2011/12 winter has been atypical. Except for a week in mid-January where temperatures fell to below normal, most of the winter has featured daily highs around freezing. Nonetheless, there has been snow on the ground since November.

This series of photos are some that I took during the last week of January and the first week of February 2012 the the North Saskatchewan River valley in central Edmonton (in fact most are in Dawson Park). Dawson Park lies on the north side of the river valley meaning it gets a lot of sun and the snow can melt (or blow away) relatively quickly on the exposed ridges.

The Ridge

The Steep Path Up

Dawson Park seen from the south side of the river:

The North Bank

One of the fascinating things about Dawson Park is a section of “hoodoos” a geological formation more famously associated with the badlands of southern Alberta near Drumheller.

River Valley Landscape

While the exposed areas have just a touch of visible snow, the sheltered trails are well covered with snow and very wintery in appearance.

Birch and Snowy Path

Winter – Naturally Black and White

Of course there can be color in the winter landscape, you just might have to look a little harder for it. In this post though don’t strain yourself looking for color as I am featuring 5 black and white photos. Although there has not been a lot of snow in Edmonton in this winter of 2011/12 there has still been enough to keep the ground basically white. On the day I took these images the sun was out and the sky was deep blue – which with a color filter in the black and white conversion, yielded a deep dark sky on some images.

Packed Snow Field

Two and the Forest


Reach to the Sky

Frozen Bend in the River

Technical Notes: The photos in this group  were all taken in the early afternoon on January 7th, 2012, near Laurier Park in Edmonton. I used a Nikon D80 with a 18-55 lens and a polarizing filter. Post processing including conversion to black and white was done with the Capture NX2 software.

Abstracts in Blue

Not much to say about this group of photos, other than that they were all taken using long (4 seconds) hand-held exposures with deliberate camera motion. The early morning time of day is responsible the dominating blue cast to these images.

Blue Fenceline

Abstract 356-033

Abstract Landscape 356-038 (River in December)

Abstract 356-034

Abstract 356-039

First Snow – Abstracted Landscape Photos

Today (2011 November 12) Edmonton had its first (and unusually late) snow of the season. While there are many thing about the snow I am not a fan of, I have been looking forward to applying  the camera-motion abstraction technique that I’ve been playing with in recent months, to the snowy landscape. Here are some of my first results:

Abstract Landscape 326-379

Abstract Landscape 325-383

Abstract Landscape 326-390

Abstract Landscape 326-397

Abstract Landscape 326-410

As with my previous photos in this style, the original intent was to give me reference images for paintings. However, so far I have not been able to create a painting that I like as much as or better than the photo (which is okay – for now).

My basic technique in this style is to use a neutral density filter to allow me to get a 2 second exposure. During the exposure I move/shake/vibrate the camera around vigorously. Post processing usually is required to increase contrast and color saturation.

Hueless City

There are some days when black and white just seems right. On a day like today (March 24th) when fresh snow covers the City of Edmonton, its one of those days. Here are some of my favorite photos du jour:


Lots of Parking

Downtown Alley

Glass Blocks


Color Play Abstractions

Today I was playing with the color on some new photos, using the Capture NX2 software. For the most part these effects were created by inverting the “quick fix” curve – essentially creating a digital color “negative”. On the right I’ve included the original unaltered images for comparison

Magpie 2

Magpie original

Copper Snow

Copper Snow original

Abstract 110314-11

110314-11 original

Abstract 110314-004

110314-004 original

Abstract 110314-21

110314-21 original

The Continuing Beauty of Winter

It is the first week of March and still very much winter in Edmonton, as evidenced by a deep blanket of snow everywhere. On one hand you could think that would make for boring photography but I take it as a challenge – and that is the fun. You can see from these 7 photos, all taken in one day,  that there is lots to be seen, lots to be captured and different ways of presenting the final image.

White on Blue

Not Coral

Three Twigs

Grass Arc


Melting Dirty Ice

Shadows of a Picket Fence

Winter Barks (part 2)

Continuing on from Part 1, here are some more photos, featuring the wonders to be seen on the bark of trees (even in the middle of winter):


Cracked and Yellowed

A Touch of Orange

A Knot

Sun-bleached Bark