Catch it while you can.

You may know that I’m not a winter person. But I’ll put my boots on for this kind of light.

January 10 (2 of 5)

 

January 10 (1 of 5)

 

January 10 (3 of 5)

 

January 10 (5 of 5)

 

January 10 (4 of 5)

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Make your work.

The outside air and I haven’t been getting along too well since the start of this relentless cold snap, so today I treated myself to a trip to the local butterfly conservatory – a lush, indoor tropical garden where the air is mild and much kinder to my face.

I wasn’t the only one with this brilliant idea, though most other adults at the conservatory were accompanied by multiple small children who were either shrieking with delight or cringing in fear while butterflies flitted about their heads (the last time I went with my kids, they fell into the cringing category, so this time I opted for a solo visit).

This gave me an opportunity to make photos (and to take my time doing it). But again: I wasn’t the only one with this brilliant idea. There’s a lot of picture-taking going on in a butterfly garden.

I attempted the classic compositions, in which a pin-sharp specimen is large and beautiful and ideally perched on an equally large, beautiful flower – but my real challenge was to try to make the photos the others weren’t making. Or, more helpfully, not to make the photos I’ve made before.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Growth, and while I hope I’ll grow in many areas of my life this year, for my purpose here my goal is to grow as a photographer. One picture at a time. (“You learn how to make your work by making your work,” as artist Eileen Rafferty puts it).

I know I can’t expect any sudden transformations. But that’s okay. I’ll leave those to the caterpillars.

Butterfly Conservatory (1 of 7)

 

Butterfly Conservatory (2 of 7)

 

Butterfly Conservatory (6 of 7)

 

Butterfly Conservatory (7 of 7)

 

Butterfly Conservatory (3 of 7)

 

Butterfly Conservatory (4 of 7)

 

Butterfly Conservatory (5 of 7)

 

Playing favourites.

In the last WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge of the year, we’re invited to share our most meaningful photo of 2017, but – true to my indecisive nature – I couldn’t choose just one.

I’ve loved exploring photography this year. It’s been a year of learning to observe, to compose, to demystify the buttons on the camera… but also to gain patience, and practice perseverance, and to understand the value of a change in perspective.

To round up 2017, I’ll share some of my favourite photos along with links to the post (if applicable) in which they appeared.

Earlier in the year, I wrote more text to accompany my photos, while lately I’ve been focusing on images only. In any case, when I look at these pictures – each one, when I think about it, nothing more than an arrangement of pixels – I’m reminded of a place, a person, or an experience that has stayed with me. Maybe that moment helped me learn something about making pictures. Or maybe it taught me something more.

Here we go with the first twelve:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Favorites (9 of 24)

The time I thought a dandelion was pretty.

 

 

 

Long exposure of a stump in the Grand River

The time I learned that a neutral density filter can turn a river into glass.

 

Are you still with me? Congratulations (and thank you)!

Here are twelve more:

 

Kids standing on a giant rock

The time it was too cold to swim but not too cold to surf.

 

 

Wind turbines in the mist

The time the wind turbines rose out of the mist to greet the sun.

 

 

Ivy-covered gateway

The time I was beckoned to a secret garden.

 

Church doors at night

The time symmetry looked beautiful in the dark.

 

 

Row of red-leaved trees in autumn

The time the trees were on fire.

 

 

Three trumpeter swans in the mist

The time these birds seemed to float out of a dream.

 

Abstract snowy winter scene

The time I wiggled the camera to make a painting in the snow.

 

Well, there you have it. Thanks for sticking with me. For those who have followed along over the past year: your visits and comments are truly appreciated. I’m touched when my words or photos resonate with others.

As for 2018 – I plan to make more pictures. I was going to try to write something deep about hopes and goals for the new year, but then I read a blog post by photographer David duChemin (a man of considerable talent with words, photos and inspiration). Anything I wrote afterwards just sounded like a really bad cliché. So I leave you with this link to David’s words, because there’s no way I could’ve said it better.

Happy New Year, all!