McCall Winterscapes: Delight in the Clean Wide Open

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I love Old Man Winter. Not to say it doesn’t get old sometimes, no pun intended (not to mention cold). Which is why, in our part of the world, one needs to find ways to feel its delight. Or risk the dreaded Cabin Fever. Actually we moved to McCall for the ways of the winter world! It’s part of my Nordic heritage, I guess, that I love all forms of skiing, ice play (as you saw in my last post), and just playing in the snow, snow, snow.

Snow Play: Backcountry Skiing

This year, still being  a part of the Magical Academy of Artistic Mastery Arcanum, and student to Canadian Master Ron Clifford, also living in a snowy world, I have been inspired to photograph the wide open delights of Old Man Winter’s snowscapes. Through this practice (practice, practice, practice….oh bummer! ha ha!), I’ve learned to see in the large shapes of a snow simplified landscape:

Mountain Shapes with Curvy Ski Tracks

And moving in closer for the more intimate, contrasting shapes of tree groves on snow fields:

Slumbering Tree Groves

Now, I have a thing for trees. I can’t get enough of seeing them, hearing them whisper & groan in the wind, feeling their presence. I completely get the Ent idea. On some level I’m sure it’s true. The mountain top trees of our ski area, Brundage, have always enchanted me with their heavily rimed forms. How do they make it, so weighed down with all that snow and ice through such a long winter? Check out the rimed trees all around this little cabin at the top of Brundage Mountain:

Old Man Winter Lives Here

Aspens have their own lacy look in rime. I have many, many images of aspens in all seasons. I love those trees. And I love that they are a community, all related through their root systems. Did you know that the largest single living organism is an aspen grove? You know if you have ever planted a single aspen in your yard, and then noticed how they begin sending up their brothers and sisters soon thereafter.

Brothers and Sisters

This grove below is one of my favorites in winter that I’ve always wanted to photograph. I’ve long loved the shape of its little group as viewed from the chair lift at Brundage. This year I spent a whole morning, run after ski run, jostling myself in line into the outside position on the chairlift so I could hopefully capture the essence of what I love. Do you see it? Feel it?

Chairlift Perspective: It wouldn’t look the same from the skier’s perspective on the ground….

When I switch to black and white for these winterscape views, the aspens have an almost infrared effect. I love infrared photography, but it’s a learning curve to come in my future as I still muddle along here in the regular stuff.

McCall Winterscape

But color definitely has its place in winter photography. Well, at least it does when the skies go crazy like they did on this day:

Winter Color Skies

Or on this bluebird day back country skiing, when the blue and white are irresistible:

Back Country Blue Skies

Hope you enjoyed this tour through Old Man Winter’s stay in my town of McCall. It’s gonna be a long one, from the looks of it. So you may see more of it before it’s through. Next week though, join me for a quick week’s escape to the warmth and sunshine of Palm Springs, California. Wow, what a change!


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