The color of winter

A year ago I wrote a post entitled A season of a different color in which I discussed the inception of this blog, my boyhood introduction to photography, and the color palette of winter. Regarding the last of these subjects I explained then that some of us who live in higher latitudes may reasonably observe that winter is the season most lacking in visual interest. Landscapes are bleak, seemingly lifeless, and days are short. I have learned,however, that if you take the time to look closely you will discover that there is color, texture, and interest in everything and that winter is, in fact, far from colorless, it’s just that its palette differs from those of the other seasons. One must learn to discern and to appreciate this difference. Below are three colorful images captured over the recent Holiday. I hope you enjoy them and that they make you realize that winter is every bit as colorful as spring or fall, you simply have to learn to see these colors of winter. Clicking on any of the gallery images will take you to a carousel view and the x in the upper left will bring you back to this text.

Among the barns in our area the one shown on the top, right is perhaps my favorite and has been the subject of several previous posts. It is a beauty and greets me on my travels to and from town. It will celebrate its quasquicentennial in less than a decade and is in active use throughout the year. I am a great admirer of old barns. They speak to me when I stop to listen. They tell me stories of friends, harvests, flood and drought, and both very hot and very cold weather … but mostly they tell me stories of hard work, satisfaction, and perhaps even reward. You can hear these stories especially well if you are fortunate to be able to explore the interior of a barn. The patina of time reveals much, and without words. This one sits in the middle of the Susquehanna flood plain. It has a panoramic view of the river valley and of Bald Eagle mountain to the south and the hills of Swissdale to the north. If you look closely you can see a holiday wreath prominently displayed for all those who drive past its facade. This image was taken before sunrise this past Wednesday morning. I had been diving back home when, as I greeted my old friend, I noticed that the morning sky behind it was painted in subtle shades of blue and purple pastel.

When compared to the others, the larger image on the left speaks in bold splashes of bright, sunlit, color. It was taken from a steel truss railroad bridge which crosses Pine Creek at Ramsey, along the Pine Creek Rail Trail. We had guests this week and when the weather had finally cleared, we thought a walk was in order. The sun was in-and-out, making conditions difficult for photography. I did manage, however, to get one nice shot just as we turned for home. This same bridge was the subject of another post submitted back in August. You can see, by clicking for a higher resolution version of the image here, just where I constructed a cairn in the steam bed … where the stream narrows and the increased flow forms a u-shaped riffle. The water was much warmer then and Sycamores were in full leaf, precluding a view of the understory which now reveals its hues of rusty red. In the absence of colors contributed by the deciduous trees, pines along the lower river valley and higher hillsides finish off this riparian palette in green.

And last, but certainly not least, I captured the sunrise yesterday as I made way to town for morning coffee. As I started off the farm I noticed a blush of pink to the east and over my left shoulder. I kicked myself for not bringing along the D600. As I continued the blush faded and I was relieved. Having thoroughly enjoyed my first few sips of coffee I got back into the truck and turned for home. I exited the main road and noticed the intensity of the rising sun, now over my right shoulder. Within just a minute or two the rumpled underbelly of the cloud bank was ablaze with color which cascaded over the near and distant hills. I pulled over and grabbed my reading glasses and the HX9V from the glove box. The first image was recorded at 7:35 AM and the eighteenth just two minutes later. Then, all at once, the color raced across the sky, over, and then behind me. This diffusion of colors had the effect of diminishing the overall intensity of each but they continued to blush blue, purple, red, and orange as they had at twilight. I have commented before on the luck which is often involved in capturing nice images … I believe that I was very lucky indeed on this particular morning.

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