I woke last night in the darkness to the rumbling sound of a heavy train passing through the city, threading through the quiet neighbourhoods with its horn calling a long, keening wail.
I lay awake listening as the sound repeated, feeling anxious, sad, wishing that I might wake in the morning to a world no longer brought to its knees by an invisible but very real threat.
What a strange, uncertain time we find ourselves in, where the act of waiting quietly for danger to pass has suddenly become a collective endeavor. I have been wandering through my archives, in search of images that can adequately communicate the mood of the moment, and this recent photo from a roadtrip across Western Canada in early February keeps coming to mind.
The trip was a spontaneous one and feels like it happened a lifetime ago now. The foothills and prairie of Southern Alberta were shrouded in blowing snow and quickly passing clouds, and the harsh landscape provided a beautiful contrast to the rugged forests, mountains, and coastal terrain of my destination in British Columbia. When the road was obscured and the weather uncertain, there was nothing to do but continue on to the next waypoint, and I am trying to keep that sensation in mind now as we all travel down an uncertain road together; eyes on the horizon – keeping a safe distance from each other of course – we have to believe that the way will clear eventually if we just stay the course.
Having spent a couple of years on the Canadian prairie now, I realize that what I miss most about the California coast is not exactly the ocean itself, but rather the air; dense fog, constantly shifting breezes humid with sea mist, and the resulting ethereal quality in the light. I find that this image captures that sense of layered expanse very well, shot along the Big Sur coast where a stately line of trees delicately screen the distant horizon beneath a blanket of swirling fog. Blue and yellow-gold are the summer palette of my childhood, and I love how these colours become more vivid as the season progresses toward autumn. Prints available here!
More moments like this can be found throughout my photography archives, especially in the California galleries, with stories and travel tips shared here on the blog:
In the stillness between waves, dedicated surfers wait in the rise and fall of a winter swell. This image was captured shortly after a spectacular sunset had painted the pastel skies along the coast of Santa Cruz, California.
These quiet moments are as much a part of surf culture as catching the biggest or most exciting waves, and a peaceful ocean scene like this reminds me of how we are all drawn to contemplate the sea.
Spent maybe a little too long this morning playing in the archives, but I couldn’t resist. This sunset desert landscape is a panorama stitched from three photos. The sun had just slipped behind mountains to the west, and only the faintest glow remained, caught by the buildings of Boyd Deep Canyon research center and a sliver of the distant Salton Sea. The colors of the desert rocks and varnish are always surprising, but something about the softer winter light and clearer air of December seems to bring out even more dramatic color across the mountains.
I will be posting a great deal of landscape photography this year. It has always been a favorite subject area, and I have quite a collection of untouched images from last year’s travels. Landscapes figure quite largely in who we are and what our lifestyles and cultures have become, and as I find it difficult to separate myself from my environment, I am looking forward to studying it further. That it can be so magically beautiful and glow with amazing colors is simply a bonus.