There comes a time in the deep cold of every Canadian prairie winter, when the need to be in the presence of new green growth becomes a necessity. Something fresh, urgent, reassuring in its promise that spring will eventually arrive.
Back in January, I happened to receive some bulbs for growing indoors – forcing – and had a few dozen of another variety in storage in the back of the fridge.
Recalling how my mother would use beautiful glass marbles when forcing bulbs, I decided to give it a try using my collection of sea glass. With a sunny south-facing windowsill available, I arranged the glass pieces in some small vases, set the bulbs on top, and added water.
It took a couple weeks to see many signs of life. First to appear were tiny roots, and as the days have ever so gradually gotten longer, so have the leaves, finally opening to flowers.
Over the years I have revisited various still life photography subjects and ideas.
A recent photo workshop introduced me to some new ways of looking at still life art. I have decided to make still life studies a larger part of my photographic practice. The process is enjoyable, as it requires that I spend time with the subject, paying attention to how I can shape the light and shadows and achieve a desired effect within the composition.
My goal in this still life arrangement was to explore contrasting materials. By using glass pieces to play with layered light and colour, I was able to create textural details that compliment the natural forms. I prefer to work with available light and found that this simple still life subject photographs well in small patches of winter sunlight. Once the green leaves emerged from the bulbs, I began documenting their progress.
Of particular interest were the white tendrils of roots, threading down through the sea-glass. I have more work to do in exploring their visual potential, particularly as abstracted elements in different kinds of light. These reaching forms, hidden then revealed by the glass, bring to mind the idea that some of the most important stages of growth happen unseen. This winter has been a season of quiet change as I have been integrating and internalizing the lessons of the past year. From processing tremendous loss to focusing on my creative growth, I have been sending out my own delicate roots and tapping into new possibilities through my personal work.
I have been hard at work updating my website, and you can find more of my still life photography here with a small selection of prints available in my shop.
When I travel I am often closely observing the botanical elements of a place, as they often form an interesting and informative backdrop in the wider local scene. Floral photography fits in well with the idea of looking for local colour. From recent travels to California, these vivid yellow pincushion protea flowers stood in bright contrast to their dark green foliage. Spotted while on a waterfront walk in Monterey, with blustery spring showers and fast-moving clouds overhead, these fresh blooms were a welcome colourful reminder that spring is just around the corner.
Protea flowers symbolize hope and transformation, and these golden arching forms of the stamen catch the light beautifully on a dark, moody day. It seems that most of my flower photos lean toward textural compositions, full of deep contrast and vivid colour.
Prints available here, find my full portfolio of moody and magical floral photography here.
I didn’t set out to find such a powerful weather photography subject, it was just another blustery, spring day on the California coast. With scattered rain showers and blank overcast skies accompanying my drive south from Santa Cruz to Monterey. With glimpses of the ocean and soft, rolling hills opening to loamy and verdant valleys, the scenery along Highway 1 can be beautiful in any weather.
After turning inland through fields of strawberries and artichokes then skimming across the Elkhorn Slough with its swath of inter-tidal wetlands, the highway bends back to meet the ocean as Monterey appears ahead. Approaching the stretch of sand dunes that mark the beginning of expansive, wild beaches just South of the Salinas River, I felt the brute force of a powerful wind blowing in across the Pacific ocean. Then I noticed the clouds.
At first just a heavy smudge on the horizon, an undefined darker grey in a sky already laced with rain and mist. These clouds quickly became distinct above the white-capped Monterey Bay; fast-moving, dark and dramatic, their undersides carved into undulating ribbons of green and blue with a curtain of heavy rain following close behind. I had my camera with me that day, and immediately pulled off the highway to a small beach access and overlook.
The air felt charged with raw energy and a few other brave souls had stopped to take in the storm as it blew quickly onshore; I managed to capture only a handful of images before the heavy rains arrived.
I will never forget the exhilaration of watching the strange sky above, and the speed with which the entire system passed from sea to land was truly incredible. Glad to get whatever photos I could of this storm, I take them as proof that bad weather makes for excellent landscape photography, and the best camera is the one you have with you (though it doesn’t hurt to carry some of your better gear around from time to time). This surreal cloudscape scene is included in my collection of sky and cloud photo prints, featuring a variety of dramatic clouds and abstract skies.