SUBDUED

In winter, Yellow Twig dogwood brightens the landscape, lending a haze of sunny warmth to the cool gray woodlands. I exaggerated the hazy effect above by using a soft focus effect in my camera and reducing clarity in post processing. In the version below I increased clarity, lightened the highlights and darkened the shadows, to emphasize the bare twigs’ linearity.

Over time I’ve come to accept my tendency to be attracted to opposite qualities in things. Never one to focus tightly in a single area for long, I take a lot in and enjoy shifting back and forth between opposites. It’s a both-and stance when it works, instead of either-or.

These photos were taken at a preserve near Seattle. Below, the highly invasive Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) drapes as elegantly as a couturier’s ballgown as it slowly decomposes.

Hoar frost grows thickly on fallen grass and willow leaves. As I stood on the boardwalk that crosses the preserve’s wetland and focused my camera on the frosty leaves, a photographer carrying a camera with a huge lens for birds and a tripod walked by. He gave a dismissive look and scowled, “What are you focusing on, dead leaves?”

I simply said, “Yes.”

It’s 4 pm and the sun has set. The temperature is only a few degrees above freezing and my fingers and toes are completely numb. One last shot – the odd white berries of a native shrub, the Snowberry, as they pick up a final glint of sunlight.

A hint of what’s to come –

I took a winter garden stroll through the Soest Garden, part of the University of Washington’s Botanic Garden and Arboretum complex in Seattle. Above is a type of pampas grass. Like the Yellow Twig dogwood, it glows warmly in winter sun, offering respite from gray and brown.


25 comments

  1. Gorgeous images, my friend – including (especially!!!) the one at the top – wonderful textures, and the combinations of blues and yellows; its really like a painting. And the third image down too, it has a distinctly wan and ghostly look. After quite a while, I’m off to brave the cold countryside tomorrow – brrrrrrrrr!!!! A 🙂

    • That top one uses the soft focus so-called “art filter” in camera. I’m having so much fun with it. In LR you can fiddle with it more of course, but it’s like a head start, and the image quality is so much better than in camera effects I’ve seen in other cameras. So why not use it?

  2. Such lovely images, Lynn. The Pampas Grass reminds me of when we lived in Johannesburg. These grasses used to grow all over the disused goldmine dumps. They spread so much that they are now classified as a noxious weed, which is a great pity, because they’re so pretty.

    • Interesting! We have our share of introduced problem plants here, since it it doesn’t freeze for long enough in the winter to kill many plants. And some are handsome. But seeing that huge grass growing all over must have been impressive. Gold mining is another subject…I really would rather we just recycle what we have and stop mining more.

  3. Oh Lynn – those first two images are pure enchantment ! I loved you description of a * couturiers ballgown .. oh yes 🙂


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