Photographing Winter

I've struggled for years to capture winter in my signature style. Now I have no idea why it took me so long. I finally figured out how to get the light to cooperate with my camera and create images that evoke winter. There have been some delightful moments such as this one.


The palette of winter makes me happy, when it's not grey. Blues and aqua and white and deep dark periwinkle shadows in the snow. Partially frozen shore abutting still waters, who reflect and dance with the blue sky during their rare opportunities in overcast land.


Another photo in this gorgeous palette I discovered one day when ice was forming on the lake, and the blue sky rippled off the whiteness. Combined with my own movement, we have this lovely study of blue, and teal, and periwinkle. đź’™ When shades of blue dance together like this, I swoon.


Do you see that golden streak here? Reflections of the sun from baby waves hitting the ice shelf along the lake. Lovely winter day from January this year. Those blue skies are out, and anything is possible.






Rain Fall

My photographs are non-representational, in official artist speak. They don't capture the world as it is, but an adaption of it. Typically that adaptation occurs through my own movement while using the camera. Sometimes, the movement is provided by rushing or bouncing water, or wind.

A relatively rare technique in my portfolio, Rain Fall was created on (you guessed it) a VERY RAINY autumn day in New Hampshire. I seek out colorful trees to dance near with my camera, pointed skyward to see the trees.

On this day, it was POURING.

Pointing my lens towards the sky wasn't a great option. I sat, resting in my car, chomping on a granola bar, and noticed that the water was bending and refracting the scene in front of me, creating a really unique look at the trees before my car.

Rain Fall was born.


Fun Fact: while the shapes and patterns in this photo, as in all my art, were created in camera: I had to do a little extra editing on this baby: the dashboard lights on my car reflected into the rain in a few spots, and I had to clone those out.  

Kelly O'NealComment
An Ode to Summer

SUMMER!  I love you so.  It is warm, and warm.  And so little laundry to do because all I wear is shorts and t-shirts.  And I don't have to worry about accidentally dying if I walk outside with the wrong clothes.  And warm.  And water, and long walks on the beach, and sunsets, and daylight until long into the evening.

And camp.  Am I the only one who misses camp?! Summer camp!

Long walks on the beach with my baby dog.

Dinners outside on Church St.  I refuse to say "Al fresco" dining because for some unknown reason that always makes me think of people eating outside, NAKED.  

Puttering the day away in the sunshine at the farmer's market.  Bread bikes.  Ice cream bikes.  

Bike rides.  SWIMS!  Did I mention it was warm?!  

Tomatoes.  Basil. Squash. Flowers. BERRIES, how could I forget the berries?!  Raspberries.  Stolen from bushes along the side of the road, on public land.  Delightful strawberry season that is so short I nearly miss it every. single. year. 

Vermont.  Summer.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh. 

You can't always get what you want

Since moving to New England, there’s a time of year I really cherish (and dread): Fall.  The leaves change to brilliant hues of red, orange, and yellow.  The air is crisp, the stars clear, and it’s still warm enough that you don’t have to carry a coat everywhere.  The farmer’s market is at its peak, playing chicken with the frost.

The dread is knowing what comes next, but for a few glorious weeks I try to ignore that inevitability.

Every year I head toward New Hampshire, and specifically the Kancamagus Highway to take some glorious fall photos.  It’s always a gamble, knowing when peak will occur.  In 2009 I hit it at perfection—deep reds, vibrant oranges.  It was the weekend before Columbus day, glorious peak perfection of the White Mountains in NH.


Fall Peak 2009 in Groton State Park, VT

This year, not so much.  I gambled.  The weekend before the peak from last year, I had a sense I should head on over.  Things were starting to look nice, I wanted lots of time in NH this year (Even 2 full weekends), and there were tropical storm remnants rolling in later that week.  I feared it would drop all the leaves and stunt the peak.  I was right.  But in a moment of doubt and sheer exhaustion, decided to stay home that weekend.


Heading up on October 1st , my chosen weekend from 2009, I had a plan.  Three nights, head through Crawford Notch (the Northern Route in the Whites) over to Conway, and then back on the Kancamagus, the Southern Route.  As I meandered through Crawford Notch, the leaves were yellowy, browny, looking a bit pekid.  I hoped I was just too far North and The Kanc would be better.  I was hopeful heading down Bear Notch road, the crossover.  But, alas, the colors this year were more subtle, muted,—still pretty but in a less dazzling sort of way.  Lots of pale yellow.  Cozy.  Like a drizzly day curled up with a book and a cup of tea on the porch by the beach—nice, but not necessarily what you signed up for when you came to Florida.

Yellow Stream NH 2010

Kancamagus Fall 2010

The good news about this all is that is allowed me to be a little less frantic over the weekend.  Sleep in.  Loll about.  Not worry too much about whether I was missing an awesome grove of leaves around the bend, and get creative.  Spend more time concentrating on the few nice places & trees I found, rather than wanting to cover more ground, quite literally.  I had gone into the weekend wanting to get a couple of good abstract motion shots of fall, including especially one in red.  As it turns out, the conditions were quite nice for this.  The universe did provide what I needed.


Equinox--a portrait of one red tree, my fave image from Fall 2010

A perfect weekend in the White Mountains, indeed.