What is there to photograph in the gloom of February?
Winter still has its grip on seasonal weather. In the Pacific Northwest that means grey, overcast skies on a routine basis, punctuated by chilly rains. Spring shows barely a hint of the growth to come. Flowers are in hibernation, and bugs hunker down. I mostly hunker down too. It’s not a colorful time of year.
But one day we had a break from the mundane. We had snow.
In much of the country, snow in February evokes little more than, “so what?” Out here it’s, “ooh, look at the pretty snow”, or “OMG how will I get home?” Folks here don’t know how to drive in it, and there’s not much equipment for plowing roads. A couple inches and the city shuts down. When I first moved out here from the Midwest I thought that was hilarious; now I just shrug and roll my eyes.
But it does add a new dimension to the landscape. Pure whites, where drab greys and browns used to sit. Contrast, at least until the snow piles up, with what greenery remains in our winter season. And that new dimension gives an excuse to break out the camera.
Reds pop. The usual tired brown of dead and decaying leaves gets spritzed up with a freshening white accent.
Foliage dons a crown of crystalized water, with a few droplets for gems.
Rhododendrons play make believe. “Look Ma, I’m a cotton plant!”
Winter waves the sword of a white night, vanquishing, for a moment, the black heart of a cold evening.
Hydrangea wears a white sheet, revealing the ghost of an old flower.
Yet at the same time, it gives a gentle hint of things sleeping, but still to come.
Warmer days are but a dream, but for some it’s a dream that sustains through the cold days and nights.
I’m oft amazed at the resilience of our resident Anna’s Hummingbirds. How can something so tiny, that burns so many calories just flitting about survive? We do our best to help, cycling unfrozen nectar feeders into the yard, but still. I’d freeze to death were I in their feathers.
Camelias also dream of warmer days to come. Early spring bloomers, they’ve gotten a jump on hanging out with their buds.
So there you have it. In the deep of winter, when both my camera and I were inclined to hibernate, a simple event that would cause much of the country to do little more than scrape the snow from the car windows was inspiration for me to look into a fresh dimension.