Sunday, January 12, 2014

The magic of winter...

I’ve taken plenty of cold, windy walks on snow-covered beaches, but I realized when a friend and I stood on the shore at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, watching thick, fluffy flakes fall, that I’d never actually been on a beach during a snowfall. 

Boy, have I missed something in all these years of living in the Northeast!

I had my camera. Of course! And there was nothing I wanted more than to capture the beauty of the landscape—the sweep of the ocean and the rise of dunes with the beach between, softened and muted by the falling snow.

But the purpose of our two-hour drive had been to get some shots of one of the several snowy owls that have settled on the Plum Island for the winter. So I'd left my landscape lens in the parked car and had only my long lens on the camera. This lens would give me the focal distance I needed to get the details of a distant owl, but it would show only a narrow slice of landscape, not the snow-filled panorama I wanted at that moment.

Still...I snapped the shutter—it’s what photographers do--and I love what the camera caught. Even a tiny piece of the bigger scene looks magical.  And if that had been the way the day had ended, I'd have been happy with just these images.

Continuing the owl search, we started down a boardwalk. Plump birds bartered for space on the bare branches while waiting their turn for the berries on a nearby bush. When we got closer, we saw that they were robins--sort of an unnatural sight in winter--but there were dozens. I snapped away, hoping I caught some birds with berries in their beaks. If this was all we saw for the day, I wouldn't have a complaint in the world.

Then we hit the trifecta when we spotted the snowy owl on a jetty of rocks, slippery from melted snow and sea water.  It was a tricky go, maneuvering slowly and carefully so as not to fall. The goal was not to scare the snowy, not to drop camera equipment, and not to fall and get hurt--in that order. We made it! The snowy posed for quite a while before getting bored and flying to the beach.

So just when I thought I was as happy as could be, I got happier still!

A perfect winter day!  And more to come!

“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people's legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.” ~Sarah Addison Allen


Kate Hannon said...

Beautiful blog, Ruth. I love the story of the long lens and the results. Glad you decided to begin snapping! Cheers, Kate

Ruth D~ said...

Thanks, Kate. I really want to get back to mixing words and photos works for me.

Noreen Ryan said...

Your words so impressed me, if I couldn't see the pictures, I would have felt the scene. The pictures just enhanced the story.....thanks for sharing.....loved the little Robin with a berry.

Ruth D~ said...

Thank you, Noreen. I could have stayed with the robins all day. They are nothing like heron, and the beautiful shots you got, but they were so perky and looked so pretty in the berries.

Mark Robinson said...

Beautiful shots Ruth! The birds are stunning but I really like the dreamy effect of the snowflakes with the long lens.

Bob Sanchez said...

Your commentary is as good as your photography, Ruth!