Photographing Spring Dawning

Monday February 2011

Frozen in time

It was one of those early Spring days when you could smell the earth and feel the power of the wind that would blow you away, as you listened to Roxy Music’s “Avalon” on the clock-radio falling out of bed in the early dawn.After taking all my medications and reading the Camera equipment,  I e-biked to Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail with my legs feeling a bit ropey thanks to a hard ride home last night and the fact that I’m not warmed up yet. A rabbit burst into the bushes on a helter-skelter trail course as I pass, and I see a deer along Cootes Drive, the first in the morning, swinging its white-rump (tail) as it bounds through the trees of West Hamilton. The Spring frost is deeper here along the trail – the mud is frozen into corrugations that my e-bike tires scrunches over and the puddles have a coating of crackly ice. At the top of the trail, I pause and silence descends, and I recall the conservation magazine entitled ‘Not So Silent Spring.” As I stand there, my breath curls away in white-cloud -like circles that resemble gold coloured smoke, I realize silence is a misleading word to use in Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise landscapes. That is, because every bush rustles with foraging birds and bulrushes sway as Mute Swans are foraging at water’s edge; squirrels scramble up and down the tree trunks at Bayfront Park, gypsy moths gather nectar from a flower, a fly lands on a daisy flower, and from the distance comes the sound of a train horn at the C.P. Rail Yards. I punctuate this with two spring -loaded clacks as I clip back into the pedals of my e-bike and groan my way up the last of this particular trail.

October sunrise

HDR, Bayshot

Spike

I think nature might be picking on me because of my invasion as the bushes whip painfully at my legs and arms, and more agonizingly is my cold ears, fingers and toes. Soon I am climbing a wide part of the trail and here I stop again. This time it is to use my camera – wooden fingers fumbling with the buttons as I attempt to photograph some bristle spikes that , to me, resemble swords sticking out of the ground. I’m not sure the pictures capture what I see, but I feel better for having tried – there is nothing more frustrating than going for a ride with a Nikon D90 in your backpack only to ignore everything because you feel that it would ruin the flow. Looking at the landscape before me, I was thinking Camera Raw and Adobe settings that I  had applied the night before.Using Photoshop cs5 and the Camera Raw made everything so much easier when manipulating a picture to the way I feel, or felt at that paticular moment in time . When shooting, align a horizon as in Cootes Paradise with the horizontal guidelines in the camera viewfinder which will help keep the scene level. As I stand on the shores of Hamilton Harbourfront spread before me illuminated by the rising sun, just emerged above a cloud – it is breathtakingly lovely. Mist lurks across the lake in front of me, in a strangely purple in the morning light. I happily snap photos for nearly an hour before glancing at my watch and realizing that time is pressing and I’ve not fulfilled the need for that perfect picture., yet.

Too may obstacles

On my e-bike I even do the cheekiest of cheek trails and it is great – roots, corners that beg to be carved out in photographs. Along Cootes Drive again I see a lone deer sauntering across the highway. I get my camera out, just before the white-tailed female deer glides off silently again, out of the way of preying eyes. More photo stops occur on the route back home. Then I sit down in my chair, cup of fresh brewed Ginger tea in hand, looking down at my cat, then looking over downtown Hamilton just waking up. Frankly, I contemplate they’ve missed the best part of the day photographing Spring Dawning.Every morning I  rode my ebike From June 7 2010 until January 2011 drawn by Mother nature. I dream nightly of the Not so silent spring approaching, the need to be outdoors and Fulfilling the need to touch, feel,  and rebirth.

City Deer

Source: adapted from Dawn by Dom Perry

By Jacqueline and Doug Worrall

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