Before I light the fire, make the tea, I take the first photograph of the day out of the window. An early dawn panorama of big white trees. Firs carry their layers of white on fans, a complex arrangement of interlocking planes, while the bare maple trunks, branches and terminal twigs are careful white line drawings. An even grey cloud layer blankets us in silence. Before the snow can begin to degrade from this perfection I will be out and about recording this moment.
A few days later the novelty has worn off and a cold rain is pelting the snowy ground. A new pattern of white and green covers the ground under the somber tones of the now snowless forest trees. These melt patterns are more interesting to me, there is the possibility now of experiencing a voice in this landscape that speaks of something beyond pretty, beyond eye candy. I dress for the rain, slide into my winter gumboots and tuck my camera inside my jacket to keep it dry. Feeling the cold and soaking rain personally is an important part of the process if I hope to get close to what is happening here, and I need to do that, to cross over into the other, if I am going to understand what is going on and record an authentic image. No more a tourist in a winter wonderland, I am back home again.To keep my camera dry, I find myself testing first with my eyes, mentally framing and then referring it to my inner editor. I am not staring at the world through a viewfinder with the camera screwed to my face. I am part of the world and not separate from it and this makes an immense difference. When I whip the camera out and quickly make a photo I have already checked it out and know that it is right. Up on the ridge of a moss and snow patterned rock outcrop in the forest the land pulls me in and guides my hand.