What is Winter?

January 01, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Happy New Year everyone! Yes, it is January 1, 2024 as another year has bit the dust. Looking around, it is hard to believe it is January in Western New York. On my customary New Year's Day walk, there was some very gentle dusting in the Chestnut Ridge park but for the most part, all remains in wet green. Just the grayness and gloom reminds me of the season.

Thus, instead of fresh 2024 pictures, let's look at what landscape looked like two months ago on November 1, 2023 when winter made its first visit, and it was the prettiest one this season yet. Sure, a bit too early at that point as nature was still in colorful fall mode but that also made it so pretty. Scroll slowly, take your time, and I hope you enjoy the scenery.

Getting out of the door can be a challenge when one feels lazy even when the outside is clearly hinting to get out. It's usually worth it. And this morning, no doubts were left as soon as I pulled into the parking area and stepped out. Who wouldn't love a welcoming scene like this!

Welcome to Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New YorkWelcome to BirdsongWinter's First VIisit

Welcome to Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

As I made the turn in the above photograph I was faced with some magical low fog that immediately peaked my interest and I spent a lot of time on the meadow before even entering the woods, which is where my interest usually lies. The trick was to show off the mystery of the fog without losing the image altogether. Long focal lengths intensify the low visibility so I explored different looks that way. Things also looked quite different front or back lit. And the fog itself kept rolling around the meadow becoming weaker at times and really dense in other moments. I felt like chasing ghosts.

Frosty & Foggy Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New YorkFrosty & Foggy BirdsongWinter's First Visit

Frosty & Foggy Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

When I indulged in fog enough I finally entered the woods. There's a boardwalk right away crossing a small but crucial creek. It is along that creek that a lot of my favorite scenes lie. My eyes used to be drawn to the left side for years thanks to a broken tree trunk forming an A over the creek. But something was different on this visit and my eyes went right first. The creek leading into the woods with some greenery on its banks and the white power look like taken straight out of a fairy tale.

Fall vs Winter along the Creek, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Fall vs Winter along the CreekWinter's First Visit

Fall vs Winter along the Creek, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

And then the look left. No more A, nature has reclaimed that old formation. It will take me a while to get used to its absence. It will also give me an opportunity to look for something new. Or did that happen already, like the photograph above?

Fall vs Winter along the Boardwalk, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Fall vs Winter along the BoardwalkWinter's First Visit

Fall vs Winter along the Boardwalk, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

I usually completely ignore this side path to enter or exit the park as I have no reason to go to the road, or to come from there. This morning, I paused, stopped, and find the view irresistible. Nature all around but the utility post in the distance along with the wires providing clues to a road going along and thus civilization not being far.

Utilities Running By, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Utilities Running ByWinter's First Visit

Utilities Running By, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

The set up for the next photograph was intense, about to step out from the shadows into the light. The water and land were bathed in the warm light of the rising sun. Very bright, yet, still low enough and gentle to allow for a photograph like below despite all of the whites. The snow was helping brighten the shadows but made it trickier not to overexpose the sunlit area.

White and Colorful, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.White and ColorfulWinter's First Visit

White and Colorful, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

And then right back into the woods and a spot that won me over the years. The creek and the tunnel of trees leaning under different angles always make me stop and contemplate the purpose of living. And this. morning, the covered colors and the fresh bright white power gave the same scene yet another look. Even now in the photograph, I enjoy following the creek from the foreground slowly into the back passing under the trees and enjoying what Mother Nature created there.

Creek through the Seasonal Woods, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Creek through the Seasonal WoodsWinter's First Visit

Creek through the Seasonal Woods, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

My relationship with the old willow is not as far along as the creek scene above but we are slowly getting there. Some days I see a photograph some days I see frustration. I was happy about what this early November day presented though. The light snow and higher than usual water level created a picturesque scene indeed. The reflections drew me in and I did the usual photo dance to position things just right to take advantage of them.

Creek Curve, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Creek CurveWinter's First Visit

Creek Curve, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

Next a more ordinary scene as I was approaching the end of the loop walking through the narrow trail winding its way through the trees. Despite the canopy over my head the snowflakes found their way all the way to the ground and I was hoping to capture the mood in a photograph. They are subtle but they are there if you pause long enough to let the scene in.

Cold & Snowing along the Trail, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Cold & Snowing along the TrailWinter's First Visit

Cold & Snowing along the Trail, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

Soon after I came to another favorite scene of mine. I had photographed the bench many times and from many different angles. Then it suffered form disrepair and was missing a leg for a long time. And this morning I noticed it was back in its full glory. And wow, the view it was providing was nothing short of glorious! It felt completely unreal! Such a total contrast between two different seasons, as if I photographed the foreground a month before the background. It was still fall on my side of the pond but time slipped into winter on the side opposite. Wow, what trickery!

The Birdsong Bench, Two SeasonsThe Birdsong Bench, Two SeasonsI often photograph this bench along the path in Birdsong Park, always trying to find new ways to capture it. This morning, nature did that for me. Isn;t it amazing how the near side of the pond is in fall mode while the opposite is all in winter white?

The morning was cold, frosty, gloomy, and snowy. Despite these adjectives the trees of Birdsong Park in Orchard Park, NY also looked quite magical. Fortunately, the layer of snow and ice was just enough to decorate but not too much to cause damage.

The Birdsong Bench, Two Seasons, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

And here we come to the last stop along the Birdsong Park loop and an alternate view of the seasonal dichotomy from the photograph above. I feel the seasonal contrast is more subtle in the photograph below but it is still rather awesome. I wonder though, how would someone else than me see the photograph. Would they even notice the two different seasons in one photo? Or would it be completely obvious and not subtle at all? How does the meaning of a photograph change when someone else than the photographer looks at it? And how does it change when different people look? What would their short descriptions look like? Would they be similar or very different?

Birdsong Pond, Winter or Fall, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Birdsong Pond, Winter or FallWinter's First Visit

Birdsong Pond, Winter or Fall, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

Thanks for stopping by and may the new year be kind to all. Any chance people could get along a little more?

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs from Buffalo and Western New York? Visit my Buffalo Cityscapes and Buffalo & Western New York Landscapes and enjoy! For more travel photography, my Travel Photography gallery offers an interesting mix of places all around. And for more black and white photography hop over to the World without Color photo collection.

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