Last week I took the small film camera for a walk in Fish Creek. It should be clear that these photos are impossible for most of the year, even not counting the ice. This area is mostly a murky swamp. I don't know how deep it is, but I'm pretty sure it's more than gum boot deep, and might even be more than hip wader deep if you think about the soft bottom. The ice was thick enough that I shuffled along, mostly confidently. There was only one spot where there were some creaks, and it was really near something else to stand on.
Why black and white, you ask? That's what was in the camera, and I wanted to finish the roll. Plus, it's a good photographic exercise to think about the world in shades of grey. It's entirely different than colour. There are scenes where something pops out because it's a contrasting colour and that makes the photo, and yet in black and white it might be invisible. There are scenes where colour doesn't add anything to the image, and this time of year, for these kind of scenes, that's the case here.
So keep an open mind as you look at these. Try not to think about it being a swamp. Look at the contrasts, the textures, the lines, and shapes.
1. Go down the stairs at Bebo Grove and turn right. There's a short bit of swamp.
2. There's times the stark trees against the sky make for interesting shapes.
3. Once back at the main path, cross over and continue down more swamp, dodging fallen trees, and watching out for the places the ice is quite a bit thinner. I spent a little while thinking about different compositions. It would be easy to take as many photos as I pleased with the digital, and then select the best one later while editing. Yet the exercise here is to see the compositions as a black and white photo in my mind, and make just one photo.
4. In this case the composition was obvious, even if I did have to struggle with some shrubs to get the right viewpoint. But what I really like are the transitions from light to dark, and the textures in the tree and ice.
5. More ice texture, with a barrier of branches to liven things up. The stairs are right beside an outfall duct for some stormwater ponds. For a long time they were fenced off, but not any more. This might be a great place in the summer to catch tree reflections in the calm water. And yes, there is some open water near the duct. I was extremely cautious thinking about the ice thickness transitions.
6. Looking back the way I came. Someone was really brave to walk along leaving slushy footprints, but it wasn't me. Photographers know exactly why I like the footprints.
8. I liked the branch sticking up through the ice, and the surrounding cracks, imagining a creature poking up a sensory organ to search for prey.
10. Regular readers will know I love reflection photos. I did not get my feet wet doing this, but it was close.
11. There's a huge log jam where the swamp meets Fish Creek. I've done photos there in the past, but mostly the light hasn't been good. It was fading as I got here.
13. My dragon spine tree. Things are always changing in Fish Creek. Here's what this used to look like, back in 2017. I wanted to pose a runner on or against the tree, stretching, lounging and working on a tan while eating a snack. Alas, the tree is nowhere as interesting now that the spines have worn off.