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Being Creative During the Winter Blues

Fitzroy Harbour

Contrary to popular belief, not all Canadians enjoy winter. I personally find winter very difficult. My feet are always cold, it's dark, touching anything metal zaps me, it's so dry, and on and on... The one and only thing that makes winter tolerable is my old wood burning fireplace. That's my cozy spot, the place where I can soak in the heat. It's mesmerizing to watch the flames dance around behind the tempered glass doors. Sometimes, late at night, I'll just lie on the sofa staring at the flames and glowing red embers. All my thoughts just fade way as the light flickers and fills the room with an orange glow.

All my thoughts just fade way as the light flickers and fills the room with an orange glow.

Beaver Lake - Algonquin Park

But as much as I love laying on the sofa staring at the fire, that doesn't satisfy my desire to capture photos and create videos. While winter is cold and dark, there is a beauty to winter that begs to be captured. Snow covered trees, sunlight piercing through an icy frost, bright blue skies, frozen streams, and evergreen trees. There's plenty for a photographer to capture - the problem, for me anyway, is finding motivation to get outside!

So how do you pry yourself off the couch and get snapping again? It's different for everyone I'm sure, but I'll share what seems to work for me.

Embrace Lights in the Darkness

With the sun setting so early in the evening, winter offers a unique opportunity to experiment with artificial light. Lighting the darkness outside with a warm cozy fire, gas lantern, led lights, or your flash, allows you to create a whole new world of photo and video scenarios to play with. Sometimes something so simple, like a vintage gas lantern as seen in my two short videos, will ignite a creative spark leading to many exciting projects. Heading outside in winter after the sun had gone down was never on my bucket-list of shooting scenarios, but seeing the beautiful contrast between the cold snow and the warmth of the lantern excited me enough to grab my camera and shoot some video!

Vintage lantern from the short film Night Light

Make it a Full Day Trip

I love road trips, especially nice long drives through the country that take me somewhere into our pioneering past. To help motivate myself to brave the cold weather, I like to combine my photography outing with a 'ghost town' destination. I had been wanting to explore an old mill location when the leaves were off the trees to see if I could spot any old remains in the woods. I picked this location as my end point, and then weaving down every back road I could find, I made my way to the mill site. Along the way, I stopped for coffee and a homemade butter tart at an old general store in the small town of Quadville. Little things like this add to the experience and help me enjoy the journey. In the end, the mill site turned out to be a bust, but along the way I came across many old homes and beautiful winter vistas.

Dress Warm!

Sounds obvious, but I have a terrible habit of underdressing for the weather. Just like your parents always told you, dress warm! Old man winter can't give you frost bite if he can't touch you! Take along some hand warmers to keep in your pockets. Snow pants are a must, especially if you need to walk through a deep snow covered field or get down low for the best angle.

Come on, you're Canadian

Beautiful Blues

Unless you plan on moving south, winter is just a natural part of being Canadian. You can either embrace it, or sit around and do nothing. So grab your camera this winter and beat the blues eh!

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