Our deciduous trees are mostly naked now, shed of their spring and summer clothing. We no longer focus on the light greens then darker greens of spring and summer or on the autumn hues of yellows, oranges, and reds. Instead, the trees are stripped down to their skeletons. And we see their strong bones, stretching upward and outward into the sky.
Last winter, during a particularly brutal cold spell, I barely ventured outside to shoot pictures. So I shot from the front or back porch. Seeing the same slice of landscape day after day, I noticed the bases of trees for the first time. Like the Japanese cut leaf maple I can see through my front window. And the maple trees lining our back fence.
One late afternoon, using a long exposure of 32 seconds, I made this image. Falling snow coated the rough birch limbs, drawing my eye to its footprint, as to a ballet dancer’s feet. Against the strong columnar shapes in warm golden browns, the nearby bushes were reduced to splotches of dusty blues and grays.
And I began to appreciate the minor gradations in color, the sometimes subtle variations in texture that are overpowered in spring and summer. This time of year, I now look at the footprints of our trees, grateful for the beauty and variety they bring in all seasons.