Sea Blue Lens

Photo-Heart Connection: January 2014


I have been doing a 365 project since September 1, and am happy to report that I’ve been keeping up with photographing something daily to post to our Flickr group. Some days I take a lot of photos. Other days are not very inspired, and I struggle when I realize it’s bedtime and I haven’t picked up a camera all day. Should I let it go, just this once? Then I start looking around at the accoutrements of my everyday life, hoping to see with new eyes something that might make a photogenic subject. By lamplight, of course, since I dislike using flash. Some of those late-night desperation shots, to my surprise, have turned out to be among my favorites.

But all of that is really irrelevant to my Photo-Heart Connection this month, because when I looked over all my January images, the one that spoke to me was not one of my 365 photos at all. Instead, it was this one:

DSC_3890 BenchViewpoint

This image was taken on the first day of the new year. Friends from Canada had come down for a few days, and we’d driven out to try to spot some snowy owls that had been reported nearby. We were all thrilled by some good sightings of the beautiful birds, but it was wicked cold and we were glad to head back to our friends’ condo for hot coffee and tea, cookies and conversation.

I was drawn immediately to the window. I used to live in this same building, a renovated old industrial mill next to the river, and always loved the views of the rushing water and the neighboring town on the other side. But this day as I looked down, I was captivated by this view. The snow-covered ground, the fence alongside the drop to the frozen river, the small bare tree and empty bench. The black against white. It’s so clean, almost a blank slate — except for that single set of footprints. Lonely? Or merely solitary? (They are not the same, you know.) A bit of mystery, a story, whatever I choose to read into it. 

The scene outside was in stark contrast to the light and warmth within, and as I look at this photo I remember that. Through the cold heart of winter, in spite of time and distance, there’s friendship to sustain and cheer us. Under the ice, the river still flows to the sea. Under the snow, the grass merely sleeps. The seasons will turn. Where will my own footsteps take me? I’m looking forward to the rest of the story.

I’m linking to Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection for January. It seems like this month has passed in a rush, and I haven’t posted since last month’s PHC. It’s not that I haven’t thought about my blog, but rather that I haven’t felt I had much to say. I’m grateful to Kat for hosting this monthly practice that pulls me back and provides a bit of an anchor for me here.

33 thoughts on “Photo-Heart Connection: January 2014

  1. i love your words about winter…a perfect reminder that friendship can sustain us through this seemingly never ending winter!

  2. Oh, yes, the difference between lonely and solitary, between the stark cold of winter outdoors and the warmth of sustaining friendship within our hearts.


  3. You know, even though for me, snow = freezing! and I don’t like freezing cold, there is something so lovely and pristine about photos of snow. I love looking at other people’s photos. I rarely venture out into the cold willingly.

    You’re absolutely right, there is a big difference between lonely and solitary, and I see your photo as solitary, which is a very nice thing. One chooses the solitude, as evidenced by the single set of foot prints. I think even without the foot prints I would see solitary instead of lonely because of the bench.

    I think you had a lot to say in this post, and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing!

  4. The lines in this beautiful photo are wonderful. Lonely or solitude? I would pick solitude. Those could be my footsteps out there. Almost always alone with my camera, but never lonely. But, along with solitude, we do need others. Wonderful story telling both in the photo and in your words!

  5. Love this image for your PHC. There are some wonderful stories you could write about it. The simplicity is awesome.

  6. It’s nice to see your post–I’ve missed your perspective.

    Two different thoughts from me…

    “wicked” is definitely a Maine-ism, and so fun to hear you say it.

    I completely understand the difference between lonely and solitary. The first, to me, is an unwelcome circumstance; the second is a choice–one I make for myself more often than not.

  7. This is truly a beautiful photograph, love it in the appearance of black and white, emphasizing the shadows, foot prints and ice edges of the river. The view was perfect for your composition….very lovely indeed. And so nice to have companionship to enjoy the solitary weather.

  8. I love your image — so beautiful in its simplicity! Such a nice balance between the tree and the bench. “Under the ice, the river still flows” — good to remember as we wait for spring. (Actually, I’m waiting for winter!) I , too, have missed your thoughtful posts.

  9. A beautiful contemplative image I love solitude too and so many stories could be made up from that one photo…

  10. This is such a beautiful PHC. The view and your words…perfect.

  11. Lee – wondrous simplicity evoking a strong emotional response. I like to think of the footprints as solitary – someone out for a short walk to enjoy the cold and quiet – perhaps with camera in hand. Such a beautiful range of grays and whites. And the lesson that you pulled from this image – that the seasons will turn – is so lovely and thought-provoking. Perhaps you should make this particular perspective a 4-season study – the same image in spring, summer and fall to complement your winter image.

  12. There is something so captivating about this shot and as Brenda says to evoke such emotion. I loved reading your description too and chose to believe the footprints are solitary.

  13. It’s a great image, Lee. And it tells a story. The footprints leading across the image and off to the right make me wonder where that person was going, and if they hesitated at the bench. I get “solitary,” but also a sense of adventure!

  14. This is really beautiful, Lee.
    Fantastic perspective and serenity, and I love the footprints.
    Happy Sunday to you!

  15. It definitely seems to tell a story.

  16. Love the sense of solitude and endless possibility here. I can see how it speaks to your heart – :-)!

  17. Each element in their own way separate yes — the tree, the fence, the bench, the footprints — but yet all connected together…Lovely vision.

  18. Yay! The Photo-Heart Connection can be a wonderful anchor, can’t it? Allowing us to reconnect in so many ways. This image speaks volumes. The simplicity and starkness, which those solitary footsteps, seems to speak of making the choice to walk through adversity. There it is, the cold and the snow, and yet someone chose to go by themselves. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us this month.

  19. Beautifully seen! There seems to be many stories in this image… Solitary, we are all just passing through.

  20. What a beautiful and simple image evoking a story as you wish to interpret it. I love that naked tree which speaks to me of leaves to come!

  21. Gorgeous image! So simple and so beautiful. A lovely photo-heart connection.

  22. Beautiful image! Love how white the snow is & how simple the scene

  23. I love the high perspective you gave on this image.

  24. A blank canvas! I would have chosen this one too as my picture for PHC. I love the abstract nature of it, the tones of the black-and-white ‘scale’. This is a beautiful image!

  25. Sent from my iPad

  26. Beautiful image. I love the feeling of solitude I get from the image as well and the lines…oh how fabulous! The line of foot prints in the snow is priceless. Perfectly done.

  27. I can easily understand that this photo made it for January! The simplicity is stunning and says so much about winter. Good choice!!!

  28. Love the photo and this was such a nice piece to read…as always.

  29. wonderful evocation of winter

  30. Utterly lovely! There is a timeless beauty here.

  31. Gorgeous photo-heart connection, amazing photo, it tells a whole story about winter, I simply love those footprints… and also your words, I can imagine you behind the window while taking a photo of this beautiful view

  32. Gorgeous image and your words are so evocative. Love the lines and that solitary set of footprints. Just beautiful.

  33. Love the view from the warmth of inside. Simplicity evokes the mood of winter in cover.

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