#1253. An Ode to the Cold

By Joseph L | Opinion

Dec 22

New contributor Joseph L writes about his love of snow and cold 🙂

When I grew up, we used to have very cold winters and fair amount of snow.

Not so any more due to climate change, but this winter was kind enough to sprinkle gentle December snow.

My hometown went through massive industrialization some thirty years ago.

Many plants that were built for manufacturing are showing the age.

Small bushes that were planted to mitigate the dreariness of the plants still survive.

I feel comforted to see the frozen white purifying the dead plants and soothing the living plants.

We are all blessed alike this morning in my town by the calm snow fall.


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  • jean pierre guaron says:

    What a fascinating post!

    Fascinating photos. Coming from a warmer climate, I’ve only ever seen snow once – in the Italian alps – and I spent the afternoon behaving like a 5-year old kid! So I love to see images like this. Humans always want what they can’t have!

    And a fascinating commentary – like some form of “prose poetry”!

    I hope it’s not too long before we see another post from you, Joseph

    • Joseph L says:

      I never get to spend enough time taking and making photographs. This is especially true during winter when it is already dark by the time I get off the work. I always take my gear to work but rarely gets to take stealthy snaps. This time though, I just could not resist the snow pics session. I got out and felt like myself looking through the viewfinder and discovering reasonable subject and geometry of the moment.
      Dearsusan provides abundance of perspectives and gentles voices, so I wanted to contribute my personal enjoyment.

      • jean pierre guaron says:

        I doubt whether I would enjoy the weather that America and Canada are experiencing at the moment. I walked out the front door yesterday, with my dog, and as I stepped onto the sidewalk my first thought was “The weather is absolutely perfect!”

  • John Wilson says:

    Joseph, welcome and an interesting and prophetic post. I live in Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada and we are currently in a deepfreeze … the coldest I’ve seen it here in over 50yrs. A couple of nights ago I had to exhume my eastern parka for the first time in 26 years to go for my evening walk; the 6F temperature was a bit much for my usual hoody and light fleecy. And we’ve had snow on the ground for nearly a week now; another unusual occurance. Usually when it snows here it’s a fairyland with all the evergreens looking like Christmas trees just begging for decoration … and all gone in a day or three. I love it when we get snow in mild weather so I can enjoy the fairyland without resorting to Arctic gear. But there’s hope; the forecast for Saturday is in the mid 30sF.

    I really like the second to last image … very nice. Do come again soon.

    • Joseph L says:

      Canadian snow must be in its own league of grandeur as opposed to a rather gentle fall here. Since I rarely find interesting subjects around, which is my own fault any way, I take comfort in making the best frame out a given scene. I rarely succeed, but I am happy if I can get a few out of a dozen. I enjoy the process bery much. Thanks for the welcome.

  • Lad Sessions says:


    Welcome to Dear Susan! I look forward to enjoying more of your images in the future.

    We don’t have any snow (so far) this winter, but we do have bitter cold (down to 2F tonight, with a windchill right now of -5F); burr. Snow is always lovely, and your images show how it transforms drab ordinariness into beauty. Thanks!

  • Claude Hurlbert says:

    Joseph, thank you for your post. Although I guess I am sometimes partial to black and white images, I am really enjoying your color photos most. The colors are nicely muted, the way colors are on cloudy, cold winter days, or sometimes in shady spots when the sun shines–behind a building or hill–the wall next to a driveway when one has finished shoveling. Yes, your photos remind me of that–of colors in the cold. Within their hues, those colors hold cues for many memories. Nicely done! Cheers!


    • Joseph L says:

      Indeed Claude. Color photos have many different purposes, but when I shoot color I wish to have toned down images with only a few competing hues. One of the earlier posts by Pascal proves how strong colors can compliment one another in amazing harmony, but I concluded long ago about myself that I am no good at catching those combinations. That is partly why I decide to convert many of my images into black and white. When colors are muted, it is no black and white but feels meditative in a different way and commands out old memory like you said. When I take out old photos 10, 20 years in the future, I want them to look just as calm and lucid like the above images even if they had not been taken during cold winter.
      Nevertheless, I strongly agree that cold winter day is a perfect opportunity to create natural vintage effect without long hours with sliders.

      Thanks for recognizing it!

  • Joseph L says:

    The ordinariness as seen by André Kertész is sort of what I aspire to and try to train my eyes for. Snow is supposed to work as extra spice. In many of my images, snow becomes the main ingredient because they lack composition. Thanks for commenting and Merry Christmas!

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