Posts Tagged ‘still life’

How do you convey a sense of the winter season? Do you take wide-angle shots of snow-covered mountain peaks? Do you show vast fields or forests or frozen ponds, all blanketed in white?

I didn’t really have a plan when I set out for a walk in my neighborhood after a recent storm that dumped over six inches of snow (about 15 cm) on us. The sun was shining and the snow was beautiful, though it was windy and cold. I walked for a while, taking in this uncommon view of the common scenery (we don’t get snow very often in Northern Virginia), when I caught sight of some motion out of the corner of my eye—an oak leaf was dancing across the surface of the powdery snow.

When the leaf came to rest, I hurried toward it, wanting to capture the simple beauty of this winter still life that conveyed to me a sense of the winter season.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Autumn is my favorite time of the year, a time when bright spots of spring-like color co-exist with the fading fall colors, a foretaste of the bleak winter landscape to come. Areas of my local marsh are dotted in bright red right now, the berries of a plant that I have been told is Winterberry (Ilex verticillata).

I’ve traipsed through lots of museums in my lifetime and seen innumerable paintings in which artists have arranged fruits and flowers and other objects into paintings that are generally known as “still life paintings.” I had those paintings in mind when I framed this shot in my viewfinder, attempting to capture a pleasing composition of colors and shapes. It’s rare that I don’t crop an image at all, but I decided to show this one composed just as it came out of the camera.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The tall plants in the marsh have withered and faded, but they are still standing, defiantly displaying their interesting shapes and textures against a snow-covered backdrop. Two pods are standing together and one is apart, three others are bent over in the center. The bits of orange add a touch of color and the silken strands to the left add a different texture. In a few months, brighter colors will return, but for now this serves as a reminder that there is still life in the winter.


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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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