Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

The Camera Is With Me

About the same time that I decided it would be a good idea to take some "Photo Walks", I decided that it would also be a good idea to try to take a camera to work with me because you just never know when you might see something interesting on the way there or the way home. I usually treated my photo outings as discreet events not coinciding with anything else, but I am trying to make that change.

At any rate, last Friday I woke to snow coming down and had a camera with me on the way to work. I had a very early off-campus meeting I had to go to and needed to drive to my main workplace after that. By the time I got to the meeting the trees were looking quite white and beautiful (I will admit that snow looks nice, though I dislike the cold, the shoveling, and most other things that go along with it). After the meeting I decided it would be just fine to take five or ten minutes for myself in order to take some hand-held shots of the trees at the edge of the parking lot.

It is nice to have a 'real' camera with you when things start happening. 


Minimalist Tree

The nice thing about snow (and when you are me you really have to look long and hard to find anything good about it) is how it gives the landscape a minimalist look. I went shooting in the cemetery during a recent snowfall and came away with this.  It isn't the most original of photographs, but the minute I saw the scene it just called out to me.

Tree In Snow    © Howard Grill

Birches In Snow

With it having snowed last weekend, I could not ignore my very public New Year's resolution to get out in the cold and make more photographs this winter than I have in the past.  So out I went.

Birch Trees In Snow

Copyright Howard Grill

I was particularly drawn to the way the tree trees lined up and the way that the snow simplified the photograph and made it all about lines and shapes.

Ice Abstract

One of my resolutions this winter was that I was going to get out and photograph, despite the fact that I hate the cold.  And so last weekend I did, in fact, brave the cold and went out in the snow to make photographs at Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park.  The day was very dreary and overcast with thick cloud cover, so the conditions weren't particularly good for landscapes.  So rather than fight the facts, I decided to concentrate on something else.  And once I allowed myself the luxury of accepting that I wasn't going to be making landscape photos, I found that I became more receptive to seeing other things.  One of the things that grabbed my eye and that I spent time photographing was abstract cracks in the ice, which I had pre-visualized as contrasty black and white images.

Lines In The Ice

Copyright Howard Grill

Accepting Winter

OK, let me purge it from my system: I absolutely hate the winter and I hate the cold.  Every winter I ask myself how I came to live in Pittsburgh (which I actually love during all the other seasons). There, I feel better now, having got that out....and ready to move on to making some winter photographs.  Every year I struggle with getting out in the cold.  Every year I do it a couple of times.  This year I intend to do it more than a couple of times, particularly if it snows and particularly if it gets cold enough for Lake Arthur to freeze over.

To motivate myself, I am posting one of my favorite winter shots (from an admittedly small pool)!

"Icy River"

Copyright Howard Grill

Winter Wimp

I admit it... I'm a winter wimp.  Every winter I tell myself that I am going to get out to the local areas that I enjoy photographing during  the spring, summer, and fall in order to get some different images.  Most years I end up not doing it.  Why?  Because I hate the cold! I haven't gone out once this year to make photos in the snow.  As I look out of my kitchen window, there is probably 4-6 inches of snow on the ground and the thought of going out in it when I don't have to is enough to make me cringe.  I also find it distracting and hard to concentrate on photographing when I am uncomfortable.  I can't be the only one though.  I frequently go shooting on Sunday with a group of fellow photographers who decide ahead of time where to go... and we haven't ended up outdoors once in the snow.  You know who you are out there and you are just as bad as me  :>)

And yet, I do enjoy looking at beautiful winter photos.  And there is something about the covering of snow that removes distractions and adds a more graphic, clean-lined quality to an image.  Living in a location that has four distinct seasons also adds incredible variety to photographing locally as things are always changing.

And so I am using this opportunity to publicly state that I will get out at least once, if not more than that, this winter to photograph in the snow and post some winter photos.  And if I don't you can all harass me.

In the meantime, let me share a photo or two from those relatively rare times during past winters that I have managed to get myself out in the cold.  Check back, as I have a feeling that there will be some winter shots from this year coming.

In the meantime........Go Steelers!

McConnell's Mill State Park

Icy River

Copyright Howard Grill

Mellon Park, Pittsburgh, PA


Copyright Howard Grill

Snow Covered Staircase, McConnell's Mill State Park, Portersville, PA

"Walking Into Winter"

Copyright Howard Grill