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Returning To A Familiar Place

Well it’s official… it’s winter. As I type this post a small layer of snow slowly accumulates on my lawn outside. It’s been three days now and it hasn’t left… I have a pretty good feeling that it’s here to stay. This time of year is always an interesting one for photography.

From about November onwards the most prominent colour in the landscape is brown, and most trees are left bare giving the surrounding area a rather dull/dead look. At first glance these attributes are far from attractive and used to leave me with a lack of motivation.

As I’ve grown as a photographer I’ve learned how important it is to be able to look beyond first impressions and really study the landscape. There are images everywhere and it all comes down to choosing the right elements such as light quality and composition to help compliment your subject.

Last weekend I headed out to an area not far from my home named “Torrance Barrens”. This area is a unique conservation reserve designated by the province of Ontario in 1999 as the world’s first permanent dark sky reserve. The area itself is unique compared to anything else in the region. Large rock outcrops and an abundance of plant and wildlife make this a great place to hike and photograph. On top of all this the area is extremely peaceful… every time I’ve visited I’ve either been the only one there or saw few others.

This particular morning was fairly mild and the difference in temperature over night left the land covered in thick fog. I roamed the landscape stopping at a few spots to explore the area with my camera and create some more intimate images. This was my first time out shooting since my recent trip to Hawaii and the scenery couldn’t have been anymore opposite. Soft contrast and subtle shapes and colours, compared to big bold dramatic skies and the powerful ocean.

To be honest it was a nice change and just reminded me of how much beauty there is in any location. I took advantage of the conditions and explored the area for the first four hours of the morning. This particular morning was proof that some of the best things in life are free.

The following is a collection of the images I created that morning. I hope you enjoy! 

Kyle McDougall is a landscape photographer/workshop leader based out of Ontario, Canada.  He specializes in creating fine art images that touch on both a visual and emotional level.  When not outside exploring the land you can find Kyle online sharing his images and helping others through his instructional articles.  In 2012 Kyle was chosen by Photolife Magazine as one of Canada’s Emerging Photographers.  To view more of his work please visit his website:

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