White Spring threw doors wide open,
Bursting into sudden silver flames..
I have a secret beach that is not known to everybody. Well, to put it clearly, people pass by it but a seldom passerby will actually sneak into the beach itself and walk it through.
This secret beach exists only during winter season — as soon as May, no, even April, hits, this beach disappears. All its calamity, its boldness and whiteness is gone. Its silence is swept away along with its unwelcoming winds. Another beach, sunny and noisy, takes its place filling up the whole air with laughter, cries, running-jumping-bathing children and rows of lazily spread naked bodies.
I don’t really know why, but I prefer the first beach. Even though it is unwelcoming, especially in the freezing evenings, it holds some mystery and calming solitude. And even though I do prefer sun and sunshines gently stroke my face, I feel more welcomed and in a way comfortable on my secret beach…
Just another evening I glanced in the window of my apartment and, after seeing a beautiful clear crispy sky and realizing soon-would-be-moment of the beautiful sunset, rushed over to the Woodbine beach. Would make way even further to Scarborough Bluffs, but time was clicking.
So, 10 minutes before the official sunset, I parked the car, grabbed the camera and made my way into the blueish snowy beach..
The cracked path between parking was lit by setting golden sun. Incredible views, especially with reflections in water and snow.
Well, didn’t think I would last long in such freezing cold that eats you inside out. But somehow, more out of amazement before the nature tricks, I made it:)
As soon as you step on the crispy snow, the whole city moves away from your sight and — as if from your mind. It’s like pulling a blanket over the head, same perceptions. I hear nothing – except of furious waves and hight pitch of the tiny helicopter model making round after round in the air. Those two who had the remote control, were quite persistent in making it go round after round after round above their heads. And this persistent prrr-prrr-prrr.. This just added surreal touch to the otherwise empty beach.
Empty. I made my way all the way to the beach edge, to the splashing waves which, despite their heavy sound, did not appear accordingly large or in any way profound. The lake is coloured in this dark green cover, bringing vague nostalgia of the ocean.
The striking contrast of the colours and the whole state of nature — just minutes earlier the sky was still bright and played with gentle light pink feathers…
I am sure you have your own secret beach. Secret park. Or small trail. When you pass it by next time, take a time and sneak in. Nature is beautiful no matter season, no matter winds and urban presence nearby. I recently stumbled upon narrow trail literally within a city, going for 5 km. In the beginning it did not seem at all pleasant or interesting — however, it brought me unforgettable moments and discoveries. So take a time and step inside — you never know what mysteries this place will hold up that particular moment.
Last night, whole Toronto got covered with huge sparkly and sharp ice blanket. While for some (including me) it seemed beautiful and picturesque, however, for many this turned out to be a real disaster..
one of my favourite corners of the city, with Flatiron building.
but moreover, the city sinked into heavy smog..
Christmas decorations on the streets got carefully wrapped up in blistery ice.
The trees are strikingly beautiful but unfortunately, many did not last through the heavy burden and fell down, smashing cables and near-standing cars..
Not the best day to use bikes (or cars). Smashing rain soaked newspaper in ice, too.
You can say anything you want, but there’s nothing more beautiful than black and white photograph of ice.
When looking at this landscape with naked eye, it seemed merely beautiful– but I would not imagine the ways one photograph could transform it, sewing mirage out of the city landscape and the river bridges out of the bay line.. Or maybe the ship symbolizes that mirage, desirable optical phenomenon, while the city is forcing onto us its own reality.
..It does happen so often, when we tend to confuse and blend what is the real and what is something we desire to see, doesn’t it.
I want to share with you my Singapore. Very interesting place.
Among intriguing features of the city-state what struck me most were wild macaque monkeys wandering on parking lots, ridiculously clean streets, people talking in mysterious Singlish, rich cultural trio “hindu-arabic-chinese” representing the city, business heaven aside to enormous Buddhist Temples spread all over area, nature reserves’ rain forests with myriad species, that special soft type of singaporean rain during rain season, botanical gardens full of silent practitioners of Qigong at 4am, and of course, infamous “benevolent” dictatorship (lovely word combination, isn’t it?).
Macaques. Although mainly they stay in or nearby nature reserves (images on left and below), one gets feeling that they are wandering around everywhere, even in urban area. You keep hearing their birdish-like crying even when returning to the city, I guess it is their singaporean charisma.
Most of them are occupied with the same kind of species, but some develop quite annoying and terrifying attitude towards people in desperate search for food. And no, they do not appear particularly cute and sweet once you saw their mouth full of sharp, angry, almost vampire teeth.
No, I’m not exaggerating: you know, bit off finger is not the worst they did to passers by. But, for the sake of a beautiful day and sunshine in my mind, I’m presenting only sweet photographs of them in Fauna gallery.
I think I will devote the whole separate post to photos of those macaques, too much to tell and show to fit here.
Singlish. Incredible language, basically it is English-based Creole spoken in Singapore. Every single tourist guide assured me that everybody speaks English there. No, it is not English: maybe it is based on it, but except of some basic vocabulary words, everything else is far from being related. No good lah’– sorry, no idea what you just said to me.
Obviously, nobody could understand me out there.
Botanical Gardens at 4ish am is something unforgettable. You feel morning with your lungs, the air is so fresh and silent. The same silence is kept among people who woke up that early for jog, qigong practice, or just simple meditation.
We pass by each other, we smile, say “good morning”– but almost whispering. On isolated hill stands monk and meditates flowing above the ground. Several groups of (mostly) old ladies practice qigong, hidden behind enormous bushes.
It might sound strange but these gardens were only ones to leave me actual feeing of being in Orient, of touching complete opposite side of the world.
I came just in time for startup of rain season: November-December. The rain in Singapore is very punctual, by the way. You can check your watch with the rain: every day it started at the same exact time, and stopped hour or so later. The intervals were very convenient for planning the day. My huge surprise came when on the first day I noticed that the more rain is falling, the drier I become. Because of the climate, you don’t feel that it is actual rain. It is very soft (almost silky), and has the tendency to miss you with the raindrops falling too far from each other. I do not know how else to describe this phenomenon.
Buddhist Temples. The least I saw in there was trace of religion. I saw touch of death with crematorium and several rows of tablets with photos on them, I saw devoted following of traditions, I saw simplicity and space, I saw the thin trace of history. I did not see any belief, though.
Singapore remained in my imagery as Orient collage, as a westernized society and mosaic of colours, thick humidity and forgotten history.
Today early morning I started with cross country skiing. Along the beach.
Right, I could complain about Toronto as much as I can.. but where else I can indulge myself with skiing side by side to waves smashing on the rocks? Unforgettable experience. We had snowstorm yesterday, and lucky me, I don’t have to spend all weekend swearing, trying to dig the car from the bottom of 30” snow. I’m that annoyingly smiling girl, elegantly (so I think) sliding through sparkling crispy snow.
Of course I did not take any camera with me, although view was quite spectacular to regret it at least dozen times. The trees nearby beach are all covered in white fluffy hoarfrost, rocks in the water resemble huge icicles and stalactites.
But I’m not leaving you without pictures, those are from my trip to Niagara just few days ago. Real Iceland Kingdom, kingdom of Snow Queen.
Although I went on trip all prepared, my fingers got so frozen to just be able to change iso and press shutter. i had to forget about changing lens, got stuck with 28-135mm. Ah, well, still not bad, right?
Although original pictures were beautiful enough, I couldn’t resist Lightroom temptation, to create even more magic dreamy touch. As always, the color tone I choose is highly dependent on atmosphere and feeling: blueish tones came very natural, although I tried to keep in the pictures feeling from the warmth of sunny day spent with best person:)
Up to you to decide, if I succeeded. I really need and want all your criticism, comments and encouragement to boost my photography! As they say, the knowledge and skills are great, but if one can’t share them.. what’s the point?