Uniform Backdrops: Winter Whites

A good winter day, or even a bland rainy one stark with cloud, always gives whatever I’m photographing such a stark, clean backdrop, as if I were photographing in-studio somewhere! I love the effect it has on architecture and urban life, and this collection certainly shows that.

In fact, many of these photos, with the exception of the green, wintery traffic sign below (taken on my way home to the parents’ place for Christmas), were taken right within the vicinity of downtown Edmonton, albeit on many different days.

Vegreville Exit, Alberta, Canada (2019)

The photo above has a bit of a blur to it–a happy accident of being in a car and taking a photo through a winter-swept windshield.

Victoria Promenade, Edmonton, Canada (2020)
Victoria Promenade, Edmonton, Canada (2020)

In the very early morning one August day, a little fiesty after being cooped up too long inside the house, I went out before the sun had come all the way above the horizon–not that it would matter much when it did! The sky was a uniform grey, which made this stark fountain-sculpture at the end of Victoria Promenade all the more outstanding to my eye. After so many years of walking by it, it was actually these photos that showed me there was any turquoise in the sculpture at all!

Downtown Edmonton, Alberta, CA (2019)

This was the morning after that winter’s first big snowfall, and knowing that I needed to get out and about, I was pleased to find a bit of mild vandalism–it certainly gave me a laugh, my breath fogging in the air all around! I loved the contrast of the deep red and turquoise against that same white sky, and was super glad to have the camera attached at my hip!

Edmonton Park, Alberta, Canada (2020)

On the morning of one of the most spectacular sunrises I’d managed to capture to date, the sky turned a soft and bland blue-grey. And though I’d always been tempted to take a photo of this basketball hoop, I’d always felt it would be a little too cliche! Still, during my stroll across the park behind Edmonton’s 124th Street, I noticed that in the light of the recent George Floyd and BLM protests, that someone had tagged it. At last, the photo above was taken. (You can even get it as a cool print here).

A Tale of Two Bridges, Edmonton, Canada (2020)

I waited for this one. I knew I wanted the cross section of the blue against the brown against the blank, but then there was this tiny human person walking along and I KNOW they saw me waiting down below but I waited for them to be centre-shot all the same. That being said, it’s shots like this that make me wish I had more than one lens–a phrase I never thought I would say!

Edmonton Backalley, Canada (2020)

On an entirely different cool morning, deciding to go and see the new library downtown once and for all, I cut through a back alley that led me to see this colour match! I just had to capture it, and when I looked back, those birdies were an added treat to the whole endeavour. I remember thinking I probably shouldn’t have my camera out in the cold, but the day called and I just had to answer!

Downtown Edmonton Intersection, Canada (2020)

A little grainy due to the size, but I’m still and always learning. For one thing, when I go back and edit some of these photos afterward, I’ve learned now to down the sharpness of the pictures to make sure the wires and lines look smooth as opposed to pixellated like the above. Regardless, the mix of the yellow traffic light and (my favourite photography subject) a big orange crane stopped me for a snap, even though the crossing light was in my favour! I’m sure I got a few looks, but at this point, I’m learning that I don’t really mind so much.

Downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (2020)

Even though nowadays I’m finding myself more prone to photographing colour POPs, these muted tones pulled me especially that day. And as you can see from many of my photos, I don’t mind showing that my perspective is from the below–that almost everything is taller than me. I also don’t mind capturing things outside of their whole. It keeps things a little exciting, and I think emphasizes my perspective a bit more.

Anyhow–hope you enjoyed this series of grey/ white skies, and are inspired to try your and at a series of your own in this style. I’ve noticed that my audiences on Instagram don’t love the plain greys and white-backdrops as much as my more colourful work, but that won’t stop me!

Published by Jessica Barratt

Writer, Photographer, Academic | Founder of JB Editing, wordsofhers.com, and thosepicturesshetook.ca

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