“You get the same thrill with any negative; with art, as someone once said, most of what you have to do is show up. The hardest part is setting the camera on the tripod, or making the decision to bring the camera out of the car, or just raising the camera to your face, believing, by those actions, that whatever you find before you, whatever you find there, is going to be good.” –Sally Mann, Hold Still

I know I’m not alone when I say that winter can take a toll on my motivation. There’s so little of that gorgeous golden sunlight we photographers love so much, and I just want to make a never-ending pot of tea and hibernate under mounds of blankets.

But I am getting better at winter! Little by little, I’m finding ways to embrace and enjoy the season more. This often includes taking part in special winter photo challenges and creating my own photography projects.

A few winters ago, I was inspired by Sally Mann’s memoir ‘Hold Still’, to switch my camera to monochrome and explore familiar spaces. Without color, the photos became focused on the light and the way it bounced off of things and created contrast. Everything had new life. Faucets, doorknobs, and kitchen utensils now had “moods”.

It’s a small project I can do to flex my creative muscles, even when I don’t want to go outside, or if I’m feeling under the weather. It’s purely for myself and my own enjoyment, and it reminds me that the light is still there. It may not be glowing, warm and golden, but it is there. Right alongside the shadows.

I’ve also found that my cat is a great subject for black and white photography. He has long, shaggy light tan fur and naps in interesting positions, often on our black couch, which makes for great contrast. Here’s one of my favorite black and white shots of my big sleepy cat:


Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas,

and may you find light wherever there are shadows.