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An abstract landscape photograph of an aspen leaf on the ice textures of Abraham Lake

Inimical – 2021

As winter set in on the Canadian prairies in 2020, my wife and I determined that, with all of the Covid-19 restrictions combined with our girls’ complete inability to skate, we would flood a rink in the backyard for them. I didn’t anticipate, due to warmer temperatures, the skating rink would freeze slowly, creating a lot of interesting textures in the ice. I made quite a few photographs of my rink this winter (two of my favourites can be found here and here.) but wouldn’t have guessed that those would be just the warm-up round for what I would find in the Canadian Rockies in 2021.

A chief goal for my landscape photography trip to the Canadian Rockies with a friend was to explore the aspen groves growing on the shores of Abraham Lake. In the fall, the water of Abraham Lake flooded these same aspens, leading to some incredible photographs of the area. I hoped to find a spot where the water had remained high enough that the cold winter temperatures created interesting ice around the base of these aspens. Upon arrival, it was evident after a short exploratory mission that this scene didn’t exist. The water level had dropped significantly, leaving the only ice I could find on the lake. After spending some time photographing the aspen forest, I ventured on the lake to find a composition for sunset and spotted many occasions where the wind had blown aspen leaves off the nearby trees onto the lake. It felt like I was on my back rink all over again when I made this image.

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