These first lines from the late Merle Haggard’s song embody what a lot of people feel, especially if it has been a rough year.
Though December and winter are literal times of year, they can be metaphors for our lives.
When the calendar turns to January, there is renewed hope for a better year and new opportunities to make photos the other seasons do not provide.
A friend of mine who is experiencing homelessness reminded me it is all a matter of attitude. “You have to put on your perspectacles,” he said.
There is no better time than during or after a long winter.
For photographers, winter is a magical time when nature undresses before our eyes, revealing raw shapes of twisting tree trunks and curved arms reaching upward. Light and dark contrasts are everywhere, allowing us to see figures and shapes more clearly.
Skies are bluer, landscapes whiter and fields grayer. Softer, subtler, monochromatic scenes abound. We see things summer leaves hide, such as blocked views of mountains or lakes.
Bleached winter backgrounds after a fresh snowfall are nature’s white backdrops for portraits.
There are plenty of crazy things humans do to usher in a new year: pulling a fluffy rodent out of a man-made tree stump on a frigid hillside in Pennsylvania; stripping down and leaping into icy waters in polar plunges; or joining the thousands festively packed together in New York’s Times Square to watch a ball drop.
For me, the new year is a time of reflection and thanksgiving for the gift of the past year and hope for doing it better with whatever time I have left. The longer I live, the more I learn not to assume anything, especially the days I am given.
Recently, I interviewed a veteran who was 99 years old. His hope was to celebrate his 100th birthday on December 11.
Bill died two days after I interviewed him, less than six weeks before he would have seen the century mark.
This quieter season allows me to slow down and see things uncovered, in my life and in nature.
Embrace 2023 with photographic joy. Identify places and things that happen only in January or early February, before trees and plants color the landscape.
Take a quiet, snowy walk with your camera and discover beautiful, uncluttered, still-life scenes, or attend a New Year’s tradition. Whatever you do, make a resolution to get out and make pictures.
Email your best image (just one, please) with caption information, including an explanation of how it affects you, to GPH@pur.coop. We may share submissions on our website and social media channels.