“The lilac branches are bowed under the weight of the flowers: blooming is hard, and the most important thing is – to bloom.”

A quote by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

Spring has always been my favourite season. Not for the mud, or the rainy skies or damp air, but because of that feeling of refreshing change. Its an annual opportunity to recommit to something old or start something new and fresh.

This past weekend we marked the first official day of spring (March 20/21) so this week’s theme was naturally “spring”.  Unfortunately however, in my part of the world, we’re having a very sleepy spring. The air is still cold with wind-chills today down in the -20s. The sun has been a welcome change however and for the couple of short hours each day where its had a chance to warm up, we’ve seen a good amount of melt happening exposing some of our forgotten yard. The trees are still deep in hibernation and the pond still has a solid (though quickly softening) layer of ice on top of it however. This has made it somewhat challenging to find too much to photograph outdoors that makes one think of spring.

Since the outdoors still feel like winter, I needed to look for spring indoors.  The bitter cold and windy days of this past winter left us house bound far too often and so about a month ago I started to get the spring itch, wanting to lighten our house and moods with thoughts of warmer weather. I went out into the yard on snowshoes and cut down several branches of our lilac trees. Lilac has always been my favourite scent and I was excited to see if I could bring these branches out of their hibernation indoors. I started a month before Easter for that very reason, they were in a deep sleep and I knew it would take some time. But low and behold, within about 2 weeks I saw the first buds appearing! They grew a little more each day until they were ready to be decorated for Easter.

My family has always decorated an Easter tree for the dining room table. Traditionally we made it with pussy willow branches however they don’t grow here in my new home-town so I combined the lilac branches with dogwood I also found on our property and it resulted in a very springy looking Easter tree if I do say so myself! Since they wont be in full scented bloom for some time yet, I paired them with a fresh white hyacinth purchased already potted at my local grocery store. Hyacinth, not unlike lilac in scent or bloom, is incredibly fragrant and filled our house with such a sweet smell. I was sad to see it start dropping it’s petals! But by the time they’re all gone, the Easter tree should be in full bloom and we can enjoy that for another while!

I had a challenging time photographing the Easter tree with my 35 mm lens. I wanted both to capture an image of the tree in full, as well as the detail of the buds blooming at the ends of the branches. However I found that either the branches seemed to disappear in the photo (being so thin), or my camera had difficulty focusing in on something as small as the buds, even on a plain background. This took some finagling to find something that would work for both images. In the end I gave up on images of the whole tree as I found this perspective below made for a stronger photograph, assisted by a bright late afternoon sun. And although a macro lens would have been better for trying to capture the detail in the fresh little bud,  with the right background I think I was able to do it justice. I played with the curves in GIMP in each of these photos to create really bright spring-like images. In the macro shot of the bud I also swayed the colour balance to increase green tones to show off the bud itself.

DSC_0658DSC_0650DSC_0066This last photo was a spontaneous one. After I came in from running the dog out in the yard I left my boots on the mat to dry (living on a dirt road with a gravel drive means a LOT of mud!). Nothing says spring quite like muddy rubber boots! For this photo I desaturated it, increased the contrast and then adjusted the curves to make it more dynamic. More dynamic in my opinion at least!


How do you recognize spring in your house?


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