Birch Trees In a Spring Snow Storm

I got the chance to head out to Chickakoo Lake a couple weeks ago during a big spring snow storm. There was very little snow around at the beginning of the day, but by the end it was a few inches thick (I think Environment Canada said 10cm). This made for wonderful photo conditions and horrible driving conditions.

Birch (Paper birch around here — Betula papyrifera) trees always catch my attention. They can be so colorful or almost pure white, but they always have great contrast — light trunks and dark branches. They’re a lot less common than poplars around Edmonton, and often a forest will have a birch tree or two in it, but mainly consists of more common trees. At Chickakoo Lake the situation is almost turned around. There are still a lot of poplars around, but the birch trees outnumber them.

Birch Tree Beside Bellis Lake

Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) in front of Bellis Lake on a lovely summer evening.

The warm bright sunlight on the bark against the dark blue water caught my attention, and the cloud reflected in the water just topped it off. The hardest part of a photo like this is simplifying — getting rid of all the things that will detract from the feeling I’m trying to capture. There can be so much surrounding a scene like this. There are lots of trees crowding around, I’m standing in a grove of alders and rose bushes, the far side of the lake is just a little above the top of the frame. But I’m capturing what I love, and the surroundings almost fade away — I capture what captures me.