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Winter Through the Eyes of a Photographer

2011 January 28

By Danny Hart

<i>Erie Canal - Photo by Danny Hart</i>

Erie Canal - Photo copyright Danny Hart (click image to see larger)

There is something magical about a cold winter morning. The crackle of snow under your boots and the crisp feel of the air as you breathe in deeply. Recently, I visited family in Upstate New York for the holidays. It has become my ritual during these trips to take a morning escape to the outdoors for a photo adventure.

The call of the outdoors runs strongly in my genetic material. Fishermen, hikers, snowmobilers, snowshoers, outdoorsmen (and women) of every ilk are we. Growing up, the New York winters were long, so we constantly found ways to embrace Mother Nature in all her glory.

Out of a cozy warm bed and into air which registered 12 degrees. I quietly stepped out from my sister’s home, and into the morning adventure. First a stop at the nearby lock of the Erie Canal, less than a mile away, to capture the rising sun shimmering off the Canal ice while 2 ducks stared with knowing grins across their beaks. It was just the ducks and I this frigid morn. Then taking my leave from my feathered friends I headed 25 minutes west to the shores of Otisco Lake.

Otisco Lake Sunrise - Photo by Danny Hart

Otisco Lake Sunrise - Photo copyright Danny Hart (click image to see larger)

To be out in the environment, and to be open to the beauty of the moment and looking with an artist’s eye is something I likely will never be able to explain with words. And it is that feeling that keeps me coming back time and again. When folks ask me about a photo I’ve taken I try to describe emotions or light or composition but realize it’s just best to let the photo do the talking. For me it’s all about the moment of connecting with the beauty all around us. Pausing…for just a moment.

So, whether you’re a photographer or not, finding time to get outdoors; even when the temperature drops lower than you’d like, is worth the effort. It’s one of the reasons my work here at EPA is so fulfilling to me. I feel each day I work to help preserve my favorite subject.

About the Author: Danny Hart has been with EPA since 2006. He’s the Associate Director of Web Communications. Danny spent eight years in the US Army as a Combat Photographer.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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26 Responses leave one →
  1. Lina-EPA permalink
    January 28, 2011

    Those are actual pictures? They look like paintings! Breathtaking!

  2. Ray permalink
    January 28, 2011

    Great Post. Let us click those pictures and see them full screen. They look worthy of exploring…

  3. dhart permalink*
    January 28, 2011

    Thanks for the suggestion Ray! I updated the post to link to larger versions.

  4. Moira permalink
    January 28, 2011

    I agree with Lina. The photos have a beautiful painterly quality. Thanks for posting them to Greenversations, Danny.

  5. Ryan Boudreaux permalink
    January 28, 2011

    Indeed, these are inspiration that even in the depths of winter there can be beauty found in any season!

  6. Don & Jane Hart permalink
    January 28, 2011

    Wow … what a great description of our area. We sometimes take the beauty for granted.

  7. Don & Jane Hart permalink
    January 28, 2011

    Great article we sometimes take the beauty of this area for granted.

  8. Joyce Worth permalink
    January 28, 2011

    OMG this has got to be heaven I love these photo’s

  9. Paulette Le Pore Mottzko permalink
    January 28, 2011

    My friend Chef Ryan Boudreaux shared your amazing pics on Facebook a moment ago and I didn’t know if they were painted or what…but they were AMAZING!

    I would love the artist behind the camera to share these photos and any others you would care to in my new feature called “Share Your Country”

    I would love to see more of these and hear the full story behind the pictures.

    I am a writer, editor, photographer & marketing consultant in Orange County, CA.

    Paulette Le Pore Motzko

  10. Alexander permalink
    January 29, 2011

    Danny Hart ! You are the great artist.

  11. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    January 30, 2011

    These are great photos. Every season and every time of day is great for picture taking because atmospherics, sun angles, cloud formations and etc. change constantly. But early in the morning around sun rise and in the afternoon around sunset and twilight seem to be best. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  12. Annette permalink
    January 30, 2011

    Amazing!!! Now people will understand that winter has more to itself than just dreadful cold!!1

  13. john smith permalink
    January 30, 2011

    seriously great blog ..
    just subscribed for rss feeds from
    google reader

  14. Kathy [the sister] permalink
    January 31, 2011

    Breath-taking pictures and great narration. Each time you come up for a visit, while we are all still asleep, you sneak out and take advantage of the early morning light. Usually we are still having our coffee when you return. I feel honored that I am one of the first to view your new masterpiece from that morning!
    By the way, right now it is 3 degrees, but the sun is brilliant on the fresh snow, and I am heading out to snowshoe. I may go down to that pretty Erie Canal or out in my own rolling hills back yard.
    Next month-St. Lucia! Hahaha.

  15. Katie Spillett-Desorbo permalink
    January 31, 2011


    I knew you were an incredibly talented photograher, but your also an incredible writer! Such talent- I could look at these all night.
    Thanks for sharing!

  16. Huahin permalink
    February 1, 2011

    The photographs in the post give us a good feeling of winter and I can recapitulate the winter season that just passed. I enjoyed the snowfall and even I saw the frozen lake. Its just really wonderful and there are no words to describe those feelings.

  17. Adriana permalink
    February 1, 2011

    I love photography and your photos especially. I also like to go outside for photo shooting session after a hard working day at my web design office. Anyway, I never get such pictures like yours…

  18. Danny Hart permalink*
    February 1, 2011

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the images…and the story. And thanks to my family for putting up with these morning excursions.

  19. Atefeh permalink
    February 2, 2011

    this are very beautiful, thanks a lot .
    please set more pictures.

  20. Jon F permalink
    February 4, 2011

    Gorgeous!!!! I have a feeling this’ll be the background for my work computer for some time!


  21. Web Design Companies permalink
    February 11, 2011

    Simply awesome. The photos are extraordinary.. I now a big fan of

  22. kate permalink
    February 17, 2011

    i think these pictures is really very beautiful.the winner is different.i like it.

  23. jkar permalink
    April 18, 2011

    I really love HDR like photos. It gives a punch to the colors on it and adds more contrast. Great post!

  24. Alejandro Garcia | Agapornis permalink
    July 11, 2011

    Great photos and also great photographer! All the pictures are so beautiful! Congratulations!

    Alejandro Garcia

  25. oxtyle permalink
    October 30, 2011

    wow…this pictures are look like someone’s perfect editing

  26. Mark permalink
    January 19, 2013

    Some lovely photos you’ve posted there. I would love to see some more. What time of day where they taken and with what equipment?

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