The Fog Of Winter

Posted: 16th November 2012 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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The screams of delight from the children at Halloween are still ringing in our ears as fall gives way to winter.  Fresh thoughts of goblins, witches, fairy princesses and other such creatures remain in our imagination as the first winter frost descends upon the valley.  It’s time to put summer and fall behind us and embrace the beauty that unfolds in front of us as the new season arrives.  Each season brings with it a fresh landscape to enjoy, new details to take in.  A place that looks one way in the height of summer takes on a whole different look with a dusting of frost and snow.

Cowichan Valley Farm - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley Farm – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

This is personally one of my favorite photographs I have ever taken.  I pass this magical place twice every day on my commute to-and-from work, and each time the scene as presented takes on a character of its own.  The last few weeks as I have been driving by, the conditions have slowly been changing with a heavy fog settled on the valley floor and on days where the skies are clear in the mornings, we sometimes get frost.  Finally the scene’s beckoning became a cacophony in my head and I was no longer able to sit still; I got up with Mrs. Toad at the crack of dawn and headed out to capture that elusive shot.

Pay dirt.

There were indeed some clouds lingering over the horizon this frigid morning as I stood on the side of the highway with my tripod extended and my breath cracking the frosty air.  Yet still, the sun was gently bathing the valley in wonderful tones and hues, and at the moment I was ready to press the shutter it gently graced the facade of the red barn, producing a sense that the barn was welcoming in the day.  The finishing touches were found in the placid shadows that cloak the valley floor from the large evergreens that stand proud and tall.

Cowichan Valley Farm - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley Farm – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

A few hundred feet down the road and turning to my left to face the rising sun, we see the stark harbinger of winter making its presence known in the brooding clouds that linger in the morning sky, casting dark shade onto the landscape below.  The frost brightens the vista, and a gentle veil of fog hangs just above the ground as if it’s trying to insulate the earth below it.  Some days this time of year the fog is so dense you can’t see more than a few hundred yards, other days it adds soft character.

Cowichan Valley Farm - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley Farm – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

As we make our way around the bend to be near a tiny lake sedentarily standing sentry on the outskirts of the large farm, the fog that lies on the water creates a sense of peace and loneliness.  The mountains beckon us in the backdrop, but at this time of year it definitely is colder the higher you go, so it’s much more comfortable to witness the beauty from this spot.

Cowichan Valley Farm - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley Farm – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Although the lake is small, we see a home peering out from behind the barren trees that only a few weeks ago adorned the countryside in vibrant colors and tones.  The fog seems to hide some mystery, some secret, deep in its heart.  Yet, we’re not afraid.  Change is inevitable, change can be good.  Change is relentless.

Cowichan Valley Farm - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley Farm – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

As we look back at the farm from this vantage point, the grey tones from the skies give way to a touch of color.  In the distance we see the vibrant colors of a new red barn, a haven to all the creatures that call this glorious place home.  The reflections of the farm in the still waters serve as a metaphor, a mirroring of the life we live back to us.  This is our sanctuary, this is our peaceful place while the world hurries on around us completely unaware of the obvious beauty that lies just beyond the windshield of a fast-moving car on the highway.

We try to engage the world we live in daily, to be thankful for the natural beauty and wonderful gifts that we find ourselves surrounded by.  Never taking it for granted, the constantly evolving landscape forms part of our hearts and souls, and is something that seems to change almost every day, revealing more secrets as time passes.

It’s all around us, my friends, all we need to do is reach out to touch it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to pop by for a visit today, we really appreciate it.  We truly do love to hear from all our visitors and would like to encourage you to leave us any comments you may have.  Until next time, cheers from the Toads!




  1. Awesome post Toad. One day I would truly love to visit BC and meet up for a shoot. What could be better awesome scenery and awesome friends in one spot with one purpose.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Even the mere thought of that makes my ENTIRE day, Chris! That would be so fabulous! You’ve become one of our very best friends here, and one day the stars will align and we will come together, I just know it. Best wishes to you and your family, and many heartfelt thanks for your kind thoughts today, good sir!

  2. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . magical misty memories!!! . . . simply FABULOUS!!!!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      How can we even begin to thank you for all your friendship and support? It means so very much to us!!! Thank you, my dear friend!

  3. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    Such a lovely presentation Toad! Beautiful images, and engaging post my friend! What a wonderful area you are privy too! :))

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      The only way that this scenery could possibly be more beautiful is if Mrs. Toad and I were able to share it with you, in person, my dear friend! One day, one day, we shall all get together and share stories and photos. Best wishes, Rachel, thank you so much and have a great weekend there!

  4. avatar Wayne Frost says:

    I really like your capture of the red barn in the first image in this set. Perfect balance.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That’s my favorite, too, Wayne, thanks. It sure is awesome to see you around The Hollow here today, thanks for your visit!

  5. What a beautiful set of images Toad! Such familiar places and you do an amazing job of capturing their true essence in your images. I love that bit of mist just on top of the water. Gorgeous!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much Anne! We’re honored and humbled to read your comments here this morning and we really appreciate you taking the time to both visit and leave us your thoughts!

  6. Awesome shots! Particularly the lake views. I have yet to make even a half decent fog image, what a great find and payoff to your hard work. (Avoidance of early morning wakeups are probably what has limited my success for a good fog image so far..)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I’m not going to lie, Howard, it was VERY difficult to get my green, warty hide out there that morning!!! The bed looked so warm and inviting… and frost-free… but the echoes of the fog were ringing in my ears so I was compelled!! 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind visit today, my good friend, all your friendship and support here means so much!

  7. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Awesome images! Some of your best work! Love the low lying fog!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much! We’re humbled here this morning to read your comments, Rick, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

  8. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Great post Toad. These are magnificent landscapes. I love the reflections in the last 3 images and the way the mist hugs the land. Just wonderful my friend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so very kindly, Edith! We just can’t properly express how much all your friendship and support really means to us here. You never fail to make us feel good about our work, and we really owe you a lot for that. Thank you, our dear friend.

  9. What a splendid and generous gift you have shared with these stunning images and your heartfelt commentary. I will return to these again and again…Thank you.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Your comments today made our entire day, Sherry. How incredibly kind of you, my dear friend! It is us who really needs to thank you, for it’s your support, friendship and encouragement that keeps us moving forward with our work. We sincerely owe you a huge debt of gratitude, my friend.

  10. avatar LensScaper says:

    That’s a beautiful piece of writing, Toad, to match these gentle landscapes. We do so often take our planet and our landscape for granted. Truth is we are often too busy to stand still long enough to soak up what is before our eyes. I am a true believer that photography aids one’s appreciation of what is around us and enables us to see an capture what so many others pass by without a second glance. A truly great post, Toad

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You know, Andy, these are my exact sentiments about photography. I find since we’ve embarked on this adventure, our horizons have opened 1000% and into things we would never have really considered before. This “opening of the eyes” gives us a great gift to enjoy all that we find ourselves surrounded by. And from there, we are blessed with the ability to share it with everyone here. It’s truly a special thing.

      Thank you so, so much for taking the time to pop by and see us today, and for leaving these truly terrific comments, Andy! You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.

  11. For me initially the lake scene (#3) was a clear high point from this shoot. I’ve looked at the photographs over the past few days and there are no longer favourites. Each image has its own topnotch status. We all agree nr 1 is good, nr 2 with its show of expanse and the nice tonal values in the field i like, etc. The light, low and beautiful in color, ties these images together and gives an ethereal feel to each one of these photographs.Great show!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Wow, Joseph, we are humbled and honored today by your awesome comments here! Thank you so much, truly from the bottoms of our hearts. It just means so much to us coming from you, my good friend.

  12. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    I have always admired your posts with all of the great prose and images Toad. These images are some of your best. You absolutely knocked it out of the park.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Gosh, Len, receiving these comments from you really means so much more than we can properly express. We’re so happy that you found our post here and that is resonated with you on a personal level like it did. We cannot thank you enough for both taking the time to visit, and for leaving these incredible thoughts for everyone to enjoy.

  13. avatar Jim Nix says:

    these are great Toad, such lovely calm scenes, wonderful work!

  14. Absolutely gorgeous set of images, Toad! I’ve passed that place many times and thought it to be quite lovely, but I’ve never stopped and photographed it. You’ve elevated it from “just” beautiful, to extraordinarily so – well done, and thank you!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      That just means so very much to us, Laurie, thank you! It’s always great to share these pictures and stories with local folks who have some personal context to the landscapes like this. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us today and for leaving your personal thoughts! We really appreciate it.

  15. All that cold!! brrrrrrrr!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      🙂 Thanks Derrick! Yep, my good friend, it was a tad bit on the chilly side that mornin’, no doubt about it. LOL Thanks for popping by to see us today, that really means a lot!

  16. avatar ehpem says:

    Wonderful post here Toad. I love the skies in all of them, and the water in the lower ones is really nice. You have done a great job with these, as usual!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Very, very, very kind of you my good friend, thanks so much! We really appreciate all your friendship and support!

  17. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Outstanding images, Toad. You always assemble these post so nicely. Excellent work, my friend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much, Jimi! You, sir, are a true scholar and a gentleman, and we sure do appreciate all the kind support you’ve shown us! Best wishes for your weekend, my friend!

  18. avatar bharat says:

    Nice encouraging evoking lends cap.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Many thanks for your kind visit today, and for taking the time to leave us your comments! We really appreciate it, and hope to see you here at The Hollow again!

  19. Great series Toad, beautiful

  20. avatar Randy Hall says:

    I know exactly what you mean about this spot. I’ve always thought I needed to stop and take some photos as well. Finally, last Thanksgiving, it got the best of me and I stopped at the lake to capture some autumn colours. You’ve definitely captured the scene at a great time of year. Well done.