© 2018 by Rachael Taylor.
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Winter: January to March 2018

The first three months of this project were largely unformed and reactive. I shot what caught my eye and tried to give a flavour of each day. In addition, while I was walking, I kept a mini journal on my phone which I intended to use as the base for each day’s blog post.

Looking back (it is now July), I am astonished at how calm the photos are when compared to my daily life dealing with the pain of mum’s diagnosis and my autistic son’s bouts of severe depression. Perhaps it isn’t so surprising, my daily walks were my headspace, my escape. There was, and is, always beauty to be found if you look.

Weatherwise, it was a mixed bag - the usual winter frosts and windy rain but this year we also had a period of very heavy snow, thanks to a storm named “The Beast from the East”. It was the first serious snow since we’ve moved to Fife (Jan 2015) and the most severe period of winter weather I have seen since the bad snow in 2010. It didn’t last as long though, only 3 or 4 days, but it was bad enough to bring Scotland to a standstill, causing bread and milk shortages. The snow altered the forest profoundly as you’d expect. It was beautiful but heartless and harsh. My most vivid memory (although oddly, I didn’t photograph it) is of finding the tiny, frozen body of a wren who had just dropped out of a tree. I know this wee bird will not have been the only one.

Photographically, it was a time of change for me. I had upgraded my elderly but beloved Sony a6000 to an a6300 in November. It’s fair to say though that my new Sony and I just didn’t get on. I felt that it wasn’t sharp and it got to the stage that I just didn’t trust it at all. Eventually, I decided to try and sell it and I invested in a Fuji X-T20 instead. And oh my goodness, I LOVE it! It was just so unfortunate that the most gorgeous morning so far (8 March) occured when I was between cameras. My phone camera is alright, in fact it is pretty good, but it wasn’t good enough to capture this morning. See the final photograph of the gallery.

Also, I think I probably have to explain the deer photograph. It is not technically great shot, it’s not a great shot at all. It is there as a promise and a challenge. I need to nail it before the end of the year.

So here are a few highlights of the first three months, along with my notes for some of the days. You can see all the photographs on the main project page.

20 February 2018

Bright, clear and cold though the sun is warm. Moe is bounding ahead, delighted to be in the wild and exercising, a young animal in her prime. There is water everywhere, not the drenching cold of rain but the sparkling of diamonds on the tips of the leaves. The birds are singing and it feels like spring is just around the corner.


7am. The cold is bone deep but its still and dry and oh so pretty. The air is sweet, the birds still singing and there's mist rising from the frozen ground. It will be absolutely stunning in about half an hour. Sadly I have no time to stay this morning.


Cold. So cold that My nose hurts and my fingers are agony. It looked cloudy in the house and I nearly didn't take my gloves and hat. I'm glad I did!


Mid afternoon this time. Warm and sunny although the breeze is cool. Rugby in my headphones (Wales by Ireland, 6 nations). A happy afternoon. Strong smell of manure through, thanks farmers!


Today is all about the cold. - 3,feels like - 17. 3 inches of snow and an Amber warning for more over the next few days. My fingers are freezing typing this. Sun is out at the moment though and the light is beautiful.

1st March

Red warning in place. Not much snow, I've seen worse but its windy and therefore drifting. The wind chill is bitter. Today's walk is a slog. Snow is heavy enough that I am floundering through it a bit and my feet are so sore. Must contact orthotics


Snow is melting slowly and I am warm! Just have my jacket, hoody and t-shirt. I'm so tired though I am practically sleepwalking.


Snow is gone, except for patches here and there. Its a beautiful spring morning, light and bright but with a cool breeze. Shame i am headachy, tired and agitated. (last day of radiotherapy thank goodness!)


It's so utterly still.


For the 1st time in weeks I've put her in the car and gone to Heatherhall Woods. And it's anything but quiet. It's.cold, wet, muddy and the wind is roaring!


Still wild and windy, now accompanied by hard, bitty, snow.


What a difference a week makes! In South Annsmuir as usual. The sun is shining and my thin jacket is tied around my waist because it is a beautiful temperature: cool but not cold; warm but not hot and no wind. The birds are singing and the woodpecker is pecking, it feels like spring.