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  • Writer's pictureEsther Van Halteren Art

Spring is here!

March 2024

Excitement is in the air as thousands of birds have arrived back into our area. My intention is to have more awareness of the subjects of my paintings. It is partly science, partly beauty, and partly mystery.

I keep what I call a nature journal, of the places that I visit to hike and to photograph things that catch my eye, keeping track of the birds, animals, plants, temperature, and the days conditions. I have seen the most birds and animals over the last year by doing hikes. I have been keeping the journal for almost 20 years.

Photographing mostly nature since I was a child. I wish that I knew at what age I was when I first bought a camera or how I had developed the interest. It probably began from watching my mother take pictures, but since it was unconscious, I don’t know. Over the years I have had different cameras as the technology changed. I had mail service where I would put the film into the mailbox at the end of our lane and then I received back an envelop of pictures. Things have really changed.

I enjoy how photography technology has changed away from film. My interest wasn’t in developing a film, it was in the camera’s process, the slowing down enough to see a subject and then capturing it as best as I can, then to use the images for my paintings. Really getting to know my subjects.

My camera has been busy over the last year and I have hiked at least 15 hours a week in the last month. Nature is so good for the soul. The quietness, being alone with God, and watching everything come alive feeds me.

This has been one of my best winters yet! I have been intentional about getting out when I could into nature, in all types of weather. Investing in a variety of clothing and metal spikes for my boots has enabled me to enjoy my hikes with confidence as the trails froze over many times. I have watched the ice form onto the lake and then to disappear several times.

Always having black oiled sunflower seeds with me, enables me to hand feed the chickadees. They see me and start getting closer, landing on me and my camera equipment which makes me smile. By embracing winter photography, it has made this winter enjoyable, something that I could not have said in years.

Winter is fighting to stay as spring makes its yearly debut. Ducks, geese, robins, grackles, redwing black birds, swans, are among some of the birds that are back so far. Hikes into the next couple of months will enable me to witness and to document the arrival of many song birds as the insects come back. Trilliums, jack-in-the- pulpit, violets, and many other flowers will take their turns. Try getting out to enjoy nature you will not regret it!

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