A cold crisp light | Montreal. Winter. X-Pro1.


Montreal winters aren't just cold: they tend to throw humidity into the mix as well. And that's a much different kind of cold, one that seeps in and freezes your bones to their very core no matter what you do. It's like being pushed into a pool of ice water. And when the wind joins in on the party, well...

This week is like that. Biting. I've been in the city for the past two days waiting on some test prints for an upcoming project and ended up with some hours to kill. Needless to say I haven't really felt like aimlessly roaming the streets with my camera, waiting for the shot; it's been more of a sit in a café and drink coffee kinda mood. But February is a peculiar month. It brings back a different kind of sunlight behind all that cold, a teasing warmth, as though it's trying to let us know this arctic air won't be around forever; almost hinting at spring. If you can find a sheltered spot filled with sunshine and close your eyes, you can almost imagine it, you can almost taste those warmer days ahead. When I was a kid my parents would even build a "snow fort" in the backyard around this time of year; just two big mountains of snow pushed against the house to shield us against the wind. On weekends they'd lounge in there on lawn chairs, their faces up to the sun as though they were on a beach, chilling — literally. Filling up on vitamin D. 

In a lot of ways the light at this time of year reminds me of Southern France, of Nice specifically. It's like this huge unrelenting spotlight that makes colours pop like crazy, a few hours each day. And since it stays a bit lower in the sky, it creates slightly more angular shadows than your usual awful midday sun.

I didn't spend a lot of time shooting, admittedly. Maybe 45 minutes give or take. I'm not that crazy. But I do love the colour and the crispness of these images. All shot with the X-Pro1 and 35mm f/1.4 at ISO 200, using a mix of Pro Neg Lo/Hi and Velvia simulations.