This photo of our partly frozen pond is never going to win any awards. It’s visually chaotic, with lines running every which way, a jumble of geometric shapes, and no clear focal point. Not to mention, my shivering hands were probably shaking when I pressed the shutter.
Nevertheless, I can’t resist looking at it. I zoom in on the details, drawn one moment by the network of slow, meandering ridges of slush, and the next by the straight, decisive tracks made by the floating sticks and twigs.
Maybe it’s the dense colour of the pond grasses that I like, and the boldness with which they rise from the water. Or perhaps it’s the quieter details, like the little concentric circles of water around the stems and tips of each blade, and the way the grasses collectively create a miniature lake of calm – empty of ice but full of reflections.
Like most photographers, I usually prefer a simple composition and a clear sense of order in my images. By contrast, this one is a jumble of light, shadows, grass, water, ice, algae and miscellaneous floating bits of debris: the complex reality of a winter afternoon in our little pond.
It seems that nature is often untidy, and every now and then I feel like simply embracing the chaos. It may not make for a “winning” photograph, but still, I can find fascination, and sometimes even beauty, in the confusion.