There is a serious gap in my negative collection.  It looks like it runs from January til, well, May.  It's not that I've lost images ... I just didn't take any.  At all.  Really.  Except for a few Lego-based toy photography shoots, I haven't used my dSLR since Christmas.

Now, while I'm slightly horrified by this discovery, I've been trying to give myself the benefit of the doubt here.  I haven't been completely un-creative this past season.  I've taken up knitting, for one.  Current achievement level:  coffee cozies.  (Perhaps not the most relevant craft for a digital photographer, but I'm finding it's a very calming and relaxing activity, and I enjoy it.)  I've worked a lot with polymer clay, building a miniature world and a whole pile of colourful monsters for a photo project that I'm just itching to start. I've got a draft re-design of my website up, and, while it certainly doesn't look as awesome as I'd like it to, it's a start.  I've designed a brand for a friend with a photography studio, and a logo for a friend who sells lovely nerdy art online.  (I'm luck to have some amazingly talented friends!)

I've *also* managed to go through my entire image library (of 13,000+ images), cull the excess, fine-tune my tagging and organization, and put together a pretty good collections of photos.  In fact, I have one more series to polish up before I am COMPLETELY caught up on my editing backlog.  And that alone feels fantastic.

Now, winter has never been a particularly inspiring season for me: the lack of colour, combined with the layers of clothing required to spend a meaningful amount of time outside are just enough to keep me curled up inside under a fuzzy blanket for as much of my time as possible, streaming the Yule Log on Netflix and reading the latest Richard Castle novel.  Winter in the big city is an even bigger challenge, as any precipitation rapidly changes from crisp and white and lovely to slushy and brown and just plain messy.  We have had a few good snowstorms this year, but the magical conditions of temperature, daylight, and timing never seemed to converge and inspire me to leave my hibernation nest.  So it really shouldn't be a big surprise that my camera remained tucked inside my camera bag for most of the season.  It, however, was a bit of a shock to see my last folder of negatives dated December of 2013.  (I am, of course, not including the images I shot while on our company cruise, because winter in the Caribbean can hardly be called winter.)

But winter is *finally* over here in my little corner of the world, and life is once again starting to sprout up out of the brown.  It's so fantastic to see buds of green peeking out of the tips of branches, and the hints of flowers yet to bloom.  On the first sunny afternoon available, I snuck out of work just a *little* bit early, grabbed my camera and went for a good long wander.

It felt wonderful.

I didn't take as many photos as I usually do.  Perhaps I'm a bit rusty, or perhaps the long slog through my collection of images so far has taught me a bit about the type of images I want to take, and how to get the shot I want the first time without having to snap 7 alternative angles.  Perhaps its a bit of both.

I'm not sure any of these images is particularly stellar or portfolio worthy, but it sure is nice to get back out there and do some shooting again!  In fact, I'd love to hear *your* thoughts:  do any of these images rate a spot in my portfolio?  Or do I need a few more warm-up rounds before the cherry blossoms show up?