Photo © Ian Coristine/
 You are here:  Back Issues      Archive

Awakening - Spring in the Thousand Islands

For most of my life, I experienced the Thousand Islands only during the summer months. Many of my earliest and fondest memories are of long, warm days spent swimming and boating, or simply relaxing by the River followed by the evening campfire. It wasn’t until the last dozen years after my wife and I moved back to Syracuse that I have had the opportunity to visit as often as I would like in all seasons. It has afforded me a new-found appreciation for the beauty and splendor of a place more dear to me than any other.TrilliumOtter Creek

As an artist, I have enjoyed exploring the photographic possibilities of this region throughout the year. Every season brings something unique to the table, a certain look or quality that defines it and makes it special. The deep green shades of the islands, in summer, become adorned with orange and yellow highlights in autumn.

In winter, the River and islands take on a stark quality that is as at once, as alien from and yet beautiful as the fairer months. In spring, life returns to the River, as the last of the winter ice departs, and the islands explode in hues of emerald green and yellow.


Spring has become my favorite season on the River. It is a season of transition, resembling the dead of winter, at the outset, and ending in a flourish of summer. The islands are never more beautiful than during the unfurling of spring foliage.

In May the fresh buds of the oaks, beech, maple, and ash, create a tapestry of color that, for a brief period rivals that of autumn. Explore the woods and you may find pockets of trillium blanketing the forest floor. Come June, the islands and River begin to resemble summer in certain ways, with one notable exception: the lack of people. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the islands, in all their beauty in peace and solitude, before the summer residents and tourists return. Moreover, and perhaps best of all, spring brings with it the promise of the long, warm days of summer ahead.


“April Joy”
Photo by Chris Murray ©2018



“Daybreak on the River”
Photo by Chris Murray ©2018


“Morning Calm”
Photo by Chris Murray ©2018


“Eel Bay Sunset”
Photo by Chris Murray ©2018


“Through the Veil”
Photo by Chris Murray ©2018




“Spring Forest”

Photo by Chris Murray ©2018


“Spring on Grindstone”
Photo by Chris Murray ©2018


“In Bloom”
Photo by Chris Murray ©2018

By Chris Murray

Chris Murray is a full-time artist from New York State. His work has appeared in several magazines including Popular Photography, Shutterbug, Adirondack Life, Life in the Finger Lakes, and New York State Conservationist, among others. In photography his goal is to make images that are not a literal document of the woods, mountains, and rivers of his home state, but rather a creative expression of his relationship with the places that ceaselessly inspire him.

Chris Murray resides with his wife Jessica and three cats in Syracuse, NY. You can find him online at

Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Frank King
Comment by: Frank King
Left at: 8:24 PM Wednesday, March 14, 2018
One word will suffice: YOWZA. :-)
Comment by: Dan
Left at: 8:35 PM Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Beautiful Chris, you capture so much of the natural beauty that is so often overlooked in the Islands...from the pink granite and pine needle laden forest floors to the ever changing moods of the river. We can't wait to return!
Katy Thomas
Comment by: Katy Thomas
Left at: 7:12 AM Thursday, March 15, 2018
Thank you, Chris, for the beautiful photographs of my favorite season of the year. Spring is a reminder of new beginnings, renewal, hope and promise. From the first sight of beautiful bloodroot, crocuses, hellebores, daffodils and primrose I am drawn to my gardens and walks in the woods every day to see what delight awaits my senses. I am energized by the beauty and variety of creation, and grateful to be able to enjoy it.

I have traveled to see many beautiful parts of the world, but I am always drawn back to home on the River.
Comment by: Bill
Left at: 6:31 AM Saturday, March 17, 2018
These photos really give me a deeper appreciation for springtime. I usually relate spring with "mud season", but it is obviously so much richer than that!
Chris Murray
Comment by: Chris Murray
Left at: 4:39 AM Sunday, March 18, 2018
Thank you, Katy, I'm happy you enjoyed the article and images. There is no place like the River.