This Grey World

A photo essay on the muted hues of winter

By Holly McKelvey, Photographs by Daniela Martínez Medina and Holly McKelvey

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As the days fade into winter, colors strip away to leave an icy simplicity of whites and greys. We lose the rich greens of summer, the striking reds of autumn; the world shifts into a muted monochromaticity of greys.

From this candor, patterns emerge; our scientist's eyes are trained to discover stories in the world around us, and the simple lines and contours in this grey world paint pictures for us who look.

The shape of a beak delineates a bird's ability to forage; an elegant curve sketches out the golden ratio of plants and crystals. Branches across the grey sky have the probing intricacy of roots; and pale white leaves leave us breathless.

This is the beauty and the simplicity of the winter palette, in the eye of a scientist.

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Dani is a Colombian biologist and bat-lover, pursuing a Masters in Applied Ecology at the University of Poitiers, France. She loves to find hidden details in the world around her through her camera lens, and her jokes in English are just as funny as her jokes in Spanish. Reach her at



Holly is a graduate student in Applied Ecology at the Université de Poitiers, France, working on bio-indicators in stream ecology. She can be reached at 

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