Light Show

I mentioned in my previous post the trip I took last spring.  As I was looking through those images I was reminded of an evening my buddy and I spent on Max Patch, just barely into North Carolina.  We had quite the light show – this is looking back into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The wind was pretty strong so holding the camera/tripod steady was a little challenging, but WELL worth the effort.

Smokies Light Show

Sharing…

So presumably when it’s been this long since your last post, you needn’t bother with apologies or excuses or other irrelevant musings….so I’ll jump straight to a couple of images!

 

This image was taken on the same day as those of the previous post – I love how minimalist it feels.  I almost stepped on this leaf – which would have kinda ruined the image!

Beech Leaf ~ Snow

Not sure the subtle colors will all come through, but you get the idea.

Then this spring I went on a photo trip to the Smokies and Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and North Carolina.  While hiking to a waterfall I found this lovely little cascade with moss covered rocks leading up to it.  I thought the setting and colors were really nice….

Moss~Rocks~Cascade

I have had a few other interesting photography “happenings” this year – hopefully I’ll find some time to post a few images that are a bit different for me!

Turkey Run…Frozen

It looks like Indiana is finally going to get a break from the cold weather we have been having for weeks (though I must say I’ve rather enjoyed the snow as long as travel wasn’t required).  I decided to head out to Turkey Run state park this past weekend knowing that any snow and ice features will likely be gone within the next few days, or at least drastically diminished.  It was really lovely to see the park with snow and ice all around…especially at a balmy -4 degrees F when I hit the trail.  Sugar Creek was lovely in the snow and ice, and partially frozen over.  Anyone familiar with the park will recognize this vantage point from the suspension bridge, though a half frozen creek is fairly unusual.

Sugar Creek Winter Morning

 

However, what I was really interested in were the cliffs in the park and any ice formations that might be present.  I found a large ice pillar in Gypsy Gulch, which I was optimistic might be there.  It was pretty impressive.  As I wandered around it thinking about different angles or compositions, I walked completely behind the pillar and noticed the light glowing through it with these gorgeous soft colors.  It looked like an abstract painting…which is pretty much right up my photographic alley.  So I took several images…hope you enjoy.  The weather forecast is calling for temps above freezing for the first time in weeks, so this view won’t last long.  Glad I got out there in time!

 

Ice Pillar Detail

The Polar Vortex…

Just like millions of other folks, we got hit with the snow/wind/cold triple whammy from the polar vortex earlier this month.  (For those from Indiana who recall this, I think the Polar Vortex of 2014 will be remembered the same way the Blizzard of ’78 is.)  Anyway, while the wind and snow were enough to shut down school for a full week, the results in some places were really lovely.  This was the result of the wind-blown snow accumulating behind our house.  For those who like their landscape/nature photography somewhat abstract!

Snow Abstract

Winter on the Beach…Part 2

Not sure this is dramatic enough for a “Part 2″, but since it is a separate but related entry you’ll just have to bear with me…

“Part 1″ is immediately below this post, if you care to take a look.

New Year’s Day I went back to the Indiana Dunes State Park and as I usually do, I went to the shoreline first.  I was amazed to see how different the shoreline looked – a huge stretch of ice that looked pretty solid the night before had completely broken up and was basically open water with ice floating in it.  And the snow that came in the night before had basically covered all the chunks of ice/sand I had photographed the night before.  Here is a shot that shows how different everything looked – compare to the final shot in the previous post with the ice mound in the foreground.

Lake Michigan Cold

You can easily see how different the ice looks.  Even though the temps were in the middle teens all night, much of the ice broke up during the night.

I think decided to hike some of the trails in the park that go through the forest that is just inland from the lakeshore.  It was really beautiful to see the trees covered in snow…

Dunes Forest ~ Snow

All in all, a wonderful day and a half of photography that was a great way to start 2014.  I will leave you with a final image I took on Dec 31 as I was leaving the beach – couldn’t resist this combination of sand and snow.

Snow and Sand abstract 2

Winter on the Beach

Yes, I know.  The beach is generally associated with warm sun and sand, beautiful blue water, yada yada yada, especially for those in colder climates who wish for a break from the winter weather.  The beach as a cold weather destination is not generally what folks are looking for.

Obviously I don’t fall into the category of “folks”!!

I decided to ring in the New Year for 2014 by traveling to one of my favorite areas, the Indiana Dunes along Lake Michigan (the few people who follow this blog have seen images from there several times already).  I was hoping for some interesting photo opportunities given the cold weather we have had in the Midwest the last few weeks.

I arrived in the area midday on Dec 31 and went to the West Beach area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  I found exactly the kind of interesting “lakescape” I was looking for (did I just invent a word?  probably not).  There was a lot of ice floating on the lake and just enough snow on the beach to provide interesting abstract patterns.  This is one of the first images I took…

Sand and Snow abstract 1

Unfortunately I got there as a system was moving in and the clouds were covering the area quickly.  I took a few quick shots of the beach with a bit of blue sky showing…but didn’t have time to work this as much as I would have liked.  Here is the best of the group, though not my favorite…

Lake MI ice field

As the clouds moved in, I took a couple more shots with the intent of converting to black and white.  Something like this!

Lake MI ice field monochome

After taking this shot I had lunch and got myself settled into my hotel room.  I drove over to the Indiana Dunes state park and wandered out to the beach there, which looked surprisingly different.  First, there was little to no open water to be seen (note in the images above the darker areas just below the horizon are open-ish water).  Second, as I arrived it started snowing, and the blowing snow mostly obscured the horizon.  Finally, there were large chunks of ice mixed with sand along a couple sections of the shoreline that formed some interesting “features” along that beach that you don’t normally see.  Which led to several photographs similar to this one…

Frozen Lake Michigan ~ Frozen Sand

Yes, that really is a mix of sand and snow and ice that has formed and then somehow broken into large chunks.  I’d love to see how that happens some time…but for this trip I just enjoyed the results.

Finally, as I wandered the shore I found a mound of ice along the water’s edge and couldn’t resist using it as a foreground for a final lake shot.

Lake MI Round Ice

I would have loved to have gotten closer, but the ice was definitely NOT to be trusted.

All these images were taken on New Year’s Eve.  I’ll post a couple of shots from New Year’s Day over the weekend.  Not typical beach scenery, but exactly what I was hoping to find!

A great man….

“A great man is one who leaves other at a loss after he is gone.”  Paul Valery

I am at a loss today, because a man that I consider great has passed.  He would not have agreed with that description…but I believe it is true.  I am glad he is at peace now, and I will miss him.  I had the privilege of sharing the outdoors with him on a number of occasions.  Here are two spots that I think of in connection with him.

Red Leaves ~ Bald Cypress

Heron Pond, southern Illinois

Paint Creek - Swirl

Paint Creek, Cherokee National Forest

Rest in peace Marlin.  And thanks for everything….

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