This Winter weather is holding fast even though we have had a couple of warm-ish snaps. Any day now the big melt will begin; I can’t wait. I’ve had enough of Winter, snow, cold, ice, shoveling, lengthy commutes, etc.
Despite all I listed above, Winter is one of my favorites times of year to shoot. Creating black and white images during this time of year can be both challenging and rewarding. It is a time of the year to really focus on composition, detail and light. Some days, like today, the light is really flat. Overcast skies and no glint of sunlight poking through anywhere.
Cyn and I went for an afternoon drive last weekend. We did a loop from Red Wing to Lake City and back again. Frontenac State Park has some wonderful views of the bluffs in Wisconsin towering over Hwy 35. I really like the detail in the trees against the snow-covered bluff as a backdrop. You can really make out the contours of the valley slopes.
It was an eventful weather week. It started out windy and cold and ended with lots of snow. The wind really whipped down Lake Pepin on Tuesday; it was quite the sight. The eagles were out in numbers fishing away in the wind. There was a magnificent rainbow sherbet sunrise mid-week. I spied a pile of discarded household crap on a country road. What the hell are people thinking when they do that? And to wrap it all up, Friday brought several inches of white-fluffy-commute-lengthening stuff. Eventful week.
There wasn’t any “dune bashing” or any sort of off-roading at all on our trip to North Dakota. There were roads everywhere. We roamed about freely; pretty much uninhibited by obstacles with the exception of the “bridge out” signs in the middle of nowhere and the occasional pond/lake right in the middle of a road. The GPS was rather amusing with its informative display of where we were driving. Often it stated unpaved road or simply – Driving on Road. You can truly find the middle of nowhere in ND. I love it.
When traveling through the middle of nowhere don’t be surprised if you encounter a train of machinery blocking your way. You can see the dust cloud miles away. That is your hint to pull off and get out of their way. Harvest time was in full gear when we were there. The dust from the roads and the picking of corn and beans made for some interesting photos. You can see the dust in the first of five panos I did on this trip.
I know I have used the term “dirt road” rather loosely; to include gravel roads, etc. – anything not paved. We were actually on dirt roads in ND – black fertile dirt very compacted from grain trucks and other farming machinery. These field roads were smooth. In fact, they were often smoother-riding than some of the black top roads. The weeds on these dirt roads were a bit tall in spots though. There were several times that we stopped to shoot some wildlife and all you could smell was simmering grasshopper guts and burnt weeds.
There was plenty of wildlife between each town and abandoned place we happened upon. I very much enjoyed my close encounter with a hawk and just the sheer numbers of them that we saw. We chased around egrets for a while as well and stumbled upon some baby turkeys. They are not cute at all – as most baby animals usually are. Everyone of those puddles held an abundance of waterfowl with no shortage of goose poop.
This was two of the better days we have enjoyed out shooting in a while. Great locations, weather and of course my company is always wonderful.