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This is probably the worst stretch for photography I’ve ever experienced. Things turned brown in mid October and have continued that way for most of the fall and into the winter. We had a brief snowfall that provided an opportunity for a few photos but for the most part there has not been much to photograph. The last couple of weeks I’ve been out to some of my winter locations without much luck.

Frozen in Time

Normally at this time of year I’m getting some great ice and frost pictures on the Red Cedar Trail. This year the trail has remained open for hiking which is great for those folks that don’t ski and would like to walk down and view the ice formations on the trail. Conditions on the trail vary from no snow, to a slight snow to ice covered. Unfortunately the ice walls have not really formed this year because it’s been so warm. The ice wall looks like it normally would in the spring when it has just about completely melted. It’s even difficult to find ice along the small streams that flow into the Red Cedar River. This was taken along the trail where a small patch of snow had melted and then froze.

Devil's Punchbowl

The Devil’s Punchbowl has the same problem. The ice formation are very disappointing and the warm weather means that you are still walking through mud to photograph the ice that has formed. This is what it should look like at Devil’s Punchbowl this time of year.

Watercress

Normally I’ve made several trips to the Bjornson Education Recreation Center by this time of year. It usually provides some interesting frost shots along the streams. There are a number of spring fed streams that run through the center and when the warm water comes out of the hills it creates a lot of steam and hence frost when it is cold. No such luck this year. There isn’t even any ice in the streams and very little snow cover on the trails. The one thing I did notice is that the Watercress has recovered in the streams. A couple of years ago we had a really harsh winter and in March all of a sudden the Watercress disappeared from the streams. The deer in the area were so desperate for food that they eliminated it in a few days and it is just now recovering.

 

Ice Formation

Willow River State Park is another area I frequently visit during cold weather. There are usually some great frost and ice shots to be had. This winter most of the ice seems to be on the trails. Normally folks are skiing on the trails but the trail down from the upper parking lot to the falls is glare ice so be prepared for a fast trip down to the falls.

Northern Cardinal - male

Normally I do a lot of bird photography on my farm in the winter. This year there are hardly any birds at the feeder. There are always American Goldfinches around. Apparently they are a lazy group and would rather eat at the feeder than forage for food. Normally I have all kinds of Dark-eyed Juncos and Black-capped Chickadees around. This year the only time I’ve seen them is right after a snowfall. As soon as the snow melts they are gone. I’ve seen a few male Northern Cardinals but again only right after a snowfall. This photo was taken last year.

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