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Category Archives: Frost

The very cold weather we have seen the past few weeks is ideal for creating ice and frost. On an earlier visit to Paradise Valley and Devil’s Punchbowl I noticed that the small stream had overflowed and created a large amount of ice. This along with the cold weather created some ideal conditions to form frost feathers. Indeed the ice on the stream was covered with them. I took my macro lens along on the second visit and spent a couple of hours photographing them.

More photographs from Paradise Valley and Devil’s Punchbowl can be found on my website.

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As winter approached we had a number of days with heavy frost so I decided to walk around the prairie on the farm to get a few photos.

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With not enough snow for cross country skiing we decided to drive over to the Bjornson Education-Recreation Center for a hike on a cold day. Bjornson has a number of spring fed streams flowing through it. Watercress usually can be found growing on the streams. If it is cold out the watercress will be covered with frost flowers.

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It was a dull day with not a lot to photograph but there were a few weeds sticking up out of the snow that made for an interesting pattern.

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Further along on the trail we crossed a bridge covered in snow.

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I thought all of my windows were in good shape but it turns out I have some failed seals. This is the first time in a number of years that we have had temperatures below zero. As soon as the temperatures reached below zero I noticed significant frost on the window. I’ll wait until spring to get them fixed but in the meantime I’m taking advantage of the problem and doing a little frost photography.

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It was a -10 degree day and there is no place better to be than Bjornson Education-Recreation Center to photographing frost. A small spring flows out from the hillside creating ideal conditions to create frost. On this particular day we had strong winds (wind chill -35) so there wasn’t as much frost as there would normally be on a cold day. In terms of photography it is better to have less frost because the frost has better definition  Too much frost and it starts to look like snow. The bright green of the watercress makes a good background.

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I was rummaging through a drawer the other day and ran across a little packet of materials from the United States Ski Association. Back in the 1970’s the USSA and Kodak established a physical fitness program called Medals for Miles. The essence of the program was that you would record your miles skied, during the winter,  in a logbook and then at the end of the ski season submit the logbook to the USSA and receive an award. The award was a piece of paper and a pin or a patch.

Swedetown Ski Trails

Swedetown Ski Trails

 If you listen to the news these days it seems the only motivating factor in life is greed. I happened to be one of those folks that was always motivated by the challenge whether it be at work or sports. The thought of getting a pin or patch for skiing 150 -1000 miles really excited me.

Miljes Ski Trails

Miljes Ski Trails

 According to Kodak there were about a million cross country skiers in the 1970’s. Unfortunately there were not a lot of established ski trails, at least in our area. I happened to live on a farm so I created my own trail that ran for .7 of a mile out through the fields. Just about every night when I came home I would strap on the skis and ski around my little trail. It was usually dark by the time I made it home from work so I had to use a head lamp. In those days it was connected to a heavy 6 volt battery. I would try and ski about 10 miles every evening. The neighbors probably thought I was nuts.

Swedetown Ski Trails

Swedetown Ski Trails

 On weekends I would ski across fields, on golf courses, snowmobile trails and a few formal trails such as Telemark near Cable, Wisconsin. On each trip I tried to keep track of the miles I skied. It looks like I participated in this activity for about six years. I have several pins for 150 miles, one for 300 and another for 500 miles. There is also a patch for 750 miles and one for 1,000 miles.

Swedetown Ski Trails

Swedetown Ski Trails

 The number of miles skied was dependent upon the winter and the amount of snow we received. About the only year that I remember was the year I skied a 1,000 miles. We had an early snowfall and it stayed most of the winter. That was the year that my girlfriend (later my wife) and I went on an all day ski trip when it was 20 degrees below zero. All I could think of during the day was getting back to Hayward, Wisconsin and having a milk shake. My girlfriend later admitted that she couldn’t feel her feet half way through the day. By mid-march I was near the 1,000 mile mark but most of the snow was gone on the farm. I still had about 20 miles to go. My girlfriend and I drove up to Telemark for one last attempt to complete the 1000 miles. It was really a miserable day. It was warm and I was down to using Klister in order to ski. By the end of the day I was exhausted but had the necessary miles.

Frost - Red Cedar State Trail

Frost – Red Cedar State Trail

 When I mentioned, to my wife, that I had found the metals she reminded me that I had convinced her to participate in the program as well.

ABR Ski Trails

ABR Ski Trails

When it gets really cold out I usually head out to the Bjornson Education-Recreation Center a few miles from my home. There are a number of springs on the property that flow out of the hillsides. The relatively warm water from the springs combines with the cold air to create a frost covered landscape. It is made even more beautiful because a good portion of the small streams are covered in Watercress. Several years ago we had a harsh winter and in March all of the Watercress disappeared from the streams seemingly overnight. Apparently White-tailed deer normally will not eat it but if it is the only food around they will. For a couple of years the Watercress was gone from the stream but it is abundant once again.

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More photos from Bjornson Education-Recreation Center can be found on my website.

On a recent visit to Paradise Valley I was able to find some interesting ice and frost patterns along a small stream that runs through the valley. I was lucky I went when I did because the next day it snowed and the ice patterns were covered in snow.

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Last weekend my wife and I drove over to Willow River State Park. When we left home it was a bright sunny day but as we neared the Wisconsin border we encountered heavy fog. The trees along the road were covered with frost. On my last trip to Willow River the same thing happened but the frost disappeared before I reached the park. This time when we reached the parking lot everything was covered in frost. I was there would be frost on the trees near Willow Falls but as we walked into the river valley the frost disappeared.

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There was not a lot of good ice at Willow Falls. There were some big chunks near the top of the falls but not a lot of interesting ice near the bottom.

Ice Formation

Willow Falls

After shooting at the falls we decided to walk west along the river to see if we could find any Trumpeter Swans. I had seen them fly over on my previous trip and I know they winter in the open water below the falls. Normally you can’t walk along the river trail because it is a ski trail in the winter. However, the weather has been so warm that the trail is not skiable and continues to be used for hiking. We did find some ducks and geese along the river but no swans. We met another hiker who said the swans were on some open water at the head of the lake. Shortly after we arrived they took off. There were some potentially great shots of them flying with dark clouds in the background but there were too many trees in the way to get a clear shot.

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More photos from Willow River can be found on my website.

 

Rocks and Ice

Looking for some exercise my wife and I decided to drive down to the south terminus of the Red Cedar Trail. We parked in the parking lot and took a footpath that goes under the bridge over the Chippewa River. We then walked west along the Chippewa River until it intersected with the Red Cedar River. I had hike this section last summer but it was my wife’s first visit. The temperature wasn’t that cold but a brisk wind and dampness made for a chilly hike.

Bald Eagle Hunting

The highlight of the walk was the large number of Bald Eagles that were fishing along the river. We probably saw over a dozen mature and immature Bald Eagles both sitting in trees and actively fishing. They kept our attention during the entire hike. I captured this eagle just as it hit the water. He went to a tree and seemed to be eating his catch but it wasn’t a very big fish. We also saw quite a few ducks. From a distance they appeared to be Common Goldeneye’s.

Frost Covered Sand

There was frost on the vegetation along the river. I found this interesting pattern of frost on the sand just below the bridge over the Chippewa River. As we walked along the shore we encountered several places where the sand was singing.