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