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Tag Archives: Devil's Punchbowl

I recently received a request to use this photo of Devil’s Punchbowl for a backdrop in a window display in a woman’s clothing store.


This is what the window looks like during the Christmas season.



Paradise Valley is located a short distance from Devils Punchbowl so I usually stop and check it out as well. I typically find some interesting ice photos as ice forms along the small stream that flows through the valley but the cold weather has frozen the stream and a fresh snowfall had covered any ice formations. The ice wall that forms along the stream was impressive.



It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the Devils Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin. I used to go there at least once a week during the winter but for some reason I haven’t stopped this winter until last week. We have had some really cold weather so I was interested in seeing how the ice was forming. I was pleasantly surprised to find some great ice at the Punchbowl.




More photos of Devils Punchbowl can be found on my website.

As winter arrived I started thinking of places and events that I wanted to photograph this winter. The events and bird photography require a little more planning than the Landscape Photography locations.

Apostle Islands Ice Caves

Without a doubt the top of my list is the Apostle Islands Ice caves. I discovered them in 2007 and have photographed them every year they have been open. When I first started photographing them I was frequently the only person on the ice that day. What a difference social media makes. This past winter well over a hundred thousand people visited the caves in-spite of the bitterly cold winter. Given the temperatures we have been seeing so far this winter I would expect the ice caves will open again in February. If you haven’t been you should make the trip.



The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race will be taking place on February 7th and 8th. This is really a fun family event and one of the better sled dog races from a viewers point of view. It is possible to get up close to the dogs at the start of the races. Since it is an out and back race you can also stick around and watch the mushers return. They also have different levels of races from professionals to kids.

Off and Racing

Off and Racing


If you are really lucky, like we were last year, the Apostle Island Ice Caves will be open that weekend. You also may also be able to drive out to Madeline Island on the ice road while you are in the area.

Bond Falls

Although Bond falls is best known as a fall destination for photographers it provides some exceptional photography in the winter. There are not many waterfalls that are all that interesting to photograph in the winter. Bond Falls in the U.P. of Michigan is an exception. Most waterfalls in the Upper-Midwest are frozen in the winter. If there has been fresh snow they look like all of the other scenery. Bond falls is just below a dam it has water flowing all winter regardless of how cold it is. The flowing water combined with some interesting ice formations makes this one of my favorite winter photography locations.

Bond Falls

Bond Falls

Ice Bond Falls

Ice Bond Falls

Mississippi River

During the winter we make a number of trips over to the Mississippi River looking for eagles. Our first stop is usually Alma, Wisconsin where eagles hang out around the lock and dam. The National Eagle Center provides a weekly report of eagles seen along this section of the Mississippi River. They also provide eagle watching tours.

We then drive north to Reads Landing, Minnesota. We commonly see 30+ eagles in front of the Reads Landing Brewing Company. You can stop in the Brewery and watch the eagles in comfort while having lunch.

Our last stop is usually  in Colvill Park  Redwing, Minnesota where the eagles hang out near the open water below the power plant. The catch to watching eagles in the winter is the best time to find them gathered in large numbers is when there is a bitterly cold stretch of weather. This causes the Mississippi to freeze up and reduces access to open water.


Canadian Hill Farm

I can usually find something to photograph on the farm during the winter but most of my time is spent photographing birds during snow storms. There is nothing like hunkering down in the house with a roaring fire in the fireplace while sitting in my rocking chair and photographing birds.

Northern Cardinal male

Northern Cardinal male

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Hudson, Wisconsin

Hudson is a great place to watch Trumpeter Swans during the winter. With the successful reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans into the Midwest watching and photographing them has become a year around event. Trumpeter Swans don’t migrate in the winter they just move to the nearest open water. There is a small patch of open water in Hudson where they congregate in large numbers during the winter months. It is easy to get up close and photograph them.



Hudson is also where the Hudson Hot Air Affair is held every February. This is one of the few hot air balloon rallies in the area. It is well worth the trip to watch the inflation and flight of the balloons.

Hudson Hot Air Affair 14-2-_0710



Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls State Park is a favorite stopping point during the winter. Although in very cold weather the Amnicon River usually freezes there are times when I can find open water. The tannin tainted water car result in some colorful photos.

Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls

Horton Covered Bridge

Horton Covered Bridge

Red Cedar State Trail

In the winter most of the Red Cedar State Trail is a cross country ski trail so in order to photograph it you have to be willing to cross country ski. There are some beautiful ice walls along the trail at the 1.5 mile mark. These are the result of water seepage through limestone rock.


On cold days the trees along the trail can be covered in heavy frost.



The southern portion of the trail is a walking trail in the winter and on a sunny day I like to photograph the Dunnville Stone in the late afternoon light.

Dunnville Sandstone

Dunnville Sandstone

Grand Marais, Minnesota

I like to make the trip to Grand Marais at least once every winter. I’m never quite sure what I’ll find. On one trip there were high waves washing over the breakwater and lighthouses.

West Breakwater Light

West Breakwater Light

At other times I love to take intimate shots of the ice formations that are formed when the water washes over the breakwater and then freezes into beautiful patterns.


Devil’s Punchbowl

I like to photograph at Devil’s Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin in the winter. Water seeping through limestone rocks creates a massive ice wall in the bowl. There are also opportunities to photograph objects frozen in the ice.

Devil's Punchbowl

Devil’s Punchbowl


This past week I made a trip down to Devil’s Punchbowl to check out the ice. Given all of the cold weather I expected that the ice would be much thicker that it was and I was a little disappointed at the photo opportunities. There were a number of objects frozen into the ice that made for some nice photos.Leaf-13-12-_1090



I had wanted to visit Devil’s Punchbowl when the Ice was first starting to form. On my first visit the ice hadn’t started forming. By the time I was able to get back down to the Punchbowl the ice wall was already formed. Large chunks of it were falling down so I spent my time photographing leaves that were frozen in the ice.Devils-Punchbowl-leaf-13-12-_0559


There are a number of large ice walls near Menomonie, Wisconsin. This year, with the cold weather, they are growing quite large and are some of the best I’ve seen in recent years. All of them are the result of water seeping through sandstone rock.

The largest ice wall is located along the Red Cedar State Trail. Unfortunately the trail is a ski trail in the winter so the only way to access it is to ski to the 1.5 mile mark on the trail. It can be accessed either from the Menomonie trailhead or the Irvington trailhead.


The second ice wall is located along a small stream that crosses Paradise Valley Road. Paradise valley Road is located on the west side and parallels the west side of the Red Cedar River. At the 1.2 mile mark you will find room to park a car along the road. The ice wall is a short walk up along an unnamed stream. I would suggest wearing ice cleats to access this ice wall because of the amount of ice at the base of the ice wall and because the stream is now a river of ice.


The third ice wall is located at Devil’s Punchbowl. Devil’s Punchbowl is located on the west side of Menomonie at the 1.8 mile mark on Paradise Valley Road. Access is from a small parking lot of the left side of the road. To reach the bottom of the bowl you must go down a long series of steps. The steps are usually ice covered as is the area around the base of the ice wall so I would suggest wearing ice cleats.


This past week I made several trips to Devil’s Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin. The ice in the bowl is the best I’ve seen in several years. On both trips I spent time photographing object encased in the ice both on the ice wall and the ice flows down the side of the bowl.





Devil’s Punch Bowl Scientific Study Area is located near Menomonie, Wisconsin. There have been a number of reports of paranormal activity Devils Punchbowl and reports that it is haunted. Unfortunately, as a frequent visitor, I have yet to see anything unusual although it is a beautiful location for photography. The Bowl itself is relatively small covering about 50 square yards.  A small stream runs through it during most of the year and in addition there is considerable water seepage along the sandstone cliffs.

Access to the area is via a steep staircase which in the winter can be treacherous. In addition, it is difficult to walk around the ice covered walls and bowl floor while photographing the area. I typically wear ice traction devices on my feet to prevent falls on the ice. I also wear a hardhat if the ice is melting because every once in a while a large section of ice falls from the wall. Using a lens cap and a plastic cover for the camera and lens is recommended because, even on the coldest days, you are likely to encounter dripping water which splatters onto the camera and lens. Toward the end of December and the first few weeks of January the sun does not reach into the bowl. At other times you will encounter the same issues you would when photographing waterfalls when the sun is out. The best light is on a cloudy or overcast day.


During the transition seasons fall to winter and winter to spring the water freezes. If you time your visit just right you can photograph ice covered leaves, twigs and ice formations that remind you of diamonds. This opportunity may occur for only a few days during the transition periods. If you visit during this time you should wear rubber boots because you will be walking in water and mud.

Ice Wall

In January and February the cold weather produces a large ice wall covering most of the bowl. One normally thinks of ice as a rather static element but as the weather changes the ice wall changes with it as do the photographic opportunities. The ice at Devil’s Punch Bowl also provides the chance for close-up photography of individual ice formations and on cold day’s frost covered ice.

Ice Patterns

The small stream that runs through the Punch Bowl also offers another option for photographing the stream as well as ice patterns in the frozen stream.

You can find additional photos and driving directions to Devil’s Punchbowl on my website.

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