Friday, February 28, 2020

"Frost Smoke" at the Chippewa River

This winter I managed to go to the Chippewa River (northern Wisconsin) three times in below 0 F temperature. What can I say - I love rivers especially in early mornings when steam or fog is rising from the water surface. My fingers turn numb, my feet get cold, my glasses fog up and make it difficult to operate my camera. But I would not want to miss this view!!  The mood is changing quickly as the sun is rising. Some of the frost covered trees turn golden, the others in the shade remain cold and frosty looking. This creates an interesting contrast in colors and texture. And the fog or smoke keeps constantly moving. On this particular morning (February 28, 2020) the fog got thicker as the sun rose higher. 
Unless you live at the river or happen to cross the bridge early in the morning - you would never know of this beauty. It doesn't last very long. I am grateful to be able to capture these moments and hope the viewer enjoys them as much as I do.

Click on the photos for a larger view. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Barkie Birkie Skijor, Febr. 20. 2020

It was a very cold (-8F) but sunny morning when the Barkie Birkie event took place in Hayward, Wisconsin. It is one of several races leading up to the American Birkebeiner crosscountry ski race that will take place on Saturday, 2.22. 2020.
What a fun event to watch. The dogs were certainly the stars of the day!! And there were all sizes and breeds. At times it seemed like total chaos at the start and finish line. But the many volunteers had everything under control!!
There were 2 waves - the 5 km for the experts and the 3 km for the novices.
Both start and finish were on the Main Street. 
A good description about the event from the American Birkebeiner website:

This event is a great opportunity for skiers and spectators to enjoy the sport of Skijoring and for the dogs to show off their “Barkie Fever”!
Skijoring combines cross country skiing with dog power. The skier is attached to his/her dog with a belt and towline. The dog then runs ahead as the skier skis. Skijoring is a team sport which allows both human and canine counterparts to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors.
Skijoring is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning ski driving. The sport has been around for hundreds of years and originally started using reindeer and wooden skis. The sport also uses horses, but dogs are now the most common animal used in skijoring.
Most medium size dogs (30 pounds and up) who are trained properly can be candidates for skijoring.

Enjoy the photos and many expressions of this fun morning.

Click on the photo for a larger view.

Waiting for their turn

A good start

Skiers and dogs from the first wave returning to the finish 

Right before the finish line this pooch decided to lay down

Welcoming back 

A happy pair

Lots of media recording the event. The dogs were the stars!

Waiting for the start of the second wave

This dog got a pep talk from one of the many volunteers

Still waiting 

Finally - off we go

One of the smallest dogs

Count down 

Some dogs got confused and needed help to go in the right direction

Ready to go!

It was cold - in spite of the sun

Parading down on Main street!! 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Full "Snow Moon" Photo Shoot

Full "Snow Moon" Photo Shoot

A full moon is always a highly anticipated event for a landscape photographer. There are 13 full moons in 2020 . Typically I have 2-3 opportunities per year to get out and capture either a moon rise or moon set. Either the weather isn't cooperating or I am at work.
This February 9 "Snow Moon" was a beauty and for a change we had clear skies!! 
I had been to an Art Crawl in Eau Claire (Wisconsin) and as I was leaving on Saturday evening (Febr. 8) I saw the most gorgeous moon rising but I had no camera with me. 
On Sunday I was at work plus we had a snowstorm but the sun came out and clear sky in the evening.
My plan was to go out Monday morning to capture the setting moon. My alarm  went off at 5:15am - I did not want to get up. My mind said: I am tired, it's too cold (-15F), I want to sleep in... My feline companions never let me sleep in and make it very clear when it's time to feed them!! 
After a cup of coffee I was ready to leave around 6:30am. Then comes the most agonizing part - where to go?? I live in a wooded area and only know of a few places with a decent view within a 20 miles radius. I would like to go to at least 5 spots - all at the same time!! I only have a window of about 45 minutes. The weather report mentioned something about freezing fog therefore I decided to head down to the Chippewa river to check if there was frost. The roads were slippery, some haven't been plowed and I have to pace myself. Watching for deer - I know most of their "highways" in my area, so I slow down and look. 
Before I reached the river I stopped close to a farm - but where to park the car? On the same day last year I pulled over on the side of the road not realizing that it was all icy underneath the snow. I could not get out on my own and after 2 hrs trying with helpful neighbors I had to call the tow truck. With that in mind I carefully pulled over.

I love the soft pinks and blues before sunrise. The moon was still pretty high in the sky.
My hands were getting cold while taking the first photos. I remembered I brought hand warmers but the package wouldn't open. I found scissors in the car, but cut into one of the little packs and the black powder ran out. Oh, so much fun!?!
I found nothing too spectacular at the river. So I turned around thinking about another location to capture the sunrise and setting moon. But I ran out of time. As I was driving I reminded myself to breathe and just to relax. I live in such a beautiful area! 
I never made it to where I wanted to go but it didn't matter. I soaked up the warmth of the sun,  looked around seeing all the sparkles in the snow and on the trees. Life is beautiful!

The first photo was taken around 6:50am and the last photo around 7:40am. The mood and light changes dramatically within such a short time.

I hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into my photography adventure.
Click on the photos for a larger view.


A promising sunrise - view towards the east

Last year on February 10 - the tow truck had to pull me out as I parked on the side of the road and was sliding into the ditch

My favorite colors - soft pink and blue sky in the west. Photo was taken about 25 minutes before the sunrise

The setting full moon still high in the sky. View towards the Blue Hills (west)

When I saw this scene with the deer tracks and snow covered spruce trees lit up by the sun - I had to stop.
Photo taken about 20 minutes past sunrise

My focus was so much on the moon that I almost forgot to turn around to see this scene filled with warmth and golden light.

Goldenrod sparkling in the sunlight