Sunday, February 27, 2011

Columbia Road in Winter

Just a simple post and photograph.  The day was filled with outdoor life-snowshoe in the morning, Polar Plunge at noon and a ski after fresh falling snow.  I can't seem to keep up with it all.  Cold day in this late February stretch, but one to enjoy-the sun is higher (when not snowing) and light wind, so it's one to spend outside.  Columbia Road (or avenue)  is the main north south gravel  "thoroughfare" through the Township of Hewett and one I travel a million times a year on my way to Levis Mound.  It takes a short east west jog through the ghost town of Columbia and changes it's name to Fisher Avenue.  The snow this day was beautiful, big softly falling flakes that had ramped up earlier to give us several inches hanging on the trees.  My cameras were along in the front seat and I pulled one up and grabbed this shot.  Nothing earth shattering here, but it kind of gave me a feeling of what winter is like and all those miles travelled between home and one of my playgrounds in the county forest.  Maybe it's more of an impression of what I see and feel going back and forth.  I'd have to say, Columbia Road is one of my favorites.
Columbia Road in Winter

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Polar Plunge !!!!

So my "assignment" today was to help out with the Neillsville Polar Plunge-it's put on by the local Lions club and is a great fund raiser for our  Special Olympics fact, our athletes have raised the most money every year of the plunge and thankfully, those funds come right back to the local team to help with costs of competition and training. 

My other "assignment" (a self assignment, BTW) was to make some pictures here.  I really needed to get back on the shooting horse again.  The morning of the plunge was below zero and it gradually warmed to +9 at "swim" time.....luckily.  The Lions announce the groups and members and then it's dunk time.  A friend, News Herold Photographer Laura Schmitt  (  was on assignment here also.  The plunge is just a great opportunity to get fun images-expression, action (some faster than others) and shooting something out of the ordinary.  I knocked off about 200+ frames and edited them down to maybe 75 that I liked.  From there maybe 25 keepers.  I wondered how Laura does it-she can only publish maybe one photograph from the shoot and it probably is one a photo editor selects.  Must be interesting and or frustrating to press the shutter so many times and have it boiled down to one picture which captures the story-that's why she's so good.  I didn't have those restrictions and published a bunch to a Facebook album and now here on the blog. 
These are some of my favorites.
Daina-our Spec. Oly. Snowboarder
The Lobster-Man
Refreshing Dip?
A couple Colby HS Hornettes

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fog and Luminance

Schools closed today because of thick fog-really some pea soup out there.  Had a chance anyway to get grades done, keep an eye on the crisis in Madison and then escape to the woods with camera and Molly.  I knew I wanted to make a picture or two, just had a hard time finding the right thing.  Late in my hike, banks of fog would move in and out, which was pretty cool.  Hopefully I caught a little of that feeling.
Fog Bank on the Move
Black on White
Emerging Forest

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Art by Mother Nature

For unknown reasons, I've always loved reading about adventures of polar explorers.  My favorite book on the subject was "Endurance" by Ernest Shackleton.  It's the story of a failed attempt to cross Antarctica by sledge and the struggle to survive during a two year period stranded by pack ice and remoteness.  It's worth a read.  I think part of my attraction to these stories are that I truly enjoy snow and winter and being outdoors doing just about anything.  Call me a bit crazy, but there are times I love the bite of below zero on my skin and the struggle to just traverse deep snow.  For myself, it makes me feel alive.

As I snowshoed yesterday, the wind was up pretty high, but temps were not terrible.  I knew after working my way through the woods, I'd end up out on an open windy field.  I shot a few frames, but there wasn't a lot that caught my eye.  Nearing sunset and cresting the top of a hill,  the forms of the snow drifts started to interest me.  We'd received some rain a week ago, which formed a crust, and more recently, powder snow on top.  The strong winds during the past day or two really sculpted it and made (for me) some interesting forms.  I also liked the warm colors of the late day sun reflecting off of it.  I stopped at the highest point of my hike and wondered if those polar explorers appreciated the same beauty provided by the rawness of nature.  Perhaps, or maybe it was just another hurdle in the way to achieve their goals.
Snow Crescent
Sunset on Snow and Crust

Track Stories

I probably post something similar to this every winter, but it's something I just need to do.  I enjoy tracks.  I like the stories they can tell or the stories I try to interpret and think about.  They stop me in my.....ahhh, tracks.  They make me consider the when and why and it's okay if I never figure it all out-that's part of wonder Iguess.
White Footed Mouse tracks
These Wild Turkey tracks I happened to cut several times during my snowshoe.  The first time was out on a crusty and windblown field, where they could barely break the surface, then later in the woods wandering around in search of food.  I saw them several more times and finally they wandered into the yard checking for bird feeder leftovers.
Wild Turkey track in snow
Tubbs Snowshoe Tracks  on Cliffs field
Lastly, I stopped and checked out my own tracks.  The 24" snowshoes struggle in the 2' of snow here...or maybe it's just me.  I did get a workout, breathed fresh cold air and enjoyed the quiet.