I always enjoy photographing water, and probably make as many “waterscape” photos as I do landscape photos. There are certain times of year though, when I’m drawn more to water than others. One of those times is late winter. By the end of winter, the landscape around me has had it pretty rough and the prairies are looking a bit tired. Don’t get me wrong, it still has its beauty-all of nature has its own unique beauty (and if we can’t see it we just need to look harder), but by February I’m starting to look forward to spring. The short days during late winter also make it tough sometimes to get very far from home, especially during the week, so if I want my Nature fix I need to head to areas I can get to quickly. For me, that means water and normally Tuttle Creek Lake. A benefit of short days though is relatively late sunrises, which I’m starting to photograph more often, but it is definitely easier in the winter.
Since I’ve been spending so much time at the water’s edge lately at the ends of the day, I thought I would share a few photos I’ve made over the past few weeks.
(click on any photo to enlarge)
I made this first photo at sunset on January 23rd at Willow Lake, which is below the dam of Tuttle Creek Lake. Willow Lake isn’t a large area, but I enjoy visiting here. The water is well protected and is often still, even when it is a bit breezy. Since everything was frozen, I didn’t have to worry about that on this visit. There are several fishing piers that I like to photograph from here, since they stick out into the water you can create waterscape photos with a wide angle lens and not get shoreline the photo. For this photo, I liked the snow covered wood with the triangle shaped pattern of snow around it and how it pointed at the sunset. I made this photo from the very end of one of the fishing piers so I could avoid including anything else in the foreground.
This next photo was made at sunrise on January 30th at the River Ponds area, also below the dam at Tuttle Creek Lake. I had spotted the rocks a few feet out from the shoreline on previous visits and thought they might make a good subject for a sunrise. In terms of color, this sunrise did not disappoint. This photo was made several minutes before the actual sunrise and was right at the peak of the color. With the ice reflecting the colors of the sunrise, this was a stunning display. A beautiful start to my day.
This photo was made back at Willow Lake on February 5th at sunset. The clouds looked like they might be just right to really produce a colorful sunset and they did not disappoint. I do really believe that you can always wander out in Nature and find some beauty, but there are times when conditions are just right that the most accurate thing you can say to describe what you are experiencing is “wow.” This was one of those evenings for sure. I had notice this downed tree on previous visits to Willow Lake but had not spent much time photographing it. This composition turned out really well though, I thought. I liked how the tree branches bracketed and pointed right at sunset.
This next photo is another one from the evening of February 5th. The next two photos were made before the photo of the tree in the water…this one made 3 minutes and 39 seconds earlier to be precise…isn’t metadata great?! I had walked over to one of the fishing piers again and this time composed a photo with some of the rocks at the end of the pier in the foreground to help add a sense of depth to the scene. What initially drew me over to the fishing pier was not the rocks though, but some reflections in the water just off the end of the rocks. These reflections were coming from a section of the sky where there as a break in the clouds. I was curious to see what a photo featuring just this reflection would look like so…
…I had made this before deciding to also make the photo with the rocks in the foreground. I like both these photos, but I think this is my personal favorite of the two. In any case, another great display of color from Nature and great way to end my evening.
This next photo was an evening out at Tuttle Creek Lake at the marina on February 6th. I had found a small patch of broken up pieces of ice along the shore. It looked to me like maybe wave action had tossed this ice up behind some of the rocks along the shore. I was shooting a timelapse with one camera so I wasn’t going anywhere which meant I had plenty of time to experiment with different compositions of the setting sun and the ice. I was also experimenting with focus stacking to extend my depth of field. For this photo, I had my camera sitting directly on the ice.
A bit later in the evening after the sun was below the horizon the colors had changed from yellow-gold to a beautiful red. For this photo I had raised my camera up off the ice a bit and used a horizontal camera position to be able to include most of the ice, but also the clouds and post-sunset colors. Treated to another wonderful sunset and this after the amazing one the evening before!
This photo was one I made on Wednesday evening, February 17th. I had left work in a grumpy mood – I didn’t have any reason to be grumpy, I had a pretty good day, but grumpy I was. I decided to grab my camera and head out to the River Ponds for some “Nature therapy.” I found this rock laying half in and out of the water and sat down beside to watch the sunset and make some photos. Again I was experimenting with focus stacking to increase my depth of field and had fun basically spending the whole sunset at this one location. I can get itchy feet thinking I need to move to new locations – there might be something better just a few feet away! – so it was good for me to stay put and just relax.
I made this photo as I was headed back to my car. This is well past sunset, and the colors had really developed at this point in the evening. I really liked how the clouds appeared streaked. I didn’t use an exceptionally long exposure (1/4th) for this photo and the clouds on the upper right side don’t show streaking due to movement so I think the cloud patterns were just naturally this way. If I would have had a 10 stop ND filter, I would have tried some long exposures though just to see how they turned out (which is one of the major reason I make photos…I want to see how they will turn out!). By the time I got home on this evening my mood had improved considerably. My Nature therapy session did the trick.
I am looking forward to the arrival of spring and I’ve started planning some spring photo trips, but I’m not going to give up on my late winter sessions at the water’s edge just yet.
If you would like to view more of my water-themed photos, please browse through my Stillness of Water and Energy of Water photo galleries. If you would like to be notified of new blog posts, sales, show announcements etc., please sign up for my email list.
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