landscapes


It was a bitter cold day and evening but the sun had been shining and the blue sky had beckoned people outside.  I was at Lake Como and there were walkers and runners following the path around the lake, there was one lone ice fisherman, and there were people who had laced up their skates and were gliding across the ice where the surface was smooth.  It was a glorious time, and the sunset glowed in the ice surface and in the clouds above.  For a few moments it was beautiful, and not quite as cold as we thought.

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Take a rainstorm that makes everything wet, drop the temperature so the rain changes to sleet, the sleet changes to ice, and then drop the temperature more and it snows.  And the snow clings to everything – the branches, the oak leaves, the pine trees, the sedges.  Our world became a winter wonderland with everything coated with white snow.  It was stunning, and it was so easy to appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature in winter.

These are the days of long shadows.  As we get closer to the winter solstice the sun is lower in the sky as the earth tilts.  In Minnesota and Wisconsin we are north of the 45th parallel so “our tilt” seems more noticeable.  This photo was taken at noon, but my shadow is nowhere close to being right beneath me as it is in the summer.  Instead the sun is only 123 degrees above the horizon, elongating my shadow.

This is our winter — longer shadows, shorter days, colder temperatures.

Backlit blowing snow 21409_StaatsDawn broke early with a fresh white snowfall.  The sun traveled upwards but the dark clouds to the east were moving in.  They seemed to curtain off the sunlight and it streamed onto the snow-covered lake.  With a sudden gust, the wind blew the resting snow off the tree branches and it cascaded to the ground, backlit by the sun.  It was momentary and it was breath taking –  all in a split second.

After a week or more with below freezing temperatures, we reveled in a day of 40 degrees and sunshine.  I took advantage of our “heat wave” and went for a long walk that took me through Como Park.  As I went past the lake it was wonderful to see the snow and ice patterns.  The dark areas in the photograph are clear ice, interrupted by the white snow that had been blown across the lake.  There were lots of big cracks going through the surface too.  Once we get back to our cold temperatures, the ice will continue to form….all a part of winter in Minnesota.

The bright colors of fall have come to an end.  The oaks have turned to their deeper rust color and the ground is now littered with faded colors.  As I was out raking leaves, a light rain started.  On the still lake it provided its punctuation in the water surface.  The reflection was beautiful and a reminder to me that even though the bright colors of fall are gone and many of the trees are without their vibrant leaves, there is still an amazing beauty in the world around us.

Our fall is changing rapidly.  What is lovely and colorful on one day is completely different two days later after heavy winds have caused the leaves to fall.  I was fortunate to find this lovely golden road one late afternoon.  The autumn colors were plentiful, and the road was littered with beautiful yellow leaves.  The next day was followed with heavy winds, and when I returned the trees had lost all their color and many of the leaves on the road had been scattered into the forest.  I was reminded of how important it is to stop and make the image when you see it because it is never the same the next time.

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