The end of 2019 brought a beautiful fresh snowfall to Minnesota and Wisconsin.  What started out as sleet and rain ended as three to four inches of snow that clung to the wet branches and leaves.  Our surroundings became a true winter wonderland.  Without a strong wind and with temperatures below freezing, we celebrated the start of a new year surrounded by this beauty.  The setting sun through the winter forest brought a stream of golden light onto the frozen pond in front of me.  I stood here for awhile, marveling at the light blue tinted snow and the golden sun piercing through the trees.  Quickly the sun moved further below the horizon and the moment was over, replaced with the dark of night and a canopy of bright stars overhead.

Last weekend brought yet another snowfall (which we are all hoping is the last large snow of this winter season).  It was a beautiful snow – large flakes that drifted down and settled on everything.  The tree branches were outlined in snow, showing their structure.  The woods were quiet except for the sound of my snowshoes; with snow depths up to 20 inches snowshoes were required.  I love being out in nature during a snowfall.  Everything is magically softened and the world is enveloped in a special quiet.

The past three weeks we’ve had a Friday snowfall, and each one has been different.  One was wet and sloppy, one was a dusting of dry snow, and another was driven from the north.  This one painted the trees on one side only, outlining them from the wind direction.  Birch and aspen that are generally white had an extra coating of brighter white on the north.  With a cloudy sky overhead, this color photograph became a black and white scene without any alterations.  Each of these snows have been short-lived as they’ve been followed by warmer temperatures and sometimes rain.  But as the months progress, we know there will soon be the snow that stays and is increased with each storm – all the way until next spring.

McNelly Conservatory after fresh snowfall_Staats12062Friday morning we awoke to a fresh snowfall.  The dingy remnants of the earlier snow were whitened, the snow that fell overnight lay coating the trees, the wind was still, and the temperature was hovering around freezing –  all the elements of a perfect snowfall.  As I headed out the door to work, I made a “scheduled” detour to Como Park and the McNeely Conservatory.  The lights inside the conservatory gave off a warm glow to the glass in contrast to the blue and white of the snow.  And the snow-covered trees were sentinels of the beauty of this winter morning.  In the stillness and beauty of the early morning it was just me photographing, and the snowplow driver clearing the roads and paths in the park.