I am fortunate to live in Wisconsin at the tip of an 80 mile long peninsula that extends out into Lake Michigan. There are wonderful photographic opportunities in every season but my favorite time is winter. That does not mean that it is always easy or pleasant to photograph at this time and this image is a perfect example of that. This is a series of low bluffs on the east side of the peninsula, open to Lake Michigan and under certain conditions of very low temperatures with a strong onshore wind, the heavy spray from the waves freezes on contact with the trees and bluffs leaving a tapestry of ice.
The following day after the onshore wind, the winds died down and I went at sunset to see what the results of the storm were. It is very dangerous to be on the edges of these bluffs without crampons and fatalities have occurred here recently because of slippery ice on the edge. With crampons it is very safe and I try to visit this spot whenever I think the conditions may be favorable for the ice that I am always looking for.
The wonderful aspect of winter at this spot is that every visit reveals something entirely new and never are things the same, sometimes within just hours. Lake Michigan is constantly changing with open water near the bluffs on one visit changing to solid ice pack extending several hundred yards out into the lake on the next, only to have a sudden wind shift break up the ice and drive the pack ice away in an hour. Time of the day is important here and since this area faces east, sunrise is the obvious most optimal time to be here. However, this was one of the few times I decided to see what a sunset may look like and I was very pleasantly surpised at how lovely the light turned out to be.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor