I made this image mid-morning on January 27. Overnight skies had been clear, so when the sun rose, it brought fog off the relatively warm waters – hence the cloud layer over the bay. As a Northern Michigander, I love a blue-sky day in the winter, but they make things tough for a photographer. Even fairly early in the day, shadows are harsh, and the sky – though beautiful – is boring as far as landscape imagery goes. But I like to keep an eye on the ever-changing ice scene, so I walked along the anchor ice (the part of the ice shelf that is anchored to the beach and not floating above water) until this line of icebergs caught my eye. I photographed the scene several ways, but chose this image with anchor ice in the foreground, rooting the image and providing a stark contrast to the darker water. I also like that you can see reflections of some of the icebergs, and the underwater part of some of the nearer ones. I’m glad I spent time with these in the morning, because when I came back that night for a sunset, the skim ice had melted, and the icebergs had disappeared.
With steady cold temperatures most of our inland lakes are frozen, which brings new photographic opportunities and challenges. I initially set up at the Marina in Alden for a time-lapse, but with Torch Lake’s surface frozen nearly solid (it’s not quite there yet – you should hear the ice crackle!), the video just wasn’t very interesting. Instead, I opted to keep a set of images I made just before I started the now-trashed time-lapse. I exposed one image for the vibrant, glowing sky, and another to capture the detail in the snow and ice. I blended the two exposures in Photoshop for this final version. Was I disappointed that the video wasn’t stunning? Sure. But I am thrilled with this “fire and ice” composition that I walked away with.
Check out these galleries for more winter scenes and colorful sunsets.