Sunday, April 20, 2014

What's It Like Up Here in the Winter?

I was done with winter photography.  Then I had a conversation with Pamela Grath on her Books in Northport blog.  She wrote me, "I've been thinking that someone should make up a poster of amazing photographic evidence of what we have endured and title it, "What's It Like Up Here in the Winter?" People ask that question every year, and if we had the poster we'd all be prepared to point to the answer. What do you think, Karen?"  So here's my version of a "What's It Like Up Here in the Winter?" Post(er).

I've learn that winter is a process, similar to other things in our lives.  Winter starts with little warnings.  A few times beginning in early November, we get flurry activity.  We wake up and see a dusting of snow, not enough to cover the ground, but enough to let us know what's coming.

Then one day, usually in mid-November to early December, the warnings stop and the real deal occurs.  Big fluffy snowflakes begin falling and don't stop until the ground is covered and the trees are coated. It is so beautiful and all we can think about is getting outdoors to immerse ourselves in winter's loveliness.  Snowshoes and cross country skis are brought up from the basement and we quickly get into enjoying winter's gifts.

Ice begins to build up along the shorelines of the Bays and Lake Michigan.  And except for an occasional breakthrough of sunshine, gray skies predominate.

As the snow deepens, the landscapes become pristine.  Yet the bleak desolation symbolizes the isolation inhabitants sometimes feel during the winter.  We who live with real winter on a daily basis have to work hard to connect with others to avoid the cabin fever that often sets in.

 As the Bays and Lake freeze over, the snow, ice, and sky create a stark, almost monochromatic view.

Occasional breaks in the cloud cover allow for a peek at the sunset.  Time:  5:15 pm.

At winter's peak, the snow is so deep, one can hardly see the vistas from a car.  Yet, hope for spring begins to arrive with changes in the sky at the end of February into March.  Patches of blue signal longer days and a change from the constantly gray skies.

Out for a drive and always in search for new subjects, I spot a Sun Dog through a hole in the piles of snow near Peterson Park.  Feeling lucky to catch something new.

As part of winter's seamless transition to spring, bare spots begin to emerge where piles of snow recently had covered the ground.  More bright days than gray ones enliven our surroundings.

And finally, in this last part of winter, the ice on the Lake and Bay begins to break up.  Ice sculptures collapse, stress fractures form, and ice bergs are tossed around by wind and wave action.  With these last vestiges of winter underway, spring cannot be far away.  What's It Like Up Here in the Winter?  These images give you an idea of what we hearty souls who stay here year around experience.


  1. Karen, you have gone above and beyond, turning the "assignment" from the series I'd envisioned into a narrative! Since it's hard not to have favorites, though, I do love, love, love the sundog through the snowpiles.

  2. Thanks, Pamela. The sun dog was a fun one to spot and photograph. Narrative aside, do any of these images fit your idea for a winter poster? Karen

  3. Beautiful series, Karen. I love the sun dog image, too; also, the second and third shots down from the top.

  4. Thank you, Jan. I like those too, but I think the 5th one down gives the best idea of what winter gray is really like. Karen