Fall Creek Winter

The magic of ice, water, light

This January 2005 morning dawned cold, the risen sun low to the south of a forested esker ridge, as I suited up for this long planned for photograph.  A Sony DSC-F828, a UV filter and tripod were all I needed to capture this.  That camera model has a integrated flex lens.  I needed to stabilize the lens to achieve this image clarity, depth and sharpness.

The shimmering gloss was achieved by waiting until the sun was above the ridge, shining light shafts through the trees, lighting the water obliquely.

As late as January the stream carries enough heat to create a fog or mist as the air chills after sunset.  This causes twigs to frost up to create those white stick figures on the far bank.  Snowfall from the previous day clings to trees.

Fall Creek freezes from the bottom up.  First the water smoothed boulders accumulate a glaucous ice coat.  Slowly moving water freezes from the edges, in stages, the middle stage an ornate filagree.  The stream narrows downstream where the surface ice first joins.  As the year progresses through February the creek gradually recedes under the ice, replaced by an ice road.

What is an esker ridge?  As the last glaciers melted 10,000+ years ago, the channels carrying meltwater and sediment, under the glaciers, deposited these winding ridged hills.  One of the outcomes was the channel of Fall Creek was altered to flow through the field of eskers among which, in the 19th century, a dam and water mill were created.  It made barrels and furniture.  My former home, in this photograph, was converted from the workshop of that mill.

44 thoughts on “Fall Creek Winter

  1. Interesting description of how the creeks freezes. Loved the look of the “ornate filigree”, like a lacy edge of curiosity. Wonderful photo, Michael. 🙂

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  2. A beautiful image, Michael. It’s hard for an Aussie girl to appreciate life in this setting! We do have our snow fields, and areas where snow falls (sporadically and short lived). However, to truly understand life in this setting is quite a grasp, as incredibly mesmerising as the scene is it must have been a struggle, at times?

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      1. Oh my! I did follow the link; however, I didn’t read all the description thinking it was a repeat of your post. Wasn’t I wrong! It amazes me the lengths some photographers go to get ‘that’ image. Poor you; that must have been absolutely awful to spend the winter like that. Though, I must say, the ‘capture’ is very special, indeed.

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  3. I can’t stand cold winter but I like this shot.

    I especially like how those frosted branches at the edge of the left third stand out against the shadowed snow in the background. It’s a beautiful detail.

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  4. Beautiful description and so glad you shared this about eskers. You know I have been twice to an Ohio esker and posted about it; but misspelled it as “escher.” (Who obviously was a great artistic photographer, especially those neverending stairs. . .)

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  5. I love your photos. This shot is perfect. You captured the best in everything. Winter in NY is a photographer’s delight. I just could not take the winter cold anymore so we moved from Oyster Bay in Long Island to Johns Island in Charleston in 2011.

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  6. We first cane to Charleston in 1993 when we were checking out places to retire in the South and after three trips, we decided it was the place for us. You definitely have to visit Charleston but beware, it bewitches everyone who comes here. They want to stay.

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  7. Michael, this is a wonderful photo — there’s such an essence of stillness and beauty of winter. I’m so glad that I saw this. Seeing it uplifted my day! (And I don’t usually love wintertime 🙂 ). Thanks for the description … very interesting how the lake freezes.

    Lovely to connect with you, Michael. I hope you and your wife are doing really well. Debbie

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  8. Hi You are so interesting! I don’t think I have read something like this before. So nice to find another person with some genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality! thanks

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  9. The beautiful photo makes me long for winter. Here the temperatures are much too high for the time of year. It’s only been freezing for 1 day… I hope we get a few more white days. In the meantime I can only enjoy your beautiful picture there by the creek.

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