Three trees on Clear Lake in LaPorte, Indiana. What's interesting is that these trees are actually in the water (you just can't tell in winter). Not sure what type of trees they are - they remind me of cypress trees.

There are a few cypress trees in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore- holdouts from long ago that found a perfect micro environment in the dune wetlands.

Sand, Water, Ice and Sky

The mouth on Kintzele Ditch in Winter. The stream flows under the 10 - 15 foot tall shelf ice into Lake Michigan. Even with all the ice, the path of this stream changes daily.

Mike by Frozen Lake Michigan

Mike stands on shore next to shelf ice that reached 15 feet tall in some places. It extends hundreds of feet into the lake and all along the shore. Looks like he visited the arctic last weekend.

Creating a New Landscape

Unseen waves pound the edge of the shelf ice, spraying water 30 or 40 feet into the air - to further build the ice shelf. At times, there were 5 to 10 separate sprays of water in sight along the shore. It was an eerie afternoon, as we were the only humans around for miles, and the sounds of the waves were muted by the ice and snow. It was almost surreal to walk along the beach.

Shelf Ice along the Dunes

Winter along the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan produces mounds of shelf ice. The mounds here are over 8 feet tall at the shore, and most likely around 15 to 20 feet tall at the water's edge, but I'm not venturing out any further to find out. Here I'm standing on a small mound of shelf ice, but since I know the area, I know that the water beneath the ice is only about one foot deep.

It's very inviting to attempt to walk out over the mounds to the water's edge where the waves pound the ice and send water and chunks of ice 30 feet into the air. While the ice may be 15 feet thick in some places, it may only be 1/2 inch thick a step away. The weight of a small child could break the ice, plunging him to the freezing, churning water 15 feet below, with no chance of climbing up the ice to get out.

The ice is breathtakingly beautiful - especially in person, but it should be observed from the safety of the shore.

Sanctuaries Photo Exhibit


The opening reception of Sanctuaries: A Photography Exhibit was last night, February 4, 2010. The reception was warm and positive; lots of great photographers and guests- 220 people attended the opening reception.

Sanctuaries Photo Exhibit pano2
Just before the reception was over, I captured this panoramic photo of the W. F. Wellman Exhibit Hall, to help convey the size of the space.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello!
The exhibit runs everyday 8 am to 5 pm until March 4, 2010.

Old Farm, New Farm

The future is taking over this old farm, yet still allowing things to continue pretty much as they used to. In rural Indiana, over 120 wind turbines have been erected on this wind farm - with a total of 200 mega watts of power by the time it's complete. It should produce enough energy to supply 60,000 homes with electricity.

Farmers receive money for each turbine installed on their property, and they are still able to utilize all the land around the tower for farming.

Winter View

Lake Michigan was once again freezing over, and the crunching of the pack ice could be heard all the way at the top of the dunes. The low angle of the evening sun highlighted the ice. To get an idea of the scale of things here, the mounds of shelf ice near the shore were over 8 feet tall.

We continued on to the right, climbing up and down the frozen dunes. It's easier in some ways since you don't sink into the sand, but it's more difficult at times because the sand is frozen and very slippery.

The kids and I slid down the dune to the lake shore. You can't bring a sled here, but they just slid down on their backs! I discovered I might really like extreme skiing since I slid down on two feet - and made it down the 90 foot dune without falling.

Frozen Beach

Even after the thaw we had last week, the shelf ice on Lake Michigan remains. In places it's almost 20 feet tall where the waves piled up the chunks of flow ice. From this perspective, it appears the beach continues for a few hundred feet toward the lighthouse, but in fact, I'm standing at the shore, everything you see is ice. The waves and wind have deposited sand on top of the shelf ice, making it look like an extension of the beach. While the ice may be several feet thick in places, it's likely there are areas less than an inch thick, making it deadly to walk upon.

Here's the same area only a few months before:
Soon it Will Be Frozen

St. Joseph, Michigan

Evening at the Dunes

Following a long walk around the icy beach, and a very slippery climb up these dunes (in thigh-deep snow) we were treated to a bit of sun. Lake Michigan was frozen almost as far as you could see, and the warm sunlight bathed the ice as it set far off to our left.

Sand Covered Snow

Winds are beginning to cover the snow with sand from the ever moving sand dunes at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Morning Frost

Early morning fog and cold temperatures created some excellent hoar frost on Sunday. At just the right time, the skies cleared and the sun came out- just long enough for me to capture these images.

Here's a close up of some branches. I'm still amazed at how the 1/8th inch long crystals form almost perpendicular to the stem of the plant and stick out like thorns.
Frosty Morning

Glazed in Ice

A thick layer of ice glazes the supports for the catwalk leading to the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouse.

It's amazing how the spray from Lake Michigan can reach so far up the catwalk. The wind creates some great patterns in the ice as well.

Sunny Winter Day Along Lake Michigan

Weeks of cold weather and the recent lake effect snow storm created a beautiful winter landscape out of Lake Michigan. The great lake was frozen as far as the eye could see.

Snow Drifts

Following a few days of constant lake effect snow, Porter and LaPorte Counties had their share of snow drifts - especially along the lake front. This drift was taller than the van on the road! The plows kept it off the street, but high winds were inching it closer and closer to the traffic.

Clinging Ice

About an hour before sunset, the clouds allowed a bit of blue sky and sunshine to reach the ground. The low angle of the sun offered perfect lighting of the outer range light of the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouses.

High winds and single digit temperatures covered the windward side of the lighthouse with ice. The ice on the catwalk appears to bend in the wind like Spanish Moss hanging from a Live Oak tree. The ice formed while the winds blew, causing the icicles to form interesting angles pointing away from the wind.

Gelid Close Up

Gelid Close Up
Gelid Close Up

Following a slippery and hazardous walk on the fenced in portion of the pier in St. Joseph, Michigan, we were able to safely walk out past the inner lighthouse to reach the outer lighthouse. The wind and water had splashed up onto the 35 foot tall lighthouse and completely covered it in a thick layer of ice.

The patterns formed by the high winds are very interesting, giving the lighthouse the appearance of a hairy monster.

Chris couldn't resist getting up close to capture some great images.

Glowing Ice

click to enlarge
Glowing Ice
Glowing Ice

Wind, cold temperatures and Lake Michigan combine to make interesting ice sculptures. These two inch diameter railings on the St. Joseph, Michigan breakwater are being covered with ice over a foot thick. A few more windy days and the railings will be covered in ice up to three feet thick.

Here, the ice glistened as it captured the setting sun. The surface of the pier was also covered in several inches of smooth ice, making the walk to the inner lighthouse very difficult.

Looking "UP"

Icing "UP"
On Tuesday afternoon, Chris and I decided to explore the outer range light in St. Joseph, Michigan. After a slow, slippery walk from shore to the end of the railings on the pier, we noticed it may be possible to venture further. If it weren't for the ice covered railings, I would not have even set foot onto the pier.

Once past the railings, the pier heads out a few hundred more feet, and this area was mostly clear of ice, and seemed safe enough to walk on. We were able to walk out to the inner light with no problems, but had to cautiously walk around the inner light to get to the last couple of hundred feet of pier to see the iced outer light.

Lake Michigan never fails to impress, as the outer side of the outer range light was covered in thick ice. The wind shapes the ice into intricate patterns, and these seemed to be like curls of hair on a giant monster. Click on the image and go to flickr to view the largest available image to see what I mean.

Winter has only just begun - I'm optimistic we'll have some more icing yet to come!

December Rose

December Rose
December Rose

Aside from making travel difficult, the ice storm on Christmas Eve created some beautiful sights outdoors.
Our Knockout roses bloomed until mid December. The remaining blossoms withered and then were covered in ice.

Our crabapple trees were also made into ice covered sculptures.
Frozen Crabapple