David Barthel - North Shore Images PhotographyDavid Barthel North Shore Images Photography
David Barthel

Photo Journal & News

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Summer's Distance

We've been truly spoiled for much of the last month here in Minnesota with beautiful warm sunny days in conjunction with spectacular fall color. But with last week's major storm system and its accompanying bout of snow, Mother Nature cast a powerful reminder that we are indeed entering late autumn and - love it or hate it - winter.

I find winter to be an especially peaceful time along the North Shore. Gone are the throngs of summer travelers that congest the roads and popular landmarks. The cold and snow that invades the region seems to slow the pace of life somewhat and quiet the landscape (fresh snow actually does absorb sound). Lake Superior's freezing waters can also sculpt stunning ice formations when cold waves solidify into intricate layers of ice upon the rugged shore. The steam that rises from the lake on early subzero mornings adds a visual dimension to conditions very well sensed by our fingers and toes. And, if Lake Superior freezes over, strong winds commonly blow monstrous ice sheets ashore where they may break up into shards larger than mattresses. Winter on the North Shore is a truly unique experience, without the crowds.

The photograph above was taken last winter along the Gooseberry Falls State Park shoreline. It will be a few months before the surface of Lake Superior starts to freeze as in the photo since it takes a lot of cold weather to freeze such a large body of water. Hence, shipping activity on the lake usually lasts into January. But, with night increasingly encroaching upon day, temperatures tumbling below freezing, and snow starting to color the landscape white, summer is starting to seem . . . well, very distant.

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