A segment of the Ice Age Trail runs near the Plover River and it’s one of my favorite places to visit with the camera. This time was pretty near perfect. Sunny and warm, but with ice still present at the waterline. Plus my hubby was with me and he’s good company. Oh and having an extra pair of hands in the field is a bonus.
If you go in one direction, the trail doesn’t get very close to the river so I chose the bit that did. The parking lot was plowed and we were the only ones there for the moment. Over the road we went and soon we were by this mercurial and oddly messy river.
You walk pretty close to the banks on one side and then there’s this cute little crossing. Luckily the rocks weren’t icy, but we had spikes in case they were. And like every other IAT segment I’ve hiked, it has a bench. Most of the time they’re placed in the most scenic or interesting part of the trail and this is no exception.
After this you wander away from the river for a bit and up one of many small ridges.
At a crossroad there’s a helpful sign pointing the way to the river again. It’s a spur, but worth the time.
In winter I rarely use a tripod and I didn’t for any of these either. There were a few times I wished for one, but I made do. Winter landscapes are so bright because of the snow that I find it’s easy to shoot almost everything I come across without one. I did use a polarizer though, to bring up the rocks and sand on the bottom; a very strong point of character for this river.
Because the Plover river’s channel isn’t exactly precise, there is lots of ice for me to play with!! I put the medium telephoto on and went a bit crazy. Luckily my husband found something to do while I was so occupied.
Processing these takes some experience. I made sure I had plenty of contrast; keeping the black and shadow points low and boosting the whites and highlights. I also add more clarity, sharpening and detail enhancement than I would a landscape or flower macro. It’s all to emphasize how crisp, but oddly flowing these natural sculptures are. And of course the depth and color of that river bottom.
And the river bed itself is fascinating. The pebbles, plants and what looks like lichen. Mesmerizing. The water is crystal clear in spots. The purity is a result of how protected it is. There is a fishery nearby and much of its course is wild and free to run where it likes.
It was such perfect timing. The temperatures remained cold enough to preserve the icy beauty and I was just entranced by it. The light was changeable and getting sunnier, but that worked for me, too. The banks are lined with white cedars and you know how much I love those!
It was so peaceful and relaxing. I had my favorite little river, my favorite person and some really amazing conditions to shoot in. All days should be so wondrous. Just look at the light in the water! Hubby helped get this shot by holding some branches out of my way while I braced against a tree. Good to have a little help.
We walked back though stillness and beauty with only birds for company.