Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Winters Past

Right now we are in what I call "seasons transition". Nature can't really make up her mind....still winter, or already spring? The result is not necessarily picturesque....mud and brown grass dominating the scene.
I am, on the other hand, still completely in winter mode since my mind is preoccupied with my very soon up coming trip to the polar bears. So this needed to be a winter blog!
And that's when a well sorted archive comes in handy...;-)
I established White Mountain Photography in July 2003, so the 2003/04 winter was my first "professional" winter. That gave me the idea to search through my images, year by year, to see if I can come up with a special "winter" image for each year. Easy task, as my photography hard drive only counts 195081 files...

Here are the results:

- 2004 -
Oak Leaf frozen in Merced River, Yosemite National Park
This image was actually taken with film, good old Velvia...does anyone remember? Shortly after I took that image another photographer came over to see what I was photographing. Happy with what he saw, he set up his tripod right next to mine...and broke halfway in, taking the leaf with him....A truly unique photo...

- 2005 -
Yosemite Chapel in Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park
A friend and I had planned that winter to go up to Yosemite. As the weather report showed a clearing storm and nothing than sunshine ahead, we packed the car and went. As you can see, the snow storm had NOT cleared, but was in a full swing for another 3 or 4 much to weather forecasts...

- 2006 -
Polar Bear Cubs, Wapusk National Park
My second time in Churchill, but my first time out on the tundra in late winter for the cubs. Wapusk means "white bear" in Cree and this park is one of the few places in the world where, in late February, one can see the little cubs emerge from the dens with their mom.
Easy to see why I am going back, right?

- 2007 -
Horsetail Falls, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park
Every February, for a few days, the sun sets in such an angle that this little waterfall lights up as if it would be on fire. 2007 only a few knew about the phenomenon and we photographer happily chatted as we were waiting for THE moment. I went back many times and every year more and more photographers showed up. In the end you had to basically camp out hours before sunset at your preferred spot...or it would have been taken. I haven't been there for the last 4 years, it would be interesting to know how far that frenzy went. Nevertheless an amazing sight!
For more info and more photos check out my February 2012 blog.

- 2008 -
Aurora Borealis, Wapusk National Park
Polar bears are not the only attraction in the park. Most nights, as long as they are clear, the sky opens up for an stunning show. Not much sleep is to be had while you are there, but one can always sleep back home...;-)

- 2009 -
Sandhill Cranes at Sunset, Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, Lodi, California
This is the only image without snow and ice, but winter in California means migration, bird migration. In December thousands of sandhill cranes flock to the San Joaquin Delta. In the early hours of the evening one can watch them displaying their intricate dance before they all gather and leave to roost in shallow lakes or rivers.

- 2010 -
Amazing Antarctica
Imagine a place, basically left in it's natural state....frozen in time. Overwhelming landscape, fearless wild life...this is Antarctica! Click here to read about my very first visit to the white planet.
I will be giving a presentation about Antarctica on March 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm at the Centre 64 in Kimberly...snow and ice guaranteed!

- 2011 -
El Capitan, Yosemite National Park
On our yearly pilgrimage to Horsetail Falls we thoroughly got into a white out. Blizzards for 3 days, this was one of the very few semi clear moments. No light on the falls and we had to evacuate the park because it was in immediate danger of being totally snowed in....the whole story here.

- 2012 -
Mocca's first and last winter in Canada
We moved from California to Canada in winter...BIG mistake...when the moving truck has to put on chains and still can't make it to your place, you know you are in trouble...;-)

- 2013 -
Ice Arch, Pleneau Bay, Antarctica
Did I mention the overwhelming landscape? That little dot in the middle of the image is a zodiac with passengers....That year I was fortunate to spend half a season, all together 6 trips to the peninsula, in Antarctica. Enough times you think? No way, I'm scheduled to go again this coming winter...maybe I should call my presentation addicting Antarctica ;-)
Blogs from this time spent in Antarctica:

- 2014 -
Nose Plow
A place that is very special to me and a place I had visited in spring, summer and fall but never in winter is the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre. In March 2014 the boys and I made arrangements for a winter walk with the wolves. To my utter disappointment it thawed the week before...we drove towards Golden in rain, looking at mud....then, suddenly, shortly after Radium the rain turned into snow. The closer we got to Golden, the more the landscape around us transformed into winter wonderland. And we had a terrific outing with Flora and Scrappy Dave!

- 2015 -
Kimberley Skihill
Dramatic sky over our "home hill". One lucky moment where I actually was close to a camera to catch the colors of the moment.

Off to Churchill now!