Friday, January 1, 2016

Mosquito Hill in December

It's not every year we get to Mosquito Hill in December. It doesn't take much snow for most of the paths to get tricky to impossible to traverse. There is cross country and snow shoeing, but we never seem to get properly set up for those.

This year, of course, has been unusually warm, so we made it up three times.

Winter is a bit of a challenge for the color photographer, but the moss tries to take up the slack.  I don't want to put anything in anybody's brain, but I can't help but see sort of a Disney cartoon face in the front of this rock.

To give you a sense of place, if I were also taking the greening of the hill switchback picture, the bottom of the tripod and my feet would be in the background of that image.

It was extremely foggy on the drive up and I was really looking forward to photographing at Mosquito Hill in it, but it cleared a bit as we approached New London. From the top of the hill, you could kind of see the northern limits of the fog.

In the early part of the month, we had several days below freezing.  The duckweed frozen into the oxbow was still green.

The fog made it a little dark, but it was so still you could get long enough exposures to do close ups of the seed pods in the meadow.

Two weeks later, it was all about the high water.  I can almost understand what's going on in Missouri. It's pretty typical of these lowlands to be under water for most of the spring, but in winter they're usually quite dry. The Wolf isn't flooding anything but a few riverside cabins, but it's plenty high to join with the oxbow and come up about as far in the lowland forest as I've ever seen it.

The bridges to the platforms were just barely out of the water.

These platforms are hinged to the bridge to rise and fall with the level of the oxbow.  Usually at this time of year they're going downhill with the platform sitting right on the bottom, which is often dry. This is about as high as they go.

It slopes up pretty quickly to the meadow, but there was water about two steps behind me.

Just after Christmas, we went up with Andy and Kristin. The switchback was even more colorless and without a source of fresh leaves, the paths of the hikers get traced by a slightly greyer line.

The sun shown for a bit, but we got there pretty late and the sun doesn't hang around that long on December 27. The extreme low angle really highlights the layers. It's tough to imagine this being the bottom of some PreCambrian sea, but then, that was long before North America was a specific continent.

The sun was setting while we were still coming down the hill, so that's going to be it for a while.

The next day about a foot of snow in high winds (it was officially declared a blizzard by the weather service) covered most of central and northern Wisconsin. Probably lots of interesting drifts if you can get to them.

Happy New Year and have a great Perihelion celebration tomorrow afternoon.

All with the Populist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.

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