IN FOCUS

 
A Very Cold Morning !
Mike Grandmaison, January 01, 2012 at 12:08 PM

The winter of 2011 - 2012 has been a rather mild one to date. I don't believe the mercury has dipped much below - 20 degrees Celsius for more than a couple of days before January, which is quite unusual for the Winnipeg area. A few weeks ago, I ventured out to the Whiteshell area with a couple of buddies, Peter Blahut and John Bykerk. We left Winnipeg around 5 AM to arrive at our chosen location of Sturgeon Rapids in Whiteshell Provincial Park well before sunrise.

We arrived at our destination and began the 20 - 30 minute walk from the parking area to the junction where the Sturgeon Rapids empties into Nutimik Lake. Temperatures hovered around - 20 degrees Celsius, cold but quite comfortable with the proper clothing. The walk was easy enough with only a little bit of snow on the trail but significantly more snow cover here than in and around Winnipeg. My asthma flarred up with the cold weather and slowed me down considerably. Finally reaching our destination, we began to scout the area for photographic opportunities.

 

I always like the contrast of the warm and cool colors at the beginning and end of each day. I found a nice vantage point facing northwest and looking across the lake. Just before the sun began to rise above the horizon, the wind began to make its presence known. Picking up moisture from the partly frozen lake, it became very, very cold. The windchill likely exceeded -40 degrees Celsius. While I was dressed warmly, I neglected to slip on my belaclava which, in retrospect, was a big mistake. The wind was biting on the cheeks and, on more than one occasion, I huddled to warm my face. Back home, I would later discover that my nose suffured significant frostbite and that the skin on my face was blotchy.

 

However, we were there to photograph and photograph we did! Making use of neutral graduated filters to lessen the light contrast, particularly at dawn and after sunrise, I walked about selecting interesting compositions and making some exposures. The rocky shoreline was quite slippery because of the moisture and fog rising above the waters so one had to be particularly vigilent. I had hoped that the fog would be more extensive but it was not to be on this day. After a good three hours at this location, we moved on to the Rainbow Falls area, another 30 minutes into the park. But first we stopped to eat a nice warm breakfast at the White Lake Resort. We spent another hour at Rainbow Falls creating abstract images of the falls eventhough the water flow had quite significantly reduced, normal for this time of the year. We headed back to Winnipeg with yet a few more nice winter images to process.