My photographic mind has not been thinking about landscape images lately…It has been focused on film making and bird photography…and mainly up in the Sax-Zim Bog.

But an email tip from Paul Sundberg about the ice-covered trees up the North Shore at Tettegouche State Park got me thinking about landscapes again. It was the “best ice in 10 years,” Paul said. But, alas, my schedule wouldn’t allow me to make it up to Tettegouche this week. Where could I go that might have experienced the gale forced winds of last week? There’s only one place within a half hour of Duluth that might have ice-covered trees…Stoney Point.

Halfway to Two Harbors and straddling the St. Louis County/Lake County line, this point (really more of a bump in the Lake Superior shoreline than an actual point) gets the fury of Northeast winds. The shallow offshore waters and shoreline bedrock create the perfect combination for big breaking waves and major spray.

But when I got there I was quite disappointed. Yes, the rocks were covered in ice but none of the nearby spruces had more than a partial coat. I was NOT feeling inspired. I thought, “I should have been here at sunrise when the red light of dawn would have enlivened the scene, possibly making the ice seemingly glow.

There were a few hardy shrubs literally encased in an inch or two of ice. I could make the 2-foot tall plants look much larger by getting low and shooting wide. I crawled around on the sloping ice to get the best vantage point, and at one point started sliding towards a small cliff that would have dropped me right into an icy Lake Superior. Fortunately, gravity gave up on me and I came to a stop 10 feet from the edge.

Handheld test shots revealed very little color in the sky or the ice…pretty blah. So I turned the camera’s white balance to a “cooler” setting–the one for incandescent light symbolized on the camera’s info-LCD by a stylized lightbulb. This gave the scene a blue tint and the sky a bit of a pink pop. Sure, I could have done this in post, but I like the instant feedback of the LCD.

Later in Aperture, I “warmed up” the light to K6200 and saturated the magentas. No, its not exactly what I saw that evening but it does represent the mood of Lake Superior on a cold February dusk.

Canon 7D, Sigma 10-20mm, f16 at 1/50, ISO 200, tripod (White Balance set to “incandescent light.”)

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