About two weeks ago, I was feeling a little stir crazy and needed to get some fresh air. This winter hasn’t provided very well for my favorite winter photography opportunities. We’ve had almost no snow, no ice storms, and only intermittent periods that freeze streams and wetlands and provide ice bubbles and other patterns. I looked outside and the light was reasonably good, so I pushed away from my desk, grabbed my gear, and headed over to Lincoln Creek.
I was planning to walk the prairie in search of interesting seeds or anything else that caught my eye. As I walked past the creek itself, however, I noticed with some surprise that it appeared to be still frozen. I guess the high banks and trees kept it shaded enough that even with recent warm weather, it hadn’t yet thawed. I gingerly tested the ice depth and found it sufficient to hold my weight. The surface of the ice was littered with leaves and seeds (as well as some less attractive litter like cans, plastic bags, etc.). I started walking slowly with my eyes down, scanning for anything interesting.
The dappled light through the tree branches was both interesting and challenging. A few times, I found a leaf or seed I liked the look of, but it was in the shade instead of the light. Sometimes, I photographed it anyway, but more often, I marked the spot and returned a few minutes later when the sun’s movement had shifted the shadows away from my target.
After about 45 minutes or so, I crawled back up the eroded banks and headed back to the truck. As often happens, the photos I came away with weren’t anything like what I’d envisioned before arriving, but that wasn’t a bad thing. I guess it’s yet more evidence that it’s always worth getting out to explore. You never know what you’ll find – even on an eroded. litter-filled creek on the edge of town.