Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bear Lake Polar Plunge

The Bear Lake Polar Plunge has grown to a big event since my first post about it January 2011.  This year, for the first time since I have seen it, the lake is frozen, and a big hole had to be cut in the ice.  The air temperature was about freezing.  Participants paid $25 each for the chance to jump into the frigid lake.  For this they received a t-shirt and the proceeds were donated to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.
The Plunge takes place at Garden City Marina on the Utah end of Bear Lake.  Many of the jumpers were in costume.

There were so many spectators that the ice started to sag and water flowed out of the hole.  People moved away from the edge because they thought the ice might break, and the water flowed back into the hole again.

A viking family went in together.  This little boy didn't seem to be having a very good time.

After the Plunge ended, we went out for pizza with two other couples from our Sharp Shooters Camera Club.

I have heard people say that there is nothing to do here in winter, but I don't think that is the case at all.  There are plenty of events, and there is so much to see.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cisco Fishing at Bear Lake

Bonneville Cisco are a small fish found only in Bear Lake, and fishing for them with dip nets is done nowhere else in the world.  I left home in the dark this morning for the 45 minute drive to Cisco Beach in Utah.  It was snowing lightly, so the light was not very good for photography.
There were quite a few people there when we
arrived.  Cisco can only be caught for a couple of weeks around January when they gather around the shoreline rocks to spawn.

The lake is frozen this year so we needed to chop holes with an ax.  Years when the lake doesn't freeze, people wear boots or waders and stand in the lake with their dip nets.
In this photo, my friend Bill watches his son, Ben, catch some fish.  In back, my neighbor, Dan, brings more fish onto the ice.  The ice was thin where we cut our holes because it had shifted around, opening cracks which then refroze.  The lake ice was still roaring and cracking as it continued to move with the wind and currents..

We all caught our limits of 30 fish.  I cleaned half of them to eat, and the other half will be used for bait to catch lake trout.  Cisco don't taste as good as trout to me, but aren't bad battered and fried.

I was glad to have the chance to participate in this unique activity.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pine Creek, Wyoming

Pine Creek, Wyoming, is one of my favorite locations for winter photography.  Linda and I went there with our neighbors, Connie and Larry Hymas, today to see what our frigid weather had created. We had a good lunch at Blondie's in Cokeville then headed for the creek.
Pine Creek is in a deep canyon that gets very little sun during the winter.  The sunlight in this photo was striking high on the canyon wall and reflecting in the creek.
Deep in the canyon, the light shifts toward blue, so sometimes photos are much more pleasant in black and white.  Droplets of water splash onto rocks and freeze quickly, then more droplets add to the ice until fantastic, delicate formations are created.  Some of these formations hang over the waterfalls that created them.
The moving water of the creek brushes against snow covered branches and creates ice plates that spread over the water's surface.  All of these delicate ice formations disappear very quickly when there is a day or two with temperatures above freezing.
There are a lot of small cascades along the creek, and this is the largest waterfall with a drop of about ten feet.
When a big tree falls across the creek, the tangle of snow covered limbs tells an interesting nature story.
A frosted tree and a waterfall make a nice winter scene.  Just a little wind would destroy this delicate frost.

To take these photos, I used a tripod and set the ISO to 100, which is as low as it will go on my camera. This allowed me to use slow shutter speeds to blur the moving water in the creeks and waterfalls.  It was very cold, so I kept an extra battery in an inside pocket.  High boots were needed to climb down banks and through deep snow. I have trouble using gloves with camera controls, so I had to stop to warm my hands frequently.

We had a great time with Connie and Larry, who are active members of our camera club.  I can't wait to see their photos.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bald Eagles

It has been very cold here, minus 20 degrees F two nights ago.  Today was overcast with light snow, so it warmed up to about plus 10 degrees F.  Much more comfortable, but the little bit of light was completely flat.
I discovered four bald eagles near Ovid, Idaho with a small kill.
Two left as soon as I stopped my truck, but the other two took turns pushing each other off the kill.
The eagle on the ground defended itself from the aerial attack, but would usually be pushed away.
There didn't seem to be any hard feelings.  The eagle that had been pushed off the kill would wait awhile then try again.  Meanwhile, the magpies all waited for leftovers.

These photos were taken with an ancient Sigma 170-500 lens from the cab of my truck.  The heavy lens was hand held, braced on a Puffin Pad, which is a soft base that hooks onto the truck window.  The old lens lacks contrast in conditions as dark and flat as these, so some adjustments were made in Photoshop Elements.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Brian and Laura's Wedding

My son, Brian, married Laura Montano on December 28, 2012.  Linda and I flew to Tucson for the wedding.
This photo of the wedding party shows Laura's daughters, Kim and Melanie, Laura, Brian, Owen Rosner, and Ed Chang.

Kim and Melanie enjoy a moment with their Mother, now Laura Walker

Ed Chang, Brian, and best man Owen Rosner have been friends since high school.

Laura and Brian are with Reverend Hicks, who performed the wedding at the River Of Life Baptist Church in Tucson.

Owen delighted everyone with his Best Man's speech.
I wish Brian and Laura a long, happy, loving marriage.  Brian waited a long time before he found the right woman for him.  I welcome Laura, her daughters, and the rest of her family, and hope that our families will blend together nicely.  It was fun spending time with Owen and Ed too.

Linda and I stayed with Merry and Lou Lewis in their gorgeous home in Tucson, and I want to thank them for their hospitality.  I have known Merry since high school and it is wonderful that our friendship has continued all these years.