North Sand Photography | Cold Morning-Making mistakes

Cold Morning-Making mistakes

December 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

        I got up at 4:30 yesterday morning with the intent to go out and shoot. I didn’t really have a plan so I just got in the car and took off. Seeing that the sky was finally clear of clouds I thought I would take some night sky shots but I needed some dark skies. All I could think of was Devils lake so that’s where I ended up.

I parked on the south shore and pointed my camera (with 14mm lens) north towards Baraboo (mistake one), then I tried to find the horizon by “eyeing” up the angle of the camera instead of using the viewfinder (mistake two). Sometimes you do things that make no sense. I can’t tell you how many times (after shooting) I spend the rest of a day thinking about how I could have done things differently.

Anyway, after shooting some night sky pics I decided to climb the west bluff. There was no wind and although it was very cold, I figured I would be ok spending a few hours on top of the bluff (mistake three).

The hike up was dark and very quiet but I generated enough heat to keep me warm….for a while. I found a place to set up and waited for the light that would wash over the valley at sunrise.....but it never did. I forgot to bring my graduated ND filters and bracketing was just not working so my options were limited and eventually I admitted defeat..

After about an hour and a half I noticed that my black fleece jacket had turned white. My first thought was that I wiped it on the dusty truck earlier in the morning. I soon realized that it was a layer of frost that had built up from the heat that I had generated on the hike up. Now I am getting cold, trying to shoot in disappointing light and getting frustrated with the lack of feeling in my fingers and left big toe. 

My newly acquired frost jacket has now turned me into a freezer…..but I keep waiting to see if the lighting changes. To pass the time i walked around the area and made up words to a song from the 70's group "The Spinners" that was making a non-stop loop through my head. You know how a voice can carry on a quiet morning....if anyone was in the area then they probably heard some interesting stuff. The sun finally moves above the clouds and I got a couple of shots of the glimmering water below. After two and a half hours on top of the bluff I decide to hike back down.

Due to the disappointing morning I thought i'd try and find some “intimate landscape” shots (leaves, frost on moss, mushrooms on dead trees, etc.) on my way down. That’s all great but it’s still cold and the heat packs in my gloves are losing their warmth. I found a few interesting subjects but rushed through them. I then spent the last few minutes of my morning standing in a shallow stream shooting some interesting ice shapes.

At the end of the morning I had taken 38 pictures……I deleted all but two. That’s how it goes sometimes but  I did get in a good hike and the peacefulness of being on that quiet bluff all by myself was something you just can’t buy. I am thankful for that.

Oh yeah, my mistakes….

One- Too much light from the city washed some of my night sky, should have faced south

Two- A horrible and unattractive horizon line. Still can’t figure out why I didn’t use the live view

Three- Underestimated the cold air and the impact on my senses.....Spinners songs??? really??

There’s always next time…hopefully the Spinners have moved on and have been replaced by ahhhh.....Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon)....Yeah....much better.


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