The polar vortex got a lot of press over the past few weeks, and for good reason. It was cold. Not the coldest ever along Lake Michigan, but still, respectably cold. The result has been more ice coverage over the big lake than has been seen in years. From the shore, it looks like an infinite expanse of ice. Here, the late afternoon sun streams across the frozen waters along the shore of the Door Peninsula, the shadows cast by the lowering sun accentuating both the rocky shore and the textures of the snow covered ice.
Algoma, Wisconsin is known for its sport fishing fleet that brings anglers to the game fish in Lake Michigan's pristine waters. But, it is also one of the more picturesque towns along the Lakeshore. The light that guards the town's harbor entrance is always a good subject for a photo.
Robert La Salle Park in Southern Door County is a quiet, out of the way place to enjoy nature and the vastness of Lake Michigan. The part is on two levels and in winter is rarely visited. This single Birch overlooking the newly formed ice along the lakeshore seemed to magnify the Winter solitude of the park.
When conditions are right in early winter, fog blowing in from Lake Michigan can coat the landscape with a magical frosting of ice crystals. This panorama features a view across a pasture to a farmers woodlot, covered in frost, about 35 miles inland from Lake Michigan. With the temperature hovering near the freezing point, this scene lasted only a few hours.
By early December, the crowds of visitors that flock to Door County for the summer months are long gone. Many of the boutique shops that fill the peninsula's quaint villages of Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister Bay and others are closed for the season. Traffic on the county's roads is reduced to just a few local residents. Add in fog, drizzle and snow showers and the Door Peninsula takes on an ethereal quiet and charm. At Anderson's Dock in Ephraim, the deceptively calm waters of the bay lap the newly frozen shore while fog shrouds the forest cover of Peninsula State Park across the water. Meanwhile, on the Lake Michigan side of the Peninsula, strong winds driving up the big lake from the Southeast whip up massive waves that crash into the rugged cliffs of Cave Point....
In the early morning hours of November 17, after an unusually warm and rainy night for mid-November, dawn broke over a fog-shrouded Lake Winnebago. At 6 am, somewhere out over the lake, hidden by the mists, an outboard motor was running. One last fisherman taking advantage of the last mild weather before the lake freezes over for winter.
Our second featured image is of the Fox River after the spring thaw. Downstream of the Lake Winnebago system, the combined waters of the Fox and Wolf Rivers flow past the Thousand Islands Nature Center creating dramatic channels of fast moving water passed islands of fresh Spring foliage. The area teams with waterfowl, songbirds, and birds of prey, including bald eagles. White Tail deer are a common sight.