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.
The winter of 2011 was one of the snowiest on record in Northeast Wisconsin. The constant snowfall was a challenge for everyone, including the local wildlife. On February 20th of that year, this Chickadee huddled into the protective branches of a snow covered tree to try and shelter from what was called by local weather forecasters "Winter Storm Dana." The storm was expected to produce a foot or more of snowfall, along with wind gusts up to 40 mph resulting in white out conditions. This photo was taken on the morning of the storm, just as it was starting to strengthen. About 5 inches of snow had already fallen, and while temperatures hovered around 20 degrees F., the strong winds made it feel much, much colder. We spent about an hour outside working with this bird in the storm. It seemed glad for the company.
At Behreandt Visuals, we spend a lot of time outdoors, walking in the woods and looking for interesting perspectives on the Midwest landscape. This year, what we noticed in particular was the long, deep grasp winter had on the land. It seemed like for months and months the world was encased in a coating of white snow and frost, with only dead, brown stalks and stems left behind in its wake. It seemed to take forever for life to return to the wild.
Finally, it did return, and when it did it exploded on the scene with a vengeance. Recent days have seen an eruption of color: every shade of green punctuated with bright bursts of color from Spring wildflowers. In recent days, we've seen regular and sometimes heavy rain. Coupled with the season's first warm temperatures, this has the woods bursting with vigorous growth. We've documented this year's amazing Spring in sharp, bright photos that would look great on any wall. Here are some samples:
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