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Just Add Snow

Dustin Abbott

November 25th, 2016

What a difference a week can make!  We had been enjoying an unseasonably mild November, and just last Thursday  (November 17th) I was out for my “day off hike” (I try to get out into the woods and decompress on my day off).  Following a series of trails I arrived at a location where beavers have completely transformed the ecosystem.  This photo shows how they created an “infinity edge pool” by building a dam that has caused a stream running through the area to create a fair sized lake.

I stood near the edge of the dam and shot out over it and then the resulting wetlands from it.  There is clearly enough water in the wetlands that the beavers have built a lodge out in the middle that they can access from underneath the water (safe from predators).  The sky was blue, the dried grasses were a warm color, and while the hardwoods were bare the evergreens provided a nice green contrast.  I processed the image above to bring out all the color; a surprising amount considering the shot was taken on the 17th of November.

But all of that changed late last Saturday night.  We had been warned that a winter system was going to move in and change our unseasonably nice weather.

Did it ever!

It started snowing Saturday night, and didn’t really stop for 48 hours.  It snowed so heavily that I had to cancel service on Sunday night at the church I pastor.  By Monday morning I was shoveling out 40+ centimeters (nearly 18 inches) of snow, with more to come throughout the next day.  

When Thursday (yesterday) came, I geared up in a completely different way for my hike.  Warm layers, deep snow boots, water resistant lined pants, etc…  I used my Cotton Carrier harness system for my camera/lens combo (Canon 5D Mark IV + Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D lens).  The Cotton Carrier has a good rain cover that I kept over the gear when I wasn’t using it as it was snowing again!  I should have brought my snowshoes, too, as I was often sinking in at least a foot with each stride.  It took me much, much longer to reach the site of the beaver dam, and I was shocked by just how much it had been transformed in only a week!

Everything was deeply buried in snow, and, most surprisingly to me, the water was already mostly buried in a layer of ice.  I didn’t think that it would have frozen over that quickly, but apparently the water there is shallow enough that ice formed rapidly.  I’ve added a slight greenish/blue tint to the image for effect, but the complete lack of color in the scene was straight out of camera.  Just add snow…and everything changes.

These two images were taken exactly one week apart…but what a completely different result!  Nature has a way of changing quickly on us.  Last week it was autumn; this week it is winter.  Just add snow.


Gear Used:
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (5D4)
Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D
Adobe Lightroom CC Software for Mac and Windows (Boxed Version)
Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud 1-Year Subscription
Alien Skin Exposure X (Use Code “dustinabbott” to get 10% anything and everything)

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