North Pond, Before The Snow. January 11, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: beaver lodge, Canon 24mm f3.5L TS-E II lens, north pond, pond ice, Savoy State Forest, sunset, tilt, tilt-shift photography
Rumor has it that the next couple of days will deliver us from our present brownscape with a splattering of snow, sleet and freezing rain.
I’ve wished hard for the former, but will accept the latter with, um, grace and resignation.
“The Latter” will likely compromise the just-now-forming pond ice up in Savoy. I’ve been waiting for that, too, but those bogs seem to generate their own heat, and hadn’t yet been trustworthy to support the weight of interlopers like me.
None the less, not wanting to miss what I’ve waited so long for, I headed up to Savoy State Forest this afternoon and ventured out onto North Pond, where a couple of ice fishermen attested to the likelyhood that I’d not perish in a watery grave. “Five inches,” one proclaimed as I headed out onto the ice, and as he had chopped several fishing holes, I figured he knew more than I did.
The late afternoon light found the growing pond ice crawling up the sides of the granite boulders jutting from its shallows, shattering and melting and refreezing beneath a sky of gathering clouds:
In the long run, the ice will win. But for these present seasons, the granite will bend the ice to its will and weight, sending it skyward to wither in the dry air.
I continued along the pond’s edge, skirting thin spots as they appeared. A fallen log, rotted and infested with insects, lay as a feast for boring birds and dotted with their drillings:
…though the pristine ice suggested that the borings had happened while the tree stood upright.
Farther along, a mysterious mound jutted from the shoreline beneath a storm-damaged tree:
…A beaver lodge!
I circumnavigated it, knowing that these industrious critters keep passageways open for easy access, and approached cautiously from the other side:
A patch of thin ice separated me from the lodge as I stood listening to a loud, rapid munching from within, punctuated by ecstatic, wheezy moans of pleasure. It was a delightful moment in my day, and I spent quite a while standing there as silently as possible, smiling like a child. 🙂
Then I crept closer to the thin-ice access used by the tenants to get to the shore and the fresh woody shoots which provide the bark they eat. Here their dooryard canal is roofed over by a canopy of thin ice pushed up by the last cold night and constrained by the season’s accrual of denser matter:
Beavers are amazing, both for their engineering feats and for their social structures. I’m good with having them protected, though I understand the arguments of folks whose properties and water wells are compromised by their unbridled industry.
Along the way I spotted a bit of color in the ice, which turned out to be a fisherman’s minnow, laid to rest in the cold grey ground of his birth:
But the light was waning, and the temps were dropping as the sun dived toward the horizon.
So I set up for a shot of the partly cloudy skies going all Technicolor and stuff.
Well, they didn’t. What I got instead was another detail of a granite interruption to the ice’s dictum, with a bit of color to set it off:
Not spectacular, but still, it gives me a chance to share what I saw with you, my friends.
All of these are brought to you by Elliot, my Canon L-series TS-E II tilt-shift lens. What it lacks in compositional flexibility, it makes up for in front-to-back clarity.
Next, the aftermath of this oncoming weather event.
Cheers, – R