I could not think of a better title for this photo. To me, it speaks conflict in so many forms. This day in late December was the transition from an extended mild fall to a bitter, biting winter. The crepuscular rays (yes, that’s what they are actually called), offer a sense of peace in contrast to the tumult of the icy waters below. Crepuscular rays are colloquially known as a Jacob’s Ladder, Gateways to Heaven, Buddha’s Fingers, Jesus Beams, God’s Rays, sunbeams, cloud breaks and many other names. It is not surprising that many of the names have religious connotations as crepuscular rays seem to be a message from the gods. What message is being expressed here? “Winter is coming?”
The very waters are churning in conflict, rising in sharp peaks and churning over each other, urgent for the shore.
The temperatures had dropped from a wondrous 13 degrees celsius mere days ago to a blustery minus 6 with a 60km/h wind that literally sucked the breath from my lungs and froze my fingers numb in minutes. While I love being outdoors whenever possible, this instance may be an exception, as it was truly unpleasant, except for the scene unfolding in front to me. From the comfort of a warm car or house, this may have been a vista I could have revelled at for hours.
Nikon D300 Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 82mm 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250
As my fingers froze inside my gloves, I still took the time to look at the wind driven waves in awe. With 50 km/h winds pushing the waters toward the beach, long ribbons of water rolled over themselves, pulling sand from the shallow waters below them.
Such is the case here. A long wave, about a meter high, rolls in and carries strange forms within it, as the darker sand is lifted from the lakebed and mixed inside the wave as they are driven ashore.
I was trying to capture the variations inside these waves but only have a few images to share, as it was too cold to remain on the exposed beech more for more than a few minutes. If I let my imagination wander, this one remains me of some of the prehistoric cave paintings of bison, which I can almost see moving inside the wave.
Nikon D300 Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @200 mm 1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 250
In stark contrast to the past few weeks, the final remaining days of December are reminding us that, despite the delay, the inevitable cycle of autumn to winter has continued.
The past weekend I had an opportunity to visit the shores of Lake Huron once more. I was there in January of this year and there is a significant difference. In January, the lakeshore was a wonderland of bizarre and outlandish shapes and structures, ranging for ice-volcanoes to vast sheets of clear blue ice strewn with soccer-ball sized spheres of ice, as far as the eye could see.
Due to our extremely mild fall, the lake remains ice-free, yet starkly cold looking. Yesterday, the winds came in from the North around 50 km/h with an air temperature around minus three degrees Celsius. In the time it took to set up my tripod, the combination of damp wind from the lake and cold temperatures, had removed the feeling from my fingers. The wind howled and raged around me as I made a few photos of the Point Clarke lighthouse and the adjacent shoreline, before packing up and heading inland and out of the biting wind.
The photo above is one of several I made of this scene. I believe it captures the violent movement of the wind-whipped waves, the sale blue December sky and the brilliance of the pale white lighthouse nicely. It looks like I’m moving into winter photography mode now.
Nikon D300 Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8, @ 70 mm 1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 250