ON THE FIRST DAY of the new year, before Minnesota’s first big winter storm of 2023, Randy and I followed the paved trail along the Cannon River in North Alexander Park. It’s one of my favorite walking paths, if the wind isn’t blowing biting cold off the frozen river.
I appreciate that the City of Faribault keeps the trail free of snow and ice. That’s always a concern for me. I don’t want to risk falling and breaking a bone.
On this first afternoon in January, I pulled my Canon EOS 60D from the camera bag with hopes of getting some interesting shots. Photographing in winter always proves challenging in a landscape mostly devoid of color. But on this day, blue skies accented with puffs of white clouds provided a backdrop contrast.
Still, finding scenes to photograph takes effort and an eye for detail. I zoomed in on dried weeds along the shoreline, where the riverbank is nearly indistinguishable from the snow-layered Cannon.
And then I noticed, on a riverside picnic table, an icy sculpture. It appeared intentionally placed there, although it could have been thrown onto the tabletop by a snowblower and simply have been a chunk of snow that happened to resemble an animal. Whatever, I found the art interesting, worthy of my pause.
Pausing seems a necessity of January photography in Minnesota. I stopped to study trees, noting stubborn oak leaves clinging to branches as if defying winter.
I saw, too, how barren branches curve in graceful bends unseen in the fullness of other seasons. Trees possess a certain sculptural beauty when posed in winter nakedness.
Across the river, the iconic 1892 Faribault Mill (formerly the Faribault Woolen Mill; it recently acquired a cotton mill in Maine) stands as a symbol of endurance and history. Inside the mill, craftspeople create quality woolen blankets and more that are acclaimed world-wide. I never tire of focusing on this local landmark which merges with the Cannon.
My walk with Randy, who was well ahead of me given all my photographic lagging, proved a much-needed break to stretch my muscles, to breathe in the crisp air of January. As we aimed back toward the van, my fingers numbing from the cold exposure, we met a Green Bay Packers fan walking his dogs. His green and gold attire tipped me to his football allegiance. I greeted him, but, with head phones clamped on, he didn’t reply. Maybe that was for the best given the Packers 41-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings hours later.
I missed the game kick-off, not that I care given my general lack of interest in football. But occasionally I pause to take in the scene, to see the fans in their Vikings attire, to listen to their rising SKOL chant, to appreciate the details, just as I do with my Canon along the Cannon.
© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
what an inspiring post about the beauty of winter. you clearly have an artist’s eye for seeing the beauty and treasures to be found in a challenging season. I’m with you on that ‘chunk of snow,’ it could well be man-made or the work of nature. either way, what a wonderful find. and that sky –
I try to find the beauty in winter wherever and whenever I can.
I like the snow sculpture on the picnic table! Makes you wonder if it was formed and placed there intentionally. I’m glad you noticed it.
I understand the “photographic lagging”. It happens to me all the time too. 😉
I don’t watch much football but I happened to watch that game… ;-(
Ah, the photographic lagging…Randy and Gary could commiserate.
Yes, they sure could.
Beautiful Audrey, I love what your eye sees. ! Sorry I have not commented for a bit lately – but have been loving your posts!
So so good to hear from you again. Thank you for appreciating my work. I haven’t popped over your way for awhile, but just did. As always, your images (especially) and words take me back to my rural roots.
Love love Audrey!!
I can almost feel the crisp, cool air through your photos. The dried milkweed pods strike me as ‘peculiar’ somehow, I can’t quite describe.
That’s an interesting observation about the milkweed pods. I’ve always loved dried milkweed pods.
It is always a good thing to take a moment or two to take in the beauty –there is definite beauty in the winter images you shared today and I am so happy that you and Randy took that stroll to document some both with the lens and with your words.
I’m trying to remember that beauty today as we are dealing with freezing drizzle that iced roadways overnight. Randy still has not left for work, being advised by a co-worker to “not bother trying to get to work.” Vehicles were flying off the road, he said, with even the sanding truck challenged to get out. That was 1.5 hours ago. I expect conditions are improving, albeit slowly. No school again for the grandkids.
As always your photography skills shine with your keen eye for scenery up and close. You even make winter scenery appealing:)
Thank you. I need to get out and do more winter photography. But it’s the cold and ice that keep me from pursuing winter photography as much as I should.
Perhaps a warm up soon in the forecast
The warm up happened on Sunday, but I was busy with the grandkids. More snow coming on Wednesday into Thursday.