Lake Manawa State Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa. Lately, I’ve begun dreaming of the day when the first spot that comes to mind on a cold, foggy, windless morning isn’t the shore west of Boy Scout Island, where I’ve greeted countless sunrises since 2011. I can’t decide if my obsession with this place represents some type of photographic rut or if the near-daily visit to this spot serves as a ritual renewal of sorts, a desire to begin the day immersed in some semblance of nature. Either way, it’s one of my favorite places on earth, and even more so on a still, crisp morning, when the water is glass, making the lake and Boy Scout Island exactly twice as beautiful.
Lake Manawa, Boy Scout Island, Council Bluffs, Iowa. This was taken a few mornings ago, when the air was crisp and the water was incredibly still. Just a reminder that Art at the Rock is two weeks away. I’ll have many big prints and new work. Bring your friends. Here's the official Facebook invite.
Ice on the Missouri River at sunrise. This was taken on a recent cloudless subzero morning as the sun rose behind the opposite shore, instantly illuminating every whorl and puff of steam issuing from the river. It was one of those serene moments when the spinning ice discs make enough chatter to drown out the distant sounds of Monday-morning traffic.
Boy Scout Island, Lake Manawa. Remember when it was still fall 24 hours ago? This was taken a few weeks back when most of the leaves were still hanging on and the fall colors were vibrant. It’s also printed on one of the Boy Scout Island notecards I told you about in my notecard giveaway Facebook post.
Lake Manawa, yesterday morning. The road around the lake has some great trees, and I've spent countless hours photographing them, especially on cold, still mornings when the mist is rising. Happy Autumn, everybody!
Here's another in my Boy Scout Island series. It was taken this morning. I originally began this series of photographs to document the island (some would insist that it should now be called Boy Scout Peninsula) in all seasons and in various weather conditions, but now I go back again and again mostly because it's the most peaceful spot I know of to greet the rising sun.
This was conceived as an experimental photograph more than anything else. It was our second-to-last day in South Padre, and I had decided to head across the causeway to explore Port Isabel about an hour before sunrise. The fog was incredibly dense, so thick that I was afraid to venture into unexplored territory while driving, so I parked as soon as possible and stayed very near the water among the docks to wait for more light. I was almost completely blind, making the clear sounds of the ocean jarring in contrast. It was one of the most peaceful, surrealistic, ominous mornings of my life, as if I were being smothered painlessly in the warm morning air of paradise.
Out in the darkness, somewhere in the subdued lapping of the waves and distant gull calls, were these five pilings, which resembled five smudges of blackness amid the dim glow of the fog. So I set up my camera on my tripod, focused as well as I could, and opened the shutter for four minutes. This is what ended up with--four seagulls perched, patiently awaiting a brighter shade of gray.
Here is another photograph of magical Monarch Lake, whose surface was strikingly still on the morning of our first visit. When we first got there, not long after sunrise, Teri, Gavin, and I had the lake all to ourselves. That's the great thing about early mornings; most people have a deep aversion not only to waking up early, but also to getting up and at 'em at that hour. Accordingly, it is my favorite time of the day for photography.
I reintroduced myself to Bear Lake a few weeks ago after a brief falling-out in 2010. I realize now that it was me, not her. I smartened up this time and approached her with fresh eyes. I'm guessing that next time will be even better.
Everybody, meet Monarch Lake. Monarch Lake, this is everybody. This must be a hidden treasure for locals of Grand County, situated at the termination of County Road 6, a long, rattly, windy gravel road that runs along the south shore of Lake Granby. It is, without reservation, one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever seen. The first of our many visits to the lake during our stay found it eerily still. We watched a couple of moose grazing in the shore grass on the opposite bank, and we were immediately investigated by several hummingbirds upon our arrival. And I don't mean just sniffed by them before they moved on; it was a true invasion of our personal space. Simultaneously disturbing and delightful, as though they considered us exotic walking flowers. One caveat: When you decide to see it for yourself during your next visit to Colorado, the four-mile trail around the lake is more like six or seven. Budget your time accordingly. And as for that persistent distant rumbling of thunder you hear halfway into the hike, a daily feature of the area...Yeah, prepare to get soaked.