The Dog Days of Winter

Winter comes in various stages and our perceptions of winter are influenced through those stages. In December winter is alive and magical. Christmas lights and the holiday spirit has us out and about in the snow or cold temperatures. It is for many the best time of the winter season. The excitement of the season fueled with the holidays puts winter in a positive light. Once the holidays are over, the mood becomes a little different. We see the new opportunities of the year. As a photographer I get excited about getting out and taking photos of new scenes yet to be discovered. During this period of time the snow slows me down a little bit as it does with many others. I think there is this need to hunker down in our homes and just stay inside as the snow falls outside. By the time February rolls around, our thoughts start leaning to the spring season. We get especially anxious as we roll into March and the snow continues to fall.

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The first few months of the year are what I call the Dog Days of Winter. Our moods are in a constant state of fluctuation. The excitement of winter that was there in December is gone and the winter season seems long and bleak. It has happened to me and I am sure it has happened to many others as well. There are certain things we can do to escape those winter blues. Here are a five suggestions to keep the winter months filled with happiness and with a positive outlook.

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  1. Visit your local museums — There are often some offers to local museums during these months. Get out of the cold and enjoy what your local museums have to offer. The warmer weather will come soon enough, so enjoy fun activities focusing on the indoors.
  2. ┬áSki Resorts — Ski season is sometimes short lived. If you are a winter sports enthusiast take advantage while you can. There are many great high end ski resorts in Michigan and some smaller ones that offer great winter fun.
  3. State Parks — Some of the State Parks in Michigan are a dream come true during the winter season. Hiking trails open up to cross country skiing. Other trails are open for foot traffic and great winter hiking. Muskegon State Park also has a winter sports complex for additional winter fun. Some of the State Parks along Lake Michigan offer great views of frozen lighthouses and an ever changing winter shoreline.
  4. Indoor Water parks — More and more we are seeing casino’s and resorts build indoor water parks to provide continued recreation around the season. There are quiet a few that have opened throughout Michigan. Check websites for possible deals during this time.
  5. Ice Skating — Several cities are offering outdoor skating rinks in the downtown districts. It is a great way to experience the fun of your local downtown district. It is a relatively cheap activity that is fun for the whole family.

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On the Road to New Adventures

When getting ready to head out for a photo excursion I am usually excited thinking on what type of shot I want to come away with. I start thinking about the various angles I can shoot a particular subject, especially one that I have seen before. As a photographer you are always looking for new ways to challenge yourself. The four seasons hold various opportunities for the photographer. Each season brings about something new to be discovered or some unique challenge. I have found that winter photography brings about the biggest challenges due to the inclement weather that goes hand in hand with the season.

Aman Park, Grand Rapids
Aman Park, Grand Rapids

 

What is it about winter photography that creates some challenges that are hard to deal with. First of all, there are dangerous conditions. Ice out on the lakes, snowstorms and deep snow in some areas, and roadways that are difficult to drive all make winter photography a challenge to overcome. In some cases these challenges present dangerous and perilous situations. I have been in a few of those situation as have other photographers. I love the sense of adventure, but experiencing these situations have given me an additional appreciation for a safe return home. In the excitement of a new photography adventure, I pray for a safe return home to my loved ones.

Au Sable

Along the way I have experienced some dangerous situations in winter photography excursions. Next week I will be writing a four part series on the dangers of winter photography in Michigan. These are situations that I have dealt with over the last several years in the field. I have seen plenty of beautiful winter scenes, but had I known what lied in front of me prior to heading out, I may have approached it differently. Michigan is a wonderful place during winter, but sometimes we don’t have all the information when we start. With a little bit of information from someone who has experienced some of the dangers and pitfalls, some dangers can be avoided. I want your journey to be as safe as possible.

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