Pic of the Week: 1/26/17
“Frozen Cascade Lake”
Date Taken: 1/13/17
Location: Cascade Lake near Keene, NY
This weeks Pic of the Week features another capture from my recent New York trip. My family and I went to Plattsburgh, NY to attend the funeral of my Aunt Becky. Becky always supported my photography and I even went to visit her during the summers of 2005 and 2006. As a way to commemorate our adventures I went back to rephotograph our past locations. This particular location Cascade Lake/Cascade Mountain was one of my favorite from my trip, but this time I would be shooting in the exact opposite conditions. It was winter instead of summer and it was morning instead of evening. Needless to say it presented itself with some challenges. You can find out more about the photo below.
“OK. I just need for one of those small clouds to block out the sun for a few seconds” I said to myself. I exhaled sharply and watch my words condense into a cloud as the breath left my mouth and froze in the cold air. It was almost like tossing a penny into a wishing well. It was cold, but not just cold, the wind was blowing too. The surrounding mountains made an excellent wind tunnel and as the air came up over the hills it was funneled and intensified over the frozen lake I was currently standing on. Sure, the wind was only gusting around 35mph, but with the wind the 20F air felt closer to 0F.
I had my camera pointed overlooking the lake and the eastern summit of Pitchoff mountain in the distance. I kept turning behind me to see the position of the sun. It was tricky light and it didn’t want to cooperate. Sharp shadows of the barren trees were creeping up along the ice and disrupting my composition. The sun reflected on the frozen lake removing the blue tint to the ice you’d see in the shade. If the sun sank behind the mountain, then I would lose all the light on my scene. What I needed was a cloud small enough to block the light falling on the lake and foreground, but still leave some sun hitting the mountains in the background. Like I said, it was going to be tricky. The frozen lake crunched beneath my boots as I walked in place trying to keep warm. It was hard to think that 11 years ago I was at this same location, but everything was totally different. The trees were vibrant with lush vegetation and the lake was so still it reflected like glass. But now there were no leaves, just the skeletal remains of the trees. And the lake was frozen solid no longer perfectly reflecting the mountains.
I snapped off a few frames before turning around again to check to sun’s position. Then I looked off over to the south looking for clouds. I snapped a few more frames and watched the shadows of the trees stretch farther and farther onto the lake. I was starting to think this shot wasn’t going to happen. The wind blew harder and stung my cheeks I jumped up and down and rubbed my hands together to warm up. I looked over my shoulder to see a small cloud gliding its way closer to the sun. I knew I might only have a few seconds where the light was exactly where I wanted.
The clouds moved in front of the sun and a shadow grew across the lake. I started shooting off photos carefully watching the light on the mountains. Just before the clouds moved away from the sun I got the light I was waiting for. The shadow on the lake helped bring out all the details in the ice and it added back that blue tint I was looking for. The warm sunlight was hitting the distant peaks of Pitchoff mountain making them stand out nicely against the shadowed cliffs in the foreground. But a sliver of golden light was resting on the crest of Cascade mountain (right side) adding the perfect amount of color and depth to the scene. Everything was coming together quite nicely. I shot a total of five frames in ten seconds. That was how long the “perfect” light lasted. Once the cloud moved away the whole scene was flooded with sunlight eliminating all the depth and separation to the landscape. I packed up my camera and returned to the car knowing I had captured something truly special. It was definitely worth waiting and standing outside in that cold wind.
Frozen Cascade Lake © Ben Jacobi