Sacrament of Wilderness

For many winter is a scary and forbidding season, but there are days…

This is a nearby beaver pond which was abandoned for many years then new residents moved in, enlarged the primary dam, made secondary and tertiary dams, rerouted the stream and started harvesting popple saplings nearby in rotating patches. Since the trail had to be rerouted (twice!) as a result it is a bit more isolated, but still near enough to be reached (the former trail went across the stream just below the old dam where it had broken through, but the beavers put the new dam right on the trail). Every time I visit though, I have to take a look at the pond. Soon it might be too overgrown to do easily, but for now you can get right on top of the new dam and the foundations of the old one. It’s remarkably peaceful. The light here is just barely filtered by clouds, but I like it. Snow landscapes can become bland and dull with overcast light.

For this shot though I was knee-deep in snow even with snowshoes on. I laughed like a loon while I waded through and set up the tripod. Who knows what the beavers thought. They, like most other rodents, are not hibernators, but stay active all winter, eating their stores and occasionally sharing the lodge with muskrats.

Specific Feedback Requested

I’m torn about the sky. Too blue? It is intensely blue on some days. Also the light gold patch of grass on the far right. No way to avoid since the whole bank there is made up of them, but should I attempt to clone?

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Tripod and probably a polarizer, but I can’t recall.


Lr for initial processing - a little wb warming and some color channel work to bring up what little there is in the far bank vegetation. Wanted to keep things soft so added some texture, but no clarity. A little transform to get those trees aligned correctly. Soft glow with TK8 panel in Photoshop, but not at full strength.

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Hi Kris, your shot is proof that a Winter’s day does not have to be dark and foreboding. There is serenity to be found on a cold Winter’s day, in the calming presence of a white landscape and relative silence. Hard to believe this is actually a beaver pond, but snow and ice will do that to a landscape, and I can just see the outline of the far bank mid-left, as well as a curvy hint mid-right. So, I’m liking your foreground grasses and especially the two stumps. The shadows on the right indicate a slight drop in elevation there, which adds interest to an otherwise flat terrain. The background vegetation makes a really nice leading line off to the left, where I can imagine a creek rounding the corner. I love the deep blue skies of Winter so have no issue with yours, along with the patch of grass on the right; I would rather capture scenes as they were rather than as I wished them to be (mostly, ha ha).

Thanks @Jim_Lockhart - yup, it’s a beaver pond. I believe it’s spring fed because so far as I can tell it doesn’t continue up, only down. The dam is on the far right out of frame. Here it is from the other side looking down where the stream is -

And in September -

The lodge which is to the far left out of frame in the first shot -

I was out on the frozen surface to get that one. There was a hole near the base of the primary dam on the stream side that allowed the beavers to get in and out safely. Plenty of tracks to be found.

Cool, nice to see it from different perspectives and in different seasons, thanks!

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