Ledges State Park, Iowa, in winter

rock, snow, and stream in an iowa state parkIt’s officially winter tomorrow – Thursday, December 21, 2017 – even though the mostly-very-warm fall we’ve experienced in the Upper Midwest makes it seem like winter can’t really be here yet. So even though temps are in the 40s and we haven’t seen any snow yet this season, I’m going to kick off winter with some winter landscape photographs.

These are some favorite “new” winter landscape images of mine: they were actually captured back in the winter of 2016, but they haven’t really been shared or seen. Actually, I included them in a blog post for a photography workshop I taught in early 2016, but then my blog broke during a migration to a new platform. This required me to go back and re-work over 70 blog posts, which took me a very long time (and still isn’t quite finished). So while technically the photos were “shared,” I suppose, they really haven’t been available for viewing.

These photos were captured at one of my favorite landscape photography destinations: Ledges State Park in central Iowa. I go there frequently for my own personal photography, and I have taught dozens of photography workshops there over the past decade. “Ledges” describes a portion of the state park in which cliffs along a sandstone “canyon” – carved out by a small river over the ages – look like “ledges” from the hillsides above and the canyon valley below. This is the most-visited section of the state park, and despite there being other beautiful areas, many visitors to the park experience nothing but this canyon section.

These images were created in the dead of winter after a snowfall, and are pretty simple landscape compositions for the most part. I have always liked the way the light reflects off of the warm-toned sandstone in the Ledges canyon, creating a strong warm glow. The textures and tones of the sandstone have always interested me, and the added textures and stark contrast of the snow and ice add a strong visual context to the area in the winter.

I created these photos with a Fuji X100T camera mounted on a Gitzo basalt tripod that was outfitted with a Kirk BH-3 ballhead.

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Image © Mark S. Peterson Photography