In fairy tales doing something three times usually accomplishes the job — be it with a good or bad outcome. So let’s try it out with Strahl Lake in Brown County State Park.
We arrive well before sunrise, when both lake and air are shrouded in layers of fog. This is a dream like state where reality is separate from us.
Color, it seems, is more intense now, but maybe only in our imagination.
Each time I pause at this iconic view for a few minutes. The sun is up, but not yet able to penetrate the fog. Should we go back to sleep? Of course not, no fairy tale stops at the number 2.
After the third time, only a thin layer of fog remains, now separating reality from its virtual mirror image.
We have woken up — what have we lost?
After the sudden snow fall, Strahl Lake was in motion.
Moving fog, rippled water and reflections in the sun shine created the illusion of a silent orchestra performing.
Micro-tornados performed a ballet for hours, oblivious of the small audience.
I think I will chime in.
A week later, after the weather turned cold and a storm went through, the fall is almost over.
The vibrance is gone, and the mood has changed.
There is an optimistic sadness in these pictures, that expresses that there are times to come after the times to come.
Light and Darkness have become one.
Maybe they are getting ready for one last effort before what promises to be a long winter.
This has been a strange fall season. After a hot and dry summer, many trees seemed to have given up and shed leaves before they turned color.
When it finally happened, the intensity was dazzling.
My favorite time and place are the early morning hours at Strahl Lake, where light, darkness, and reflection seem to multiply the silence.
One should spend an entire night there, like the lone heron in the first picture, becoming one with the landscape.
This instant change seems dramatic like the mood change of a person from being calm to being upset.
My first blog post here from almost five years ago shows the same view. The trees have grown, some have fallen, but the place remains visibly the same. Such stability is admirable, given the times.
In 1999, I had my first chance to witness a solar eclipse. That was in Bonn, Germany, and only a partial eclipse. It was very partial, because the sky was cloudy.
Now, in 2017, I didn’t feel like driving for three hours to get stuck in a traffic jam. So instead I contented myself with another partial eclipse and went to Brown County State Park.
The view from the fire tower was a little eery because the sky was significantly darker. Capturing the eclipse with a wide angle lens is a little silly, but safe for eye and camera.
Using a tele lens is danegerous, never look through the camera at the sun even with a strong neutral density filter. I used a 10 stop filter on a 300mm lens. This turned out not be quite enough to darken the sun, but one can now at least see the eclipse (and it didn’t fry my camera).
My main interest, however, was how my favorite lakefront at Strahl Lake that I have photographed (too?) many times would look like during the eclipse.
This little blog is now two years old. As a birthday present, here is yet another visit to Strahl Lake in Brown County State Park, this time at a full moon.
This turned out to be more difficult than I thought, and I tried it twice this year to capture the lake front in moonlight. The image up above shows how dark it really was. Below is a picture an hour after sunset.
Of course, the camera allows you to expose as long as you like, capturing more light than real. Below is what the camera thinks it should look like, assuming all images require the same amount of photons on the camera sensor.
If not for the stars, this could be a faded color print of a daylight photo. Eerie.
Let’s end this year with a little more realism. We will need the light.
After visiting Brown County State Park on a very foggy earl Fall day, revisiting the same location two days later on a very sunny day shows a different landscape.
Just before sunrise, the lake is still partially covered with morning fog, but within an hour, the appearance changes completely.
That one hour of snoozing gives plenty of time to walk around Strahl Lake,
slowly separating dream and reality.
Fall has arrived.
As you can see, the Indiana landscape does have opportunities for outlooks, at least in theory.
I used the first rainy fall day to revisit Brown County State Park with its two lakes.
My favorite lake front at Strahl Lake has changed only little since my first post about this place, even though some trees are dying.
There is also Ogle Lake below, which is larger and not as intense.
The far side of it is more interesting, with groups of trees guarding the secrets of the place.
Walking through a landscape in the mist has become a ritual since I first watched the film by Theo Angelopoulos with the same title. Fog, light, and borders will never mean the same again.
I started this little blog with visual aphorisms one year ago, so maybe this is reason enough to revisit the very first post, by spending one hour at Strahl lake in Brown County State park.
This one hour is how long it takes between dawn and the moment when the sun rays touch the lake at the western lake shore.
The early morning fog awakens and begins to move in ways impossible to capture in a single photograph.
The wind leaves strange messages on the water.
When the sun finally hits the fog, eery hologram like sculptures appear in the lifting fog.
And then, of course, day is here.
While there are few natural lakes in Indiana, the many artificial lakes have some beautiful shores. One of my favorites is at Strahl Lake in Brown County State Park. To appreciate its beauty, I recommend to be there at the right time of the day. The best time is just after sun rise when the sun illuminates the entire lake front, but not yet the water. This way the reflection in the water is strongest and the sky is not too bright yet. Actually, I recommend being there when the sun just touches the tips of the trees, and then spend some 30 minutes listening to birds, fish and leaves.
I first realized the beauty of this spot in late September 2009, when the Fall leaf colors were on full swing.
I decided to return at different times of the year, to find out how the same view would look in other seasons and weathers.
Late in the Fall there is a curious asymmetry due to the deciduous trees to the right and the evergreen trees to the left.
In an early snowless winter, the best time for this view is actually just before sunrise. With a bit of luck, one can then catch the fog over the lake, and the dark colors of the remaining leaves create a gloomy mood.
With the winter in full swing, it can get tricky. The pictures I have with the lake frozen are no good because they are too bright. It might work in a night with modest moon shine, but I will have to try that yet. Here is a view from late winter where the cloud cover makes a nice contrast.
In Spring, one gets all shades of green one might wish for.
Then there is Summer. The enormous humidity can cause the fog to last longer than the sun rise. So yes, it is warm and wet. But the mood is still quite special.
All these photos were taken with a 24mm lens (35mm/FF).