Winter 2015-2016 – 123 Images in Review

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The winter of 2015-2016 felt like a bit of a let down compared to other years. While, the average temps haven’t been released, yet, they were above normal. The winter was punctuated by rain and temperatures above freezing. It even reached into the 60s at points. This wasn’t a normal winter — but what is normal when it comes to weather anymore. I remember ten years ago when it rained on New Year’s Day and the old timers in the area couldn’t ever remember a winter when it rained on New Year’s Day. That seems more normal now. For a photographer that loves the winter on Lake Superior almost more than any other subject, this winter was hard. And, because it was a warm and abnormal winter, I wasn’t motivated to get out and photograph the winter like in years past. Still, I managed to make about 123 photos that I’m really proud of.

The Tombolo

The Tombolo is one of my favorite places to go for sunrises in winter. This winter it was an island instead of a tombolo, but we still call it The Tombolo as a shorthand description of the location. The reason that The Tombolo is such a great winter photography spot on Lake Superior is because the sun rises right behind the island. Here are a few of my favorite shots from The Tombolo this winter.

Click an image to see it larger.

The Rock and Hollow Rock

I don’t often make it up to Grand Portage and Hollow Rock, but I visited once this winter. I also made it to The Rock a few times this winter.

Early Winter in the Badlands

For the last few years, I’ve taught a Early Winter in the Badlands Photography Workshop. These are just a few shots from that visit. Some are from the workshop and others are from after the workshop. We had great conditions this winter for early winter photography. I still have space on the workshop for 2016. You should come.

Grand Marais Lighthouse

While not the most attractive lighthouse on the Great Lakes — and not the ugliest — I like to photograph Grand Marais’ lighthouse, especially in winter when there is sea smoke. While this winter wasn’t cold enough to generate sea smoke often, we did see it now and then. With the rain we had this winter, we even had a rainbow over the lighthouse in February.

River Canyons

Despite the warm weather, the rivers did freeze up. They were sketchy in places and I wouldn’t recommend heading into these canyons without experience. They do provide interesting photo opportunities. I waded in the river to get some of these shots.

Artist’s Point and Grand Marais

Artist’s Point in Grand Marais is an inspiring location for winter photography. And the town of Grand Marais has such great landscape surrounding it. During winter, the sun rises and sets directly over the lake from Grand Marais. I teach Lake Superior Winter Photography Photography Workshops each year based in Grand Marais. You should come. Here are just a few shots I took there this winter.

Ice and Frost

I love the shape that ice makes and the patterns that frost draws.

Drone Shots

Last year, I won a drone in a LowePro backpacks contest. I’ve been learning how to use it effectively. Here are some of the shots that I’ve taken. Several of the shots are panoramic shots created from about 15 different shots. The drone is like a tripod in the sky.

Fat Bike

Late in the winter, I decided to buy a fat bike with my bike fund. I’ve been saving for awhile to afford a new touring bike, but I decided to buy a fat bike instead. With the short winter, it sort of feels like a mistake. Maybe I should have waited and bought a new touring bike. Instead, my old Trek 520 will have to work for another couple year. Biking is a hobby, but it’s hard not to stop and take some pictures. This is where my hobbies and profession mix. It’s hard not to have photography intrude when you’re a photographer.

Night Photography

This winter had lots of cloudy nights, especially during times with the moon wasn’t out. That meant limited night outings for me.

Miscellaneous Photos

These come from Cascade River State Park, an inland lake, Sugarloaf Cove, Duluth and a few other places.

And Finally…a Whale

This brought a smile to many faces.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Janni Holtzkraemer

    I totally agree with you on the wimpy winter 2016.
    I am a Minnesotian who loves the snow and can dress for the cold. I have always loved skating on the Lake on Thanksgiving, careful to stay where it is shallow.
    Snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the woods has allowed me to see the wildlife I adore.
    In college I enjoyed a photography class (black and white) and winter was my subject. This was 1973 and manual equipment, of course, also the wonder filled darkroom. So far, I have only seen your 1st picture of this series, however, could not help but respond to your text.
    Each Winter seems to take on a personality of its own.
    I l👀K forward to enjoying your other 122 pictures!
    Bless you!

    • Bryan Hansel

      All the pictures are on this page. You just have to scroll down to see them all.

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