Posts Tagged ‘sunrise’

Emerging Out Of The Mist

May 17, 2013
Fog sunrise

Emerging out of the mist

Central Wisconsin is often shrouded in an early morning fog. It’s beauty is often lost as most folks are simply not awake early enough to witness it.  The farm in the above image is located near Amherst, Wisconsin.

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Good Morning Wisconsin!

May 7, 2013
Crepus

Crepusculur rays originating from clouds below the horizon.

The above image is an unusual example  of crepuscular rays. The name comes from their typical appearance during crepuscular hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Crepuscular comes from the Latin word crepusculum meaning twilight.

A key component for crepuscular rays is the casting of a shadow. The shadow can be due to most anything, typically clouds. The result is sunlight broken into darkened areas (in the shadow) and lighted areas. The above image was attained prior to sunrise with the crepuscular rays caused by clouds below the horizon.

The visible beams always appear to spread out from the light source. In the above image the rays appear to diverge  from the base of the silo.  When I noticed the crepuscular rays forming, I changed my position allowing the rays to appear to be related to the farm buildings.

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Winter is fading, the ice is leaving

April 20, 2013
Last Days of Ice. Springville Pond, Plover, Wisconsin

Last Days of Ice. Springville Pond, Plover, Wisconsin

Springville Pond is a former mill pond on the Little Plover River in Portage County, Wisconsin. The image was captured just after sunrise as ice was giving way to open water.

If you cross Springville Pond on Post Road (Business 51) before trees have leafed, you will have a good view of the house Frank Lloyd Wright built for Dr. Frank Iber. According to a local historian, the house is an example of the first prefab design for Marshall Erdman Company.  I am told Dr. Iber wanted some control over construction but Frank Lloyd Wright was not one to listen.  Dr. Iber wanted to speak with the architect during his inspection trips and apparently had a standing offer to local children to be notified when Frank Lloyd Wright would pay a visit.  The architect apparently paid the children a higher rate not to announce his presence to the doctor. Guess who won and who remained frustrated?

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Fog in Central Wisconsin

April 15, 2013
Fog in Central Wisconsin

Fog in Central Wisconsin

We had a snow storm yesterday that left behind a wet slushy landscape.  This morning was relatively warm leaving us shrouded in a beautiful fog. Driving was a little tense but it sure was pretty.

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Bilateral Sun Dogs

March 28, 2013
Bilateral sun dogs in Plover, Wisconsin

Bilateral sundogs in Plover, Wisconsin

Sundogs can appear as a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun, 22° distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun, typically in ice halos. The ‘dogs’ in this image have red colors towards the sun with greens and blues beyond.  This is the same sequence of colors seen in rainbows.

Like sun pillars, this atmospheric phenomenon is due to ice crystals. Where as sun pillars owe their existence to plate like crystals, sundogs are due to light reflecting through hexagonal crystals.  If the crystals are oriented with their flat faces horizontal, a sundog is observed. If the hexagonal crystals are randomly oriented, a halo  is formed.

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Upper Sun Pillar Over Bear Creek

March 27, 2013
Upper sun pillar over Bear Creek, Portage County, Wisconsin

Upper sun pillar over Bear Creek, Portage County, Wisconsin

There are two Bear Creeks in Portage County. One is east of the Wisconsin River, this one is west of the river. In a recent post I provided a description of  an .

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Buena Vista Grasslands Drainage Canal

March 26, 2013
Drainage Canal on trhe Buena Vista Grasslands

Drainage Canal on trhe Buena Vista Grasslands

The Buena Vista Grasslands, south of Plover, Wisconsin, was originally a tamarack swamp with extensive areas of open marsh and alder shrubs. In the late 1800’s the timber was cut and the marsh was burned.   In 1890 the State of Wisconsin formed the Portage County Drainage District. During 1905 The District began operations in townships of Buena Vista, Grant and Pine Grove to drain the Buena Vista Marsh.  Extensive acreage in the district was purchased by the  Bradley Polytechnic Institute of Illinois. An employee of Bradley, W. (Wallie) B. Coddington platted a community to be known as Pine Island in 1911. The name Pine Island (it was one area of high ground in the marsh with some pine trees taller than the tamarack) never really took. A post office was established at the location in 1912 and was called Coddington.  The area was drained by several ditches that crossed the marsh.

This drainage canal in the  middle of the Buena Vista Grasslands near Coddington remains ice free during the entire winter, a testament to the efficiency of the canals to continually drain the area. The early morning sun is kissing the tops of vegetation along the canal while the canal itself is still in deep shadow.

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Upper Sun Pillar

March 25, 2013
Upper sin pillar forming a 4th silo on a Portage County, Wisconsin farm

Upper sin pillar forming a fourth silo on a Portage County, Wisconsin farm

Plate like crystals

Plate like crystals

When conditions are right, tiny ice crystals fill the atmosphere. When these crystals are associated with thin high-level clouds they are shaped

like plates with flat surfaces on the top and bottom. These crystals then gently float to the ground. Just before sunrise, the sun is not yet visible but its rays lighten the distant sky. Far in the distance, the sun’s light can be roughly parallel to the ice crystals. The light is then reflected through the crystal to ice crystals above and below intensifying the light.

On a very cold January morning I noticed this upper sun pillar (the light shaft is above the rising sun) and then worked to find an interesting foreground element.

Do you like the pillar appearing as a fourth silo on this farm?

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Between the Terminal Moraines

March 24, 2013
farm two

A farm located between two large terminal moraines in Portage County, Wisconsin

The great glacier that most recently covered Wisconsin advanced from present day Green Bay and Lake Michigan to the central portions of Portage County.  A large terminal moraine running parallel and just east of Highway 39 marks the furthest extent of the glacier. The glacier retreated for a distance just south of Highway 10 forming a second large terminal moraine. The two moraines form a single moraine north of Highway 10 then join again near Plainfield.

The land between the moraines is special as silt flowing from the glacier as it melted filled the void resulting in a very flat landscape.  The area is heavily used for farming and several open pit operations remove the remaining glacial debris for use in construction.

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Join in the Greater Prairie Chicken Dance

March 22, 2013

(continued from the previous post)

Finding our way to the blind, we locate the entry way, crouch and make our way inside. There is a simple low bench in the middle of blind adding some comfort to what is otherwise a cold and cramped space. If you can’t dress warmly, are prone to leg cramps, have back trouble or fear enclosed spaces; think twice about signing up for this experience.

I am sure the prairie chickens are close by and saw us enter their territory. With an hour before dawn, lights out and sitting quietly, we hope they soon forget about us.

predawnAbout a half hour before dawn, it is very quite. I slowly open the window to see the sky alight with color. The windows open inwards so as not to spook the prairie chickens. We have also been instructed to keep our camera lens well inside the  blind.

Before long faint coos can be heard.  First here and there, then nearly all the time. Still no visible action outside. Then seemingly out of no where, they appear.  Time to do my part for science, I pick up my clip board to record the time and document the number of males and females. We will continue to record at regular intervals until the dance is done for the day. Pencils are used because it is often cold enough to render pens useless.

At first this is a male only dance with each male seeming to stake out it’s territory. When a female arrives, the action becomes intense.  Males often square off puffing up their feathers, stomping their feet, jumping into the air and generally showing off their brightly colored cheek feathers.

Is this female not interested or just playing hard to get?

Is this female not interested or just playing hard to get?

All of a sudden, the activity stops and birds vanish. Before long a harrier hawk is overhead looking for easy prey. Once the hawk moves on to other pastures, the prairie chickens return to continue their spring ritual.

As the sun rises, the action dwindles until the stomping grounds are quite. Time to leave the blind, have breakfast and warm up.

This male must have what it takes as two females seem interested. Poor guys are in the distance, all alone.

This male must have what it takes as two females seem interested. Poor guys are in the distance, all alone.

You can reserving a seat in a viewing blind by  calling 715-343-6215. Viewing starts at 4:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Buena Vista Marsh, Saturday at Mead Wildlife Area and Saturday and Sunday at Paul J. Olson Wildlife Area.

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