Last weekend, when the temperature finally rose above zero – and above freezing – I trekked out to the park for my annual “go stand on the ice” event.  It’s something I do each winter and, to be honest, it’s probably a little silly.  After all, I kayak these same waters eight months out of the year, so it’s not as if I’m standing someplace new.

Except that it’s different.  There is something novel about walking out across a frozen lake and physically standing in a place that you otherwise cannot the rest of the year.  So for the sake of novelty, there I was.

To be honest, it scares the hell out of me each year.  Even factoring the cameras out of the equation, I don’t want to fall through the ice into the damn lake.  And I have an irrational fear of doing just that.  My forays are always tentative, I stick near shore where I know the water isn’t deep, and follow ice fishermen’s tracks out to their abandoned holes.


It’s the holes that give me some confidence.  I can look down and see that the ice is easily a solid foot thick.  I could probably drive a truck out on it, nevermind worrying about my two hundred pounds.

So there I am, out on the ice, trying not to be a dork.  The light is failing as clouds move in, I’m struggling for something to photograph, so I start taking photos of holes in the ice.  It sounds lame.  But I kind of got into it.

My favorite is, of course, the photo at the very top of this post, with the dead bait fish floating on the top.  A touch morbid, perhaps, but it’s an element of interest.  Plus you can see down into the hole, see the thickness of the ice itself.


I explored several holes in the area, all of which had been cut and fished that day, based on their condition.  And I found that standing over them, isolating them in tight frames, they were kind of an interesting subject.  But then, I’ve always been fascinated by water and ice and the process of freezing in general.

Unfortunately, the thaw was short-lived, and temperatures here have dropped back below zero again, and are forecast to get even colder by the coming weekend.  I’d like to venture out again and find a few more fishing holes, but that’ll depend on just how cold it gets.

Here’s hoping that in another month, I’ll be back in the boat in these same spots!

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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