One of my favorite places for a walk is at Gambrill Mill, which is part of the Monocacy Battlefields. There is a short, half mile loop through a wide field ending at the Monocacy River, and then it turns to parallel the river. As it veers away from the river, a boardwalk that parallels a stream rambles through a wooded area. In the spring, the field portion is choked with purple thistles, and goldfinches flit between the seed heads. I have marked my calendar for a return visit during thistle season.
Anyway, right now it is ice season. Gambrill Mill offers not only a river and a stream, but a pond too, and each is easily accessed. I knew that this would be a good place to visit during this frigid weather if I wanted to find ice, because last year, one of my favorite days on my daily photo walks was a walk in this same location on January 23, which had similar temperatures. I got some great ice photos that day, and today I wanted the same.
I began with the pond, hoping to find some leaves captured in the ice. I was not disappointed. The ice also held gum balls from the nearby sweetgum tree, along with some maple seed pods. The ice was smooth and glossy, because it formed after the snow and freezing rain we recently had. Thankfully, the mud around the pond was rock hard, too.
I have sung the praises of my little camera many times, and on a walk like this, it was extremely versatile. I was able to set it right down on the ice, and flip out the LCD screen to compose the image, so that I did not have to lay down on the ground next to the ice. It is the Nikon P7700, and I used it for my year of daily photo walking. I’ll never be without a model of this camera.
The river was gushing in places, with ice chunks hanging onto rocks or caught in low lying branches. Some of the deeper sections of the river were still covered with thick ice. But it was the stream that held my attention. Along its edges, some of the ice formations looked like lace collars; others looked like the edges of saw blades. Bubble formations were trapped in the ice, forming beautiful patterns and swirls.
If you are inspired to get out and photograph ice, do it soon. Gambrill Mill is a great place to go. I’ll be out searching for more ice today!
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“Life Through My Lens” is a travel/photography blog written by Cam Miller, copyright 2014
Email: cam.miller@comcast. net