Patuxent Research Refuge – A Cold Cash Lake

Also taken on our New Year’s Eve walk around Cash Lake at the Patuxent Research Refuge, this image gives a much better impression of the bitterly cold wind that was blowing my son and me across the floating walkway. Cash Lake is divided into two by a short floating walkway that during certain seasons are closed to visitors giving protection to migratory birds and their nesting sites. Most of the year, however, the walkway completes a great circular trail from the visitor center and around the lake.

Dramatic seasonal changes at Cash Lake

The view across Cash Lake changes dramatically with the seasons. At this time of year, the lily pads have long retreated into the mud of the lake, much of the wildlife has either moved away for the winter, is hibernating or hiding in the reeds and grasses. Despite this there is still a lot of beauty around the refuge. It’s time to take note of the wider scenery. With the foliage died back the refuge feels more open, bigger. You can see further through the woods and get an appreciation for the different textures of the trees. If you are a photographer it gives you a chance to capture the underlying structure of the trails and forests before the return of the dense foliage in the spring. When you are ready to warm up again there is the visitor center. It’s a good time of year to spend more time learning about the work of the Patuxent Research Refuge. The refuge is the largest environmental science and research center run by the United States Department of the Interior, if you have young kids there are lots of interesting and educational things for them to do.

Photographic reflection of a cold winters day

The cool blue tones of the sky on Cash lake in this image were a perfect reflection of the cold winters day at Cash Lake. The wildlife was hidden away from the bitter breeze that was cutting across the lake. Fumbling with the dials on the camera with frozen fingertips took me back to those long winter days when as a surveyor I would have to spend hours standing in the cold adjusting our survey instruments. It’s just too difficult to adjust cameras/theodolites with thick gloves on however cold it is. Despite that, I managed to hold the camera still enough to get this image of the walkway across Lake Cash. The image is a five exposure HDR composite taken with a Sony A7r camera and processed using Photomatix. The exposures were taken at 0.7 intervals with the A7r kit 50mm kit lens

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