Winter Beside a High Desert Reservoir

Winter Morning

Winter Morning
Winter Morning by CF Lovelace and WM House

South from Green River, Wyoming, and left off the dirt track at the Lost Dog sign will lead you to a reservoir sitting several hundred feet of elevation below the flat mesa top.

When nature photographer CF Lovelace arrived, the air was dead calm. The ambient temperature held steady at 9 degrees F, with a dense fog enshrouding the landscape along the reservoir shoreline. Visibility stretched to slightly less than a quarter-mile. The gentle lapping of water on the shoreline and the occasional cracking of fog-obscured ice were the only ephemeral sounds whispering through the air. Six inches of snow had fallen the night before.

The high desert plants glimmered along the water’s edge, encrusted with crystalline snow. It was an unusual type of snow that forms when there is very little humidity in the frigid air at 6,000 feet above sea level. The photographer was an intruder into this otherworldly wonderland. He was in southern Wyoming, but it could have just as easily have been an ancient planet a hundred million light-years away on the far side of another galaxy. The morning was a most excellent small adventure for him, and as a bonus, hungry trout were caught and released back into the cold mountain water.

The original photograph (shown below) had a great composition and I was particularly enthralled by the background, where the water fades into a nebulous space of fog and cloud. I squared the picture up by cropping off the bottom 20 percent and slightly stretching the remaining image horizontally. I used a few filters to slightly posterize the background and emphasize the flowing quality of the branches. A slight amount of hand painting was necessary in the stand of trees, and I obviously tinkered with hue and saturation during the processing to give a different color effect than originally photographed.

The final result made me happy, so I thought I would share the story from a morning adventure to digital art.

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