BEHIND THE SCENES: Trekking through frigid weather to get sunrise photos

Thursday, January 23, 2014 | 1:26 p.m. CST; updated 6:53 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 23, 2014
Ice forms channels, forms around air pockets and reflects trees in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park on Thursday morning as temperatures remain frigid.

COLUMBIA — On Wednesday night I was assigned to photograph yet another cold January morning. In an attempt to stay off campus (where my fellow photographers had been the day before), I trekked into the cold gray dawn of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. 

Since it was 1 degree (yes, a single degree), I wore four outer layers — two heavy coats and a fleece zip up jacket and a cardigan under that, three layers of pants — fleece leggings, sweatpants and a pair of ski pants, three pairs of socks, including two pair of wool,  and two pair of gloves. Sunrise was 7:22 a.m. so I had my flashlight when I hit the trail at 6 a.m. My cheeks and fingers quickly turned red. They stung in the minus 16 degree wind chill. It was tough to decide when to take my gloves off to make a photo. When I made a photo, it was purposeful.


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I wanted to see the sunrise on top of the cliffs over Gans Creek. As the sun came up I noticed the ice formations on the water. The babbling creek drew my attention since it seemed everything around me was frozen. Laying down on the ice, I photographed the water flowing through a rock channel. Then I examined the creek for more interesting photos. I found the bubbles trapped under the ice and the smooth, glossy ice captivating. What caused the water to freeze in so many different ways?

I tried to capture my curiosity and the beauty of the ice through my camera lens.

Photojournalist Melissa Fogarty used a Nikon D7000 with a 18-105mm lens. The exposures ranged from one second to 1/60 of a second as the morning grew brighter.

Supervising editor is Brian Kratzer.

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