Photos: Minnesota's bitterly cold, brightly beautiful winter


1 Ice coats a small island on the Superior Hiking Trail lake walk section next to Lake Superior in Cook County, Minn. on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Photographer Bryan Hansel writes: To get to the point where I set up my tripod, I had to wade across a gap (water was flowing through it like a stream), slip across ice and then balance on an uneven surface of glare ice. I waited for 20 minutes tucked into my hood, while my glasses froze and my breath coated my collar with rime. Then the pink happened. 
2 The sun sets over frozen Lake Superior shoreline in Butterwort Cliffs SNA, Cook County, Minn. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. 
3 A faint display of northern lights was visible above the Cascade River in the Superior National Forest on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Photographer Bryan Hansel writes: With the crescent moon lighting up the snow, the crisp and still air, and the -15F temperatures, it was the perfect night to contemplate silence under the night sky. 
4 Photographer Bryan Hansel writes: I love the ice patterns that form in pools next to Lake Superior. I've photographed these patterns for years, and am fascinated by the shapes, textures and patterns that you can see in ice. 
5 Photographer Travis Novitsky writes: While walking the shoreline to photograph the first sunrise of the new year, I found countless fascinating ice formations hanging from the rocks at the water's edge. These particular formations were my favorite. The first thing I thought of when seeing them was "they look like Christmas ornaments!" The sun was just starting to hit the rock on the upper right, the "ornaments" were still in the shade and had this beautiful blue color. As the water lapped at the ornaments, they would momentarily lose the blue color. When the water receded, they once again turned blue. You never know just what you're going to find when you're out exploring nature. 
6 Photographer Travis Novitsky writes: This piece of ice was sitting atop a partially submerged rock about 100 feet away from where the previous photo was taken. To me it resembles some sort of odd creature or monster, sort of a cross between a walrus and a centipede (if you can imagine such a creature!). To my eye the ice hanging down along the sides conjure images of a centipede's legs, and on the part of ice closest to the bottom of the frame, the two pieces of ice hanging down resemble walrus tusks. 
7 The sun sets over Lake Superior on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Photographer Travis Novitsky writes: After 24 hours of temps well below zero, the cove was suddenly filled with sheets of ice commonly referred to as "pancake ice". I thought I would name this little temporary ice cove "Pancake Cove". Last night at sunset these were separate sheets of ice, but this morning after another night of temps approaching 20 below zero, these cakes are now almost completely frozen solid. That's one of the things I love most about winter on Lake Superior... things change every day and often look completely different just from one sunset to the following sunrise! 
8 Photographer Travis Novitsky writes: Here's a photo from before the weather turned cold. We took a walk through the woods and along the shoreline in Grand Portage and found this beach that was covered in ice chunks both on the beach and rolling around in the waves. And the waves were impressive that day due to high winds. Even though this winter has not been up to snuff in terms of snowfall and major ice build-up, I have still been finding lots of fun ice to photograph. 
9 Photographer Travis Novitsky writes: With the bitter cold temperatures of recent days comes the increased production of ice along the shores of Lake Superior! Here's a recent shot of icicles hanging from the cliffs on Red Rock Beach in Grand Portage. 
10 A snowy winter day at High Falls on the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park, Minn. The Pigeon River marks the border between Minnesota and Canada and connects Lake Superior to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. 
11 Steam rises around the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth, Minn. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. 
12 Steam rises from Lake Superior around the South Pier Light House in Duluth, Minn. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Temperatures in Duluth dropped to -21 F that day. 
13 Steam rises from Lake Superior at Canal Park in Duluth, Minn. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Temperatures in Duluth dropped to -21 F that day. 
14 A frigid zero degree Monday Jan. 21, 2013 in Red Wing, Minn. on the Mississippi River. 
15 Photographer Dean Johnson took this photo near Alexandria, Minn. on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.