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Catching Sea Smoke

My first experience with sea smoke came in a bottle of Pinot Noir from California. While it's an elegant, earthy Pinot— the real deal over Lake Superior is far more impressive. Sea smoke (or Arctic fog) results from very cold Arctic air moving over warmer water— it's pretty amazing to think Lake Superior is at least 35 - 45 degrees warmer than the air. It's unbelievably cold for December, the night-time temperatures have been below zero for days, but the lake hasn't cooled down enough to freeze yet. Perfect conditions for a photo safari.

We've been creatures of Northern Wisconsin long enough to laugh in the face of sub-zero temperatures, put on our layers, wool socks and Sorels and head out for a sea smoke photo safari. We started in Bayfield but decided we should be a little more adventurous and head up towards Cornie and check out the open lake.

It was a dual purpose trip— Will needed practice diving on icy, snow-covered roads and I needed to practice diaphragm breathing and not freaking out. In the midst of imagining the worst case scenario if we went into the ditch, Will said, 'what's in the road up ahead?'. There is nothing better to distract me from imaginary car wrecks than two yellow labs ambling towards our car— Will pulled over, I hopped out and, with a little coaxing, they hopped in. We drove about a 1/4 of a mile to the first house we saw and luckily, that's where this adventurous pair lived. Six dogs would  have been too much, right?

Driving to Cornucopia was a good call, the lake was stunning. The wind picked up right after we arrived and the sea smoke started to twist and dance off shore.

I took these last three shots this morning at Bayview Beach. The kids groaned when they saw the camera in my hands as I made my way to the car, made me promise they wouldn't be late (they are more timely than their Mother) and didn't start rioting until 7:56 am. They weren't late, I didn't have to speed to school and I spent 6 minutes kneeling on the beach catching the rising sun through sea smoke. Complete and utter bliss.