When an old friend invited me out to his cabin on Lake Winnipeg the week between Christmas and New Year, when the College where I work as a librarian is closed, I jumped at the chance. Even though it looked like a great opportunity to just relax, I couldn’t stop myself from scouting potential photo ops online. That’s when I came across pictures of wonderfully colourful and singular fishing huts that sit out on the lake in winter. Immediately I began to think of a creating a series of images of those fishing huts. I know it’s been done before, but it still sounded to me like a great project.
My friend Todd and I had gone to graduate school together many years before and hadn’t seen each other since then, but kept in contact through Facebook. We ended up having a great time and, even though he’s not a photographer, he was seemingly happy to drive me around and come out shooting with me on the ice.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was the day we went out and set up his ice fishing tent. The ice fishing huts I was photographing are semi-permanent. When the ice gets thick enough, they are towed onto the lake and left there for the winter. Many people, though, set up ice fishing tents just to fish for the day.
To do that, first holes had to be drilled into the ice with an auger. Given that the ice was over 2 feet thick, this was no small task. Next the tent has to be secured to the ice, and then the fishing coulc begin!
After the tent was set up, we left some friends to fish and we drove out across the lake to shoot some of the ice fishing huts. That was great fun, augmented by the adventure of getting stuck in a drift the consistency of concrete. And then getting pulled out by some friendly and helpful fishermen.
On my last day at the cabin Manitoba was under an Extreme Cold Warning. It was below -30 with a windchill of -40 (for my American friends who are wondering what that is in Fahrenheit, -40 if where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales meet!), so this was a great day to stay inside and warm my feet by the wood stove.
I had a fantastic time on this trip. What started out as a lovely, kind invitation from an old friend, turned into a wonderful trip filled with adventure and a great photographic opportunities.
You can see the series of ice fishing hut images in that gallery.