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Oblivion Of Ice… Paddling Frozen Lake Michigan

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A lone paddle-boarder drifting over turquoise winter waters, among icebergs, and along the edge of a surreal frozen world… you may have seen Seth Haley’s austere and beautiful video on stand-up paddle-boarding the January waters of Lake Michigan.

Before the ice broke up

In this post we reveal a few photos from the session as well as some back story from Haley on the shoot, which took place about 10 days ago in icy waters near the Michigan lakeside town of Saint Joseph.

Ice castle: Waves crash and freeze to a structure on the pier

Haley shot with a small crew. He used Canon 6D and 7D cameras (70-200 f2.8 lens), along with the DJI Phantom 2 drone and a GoPro Hero 4 mounted onto it.

“As a filmmaker of an adventurous sort, I make it my business to be out at the lake as often as I can.” Haley said. “There is something immensely satisfying in experiencing the lake and capturing whatever mood it happens to offer.”

Haley elaborated on the shoot: I walked out on an ice-covered pier careful of my footing. The ice over the water creaked around me. The temperatures were warming, and the lake had begun to morph — the ice was breaking up, and I looked out over the stark white ice, pulsing like a heartbeat, and an idea struck me: A lone figure out in the water juxtaposed against the freezing landscape would be an image to capture!

On my way up the bluff from the lake, I texted a friend. “Do you know anyone crazy enough to go kayaking among [the lake ice]?” Turns out, he did. As we planned, the kayaking idea changed to paddle-boarding, and the next day we were headed back out to the lake.

Even as we filmed, I could see the lake changing in front of our eyes. Icebergs floated past the board as the ice opened up and slid out of the bay. Three hours later, we had some of the most incredible footage I have ever captured. I knew right then that showing Michigan in all of its moods, all of its weather, and all of its seasons was something I had to do.

—See Haley’s work at www.SethHaley.com.

Film crew

Launching the drone

Location of the shoot (Saint Joseph, Mich.)

Careful paddling among icy giants

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