NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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82 NEBRASKAland • JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017 T his photo marks one of my first attempts at landscape imagery as a NEBRASKAland photographer, a shot before sunrise at Box Butte Reservoir State Recreation Area in early February 2013. There's nothing special about it, and to my knowledge it's never been used for anything but this article. There's something about the scene, however, that always seems to catch this ice angler's eye as he's scrolling through our collection of images. It is especially eye-catching on a late November day as I eagerly await ice to form and pave the way for another season of my favorite winter activity. With one look, it makes me think of the many sounds I've come to cherish: the irregular revving of a two- stroke engine as another hole is drilled. The scraping of a sled being pulled across the ice. The crunching of the cleats as they do their best to grip the slick surface. Laughter between friends and relatives as it travels over the expanse of frozen water. And, yes, even the popping sound of that ice expanding and contracting that is always sure to result in wobbly knees for the hard-water rookie. While this photo conveys evidence of such cherished human activities, it also expresses the certain serenity of winter mornings. This time of year, one surely savors quiet beginnings in the crisp, cold air which has a way of clearing the mind with each breath. The way sunlight reflects off the ice and snow and alerts the senses. The way such quiet seems to amplify any sounds that nature serves up – perhaps the honking of geese, the howl of a coyote or the whistle of the wind. Most of all, this image marks the beginning of another day at a place I love. It's a place where young and old race to flagged tip-ups to see what's on the other end of the line. It's where a mess of panfish or walleye will be harvested with various degrees of luck and skill to be later shared at the contrasting warmth of a dinner table. In the end, it's just a photo from one of Nebraska's many places available to enjoy our tradition of pursuing game fish below the surface, whether on hard water or soft. Justin Haag Nov. 30, 2016 Ice Tracks

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