PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER HAMLIN
The winter of 2013–14 was one of the most severe in Hoosier history, and yet one in which photographer Peter Hamlin found immense inspiration.
“On Martin Luther King Jr. Day [January 20, 2014], I drove out to Lake Monroe before dawn and what unfolded was one of the most remarkable mornings I have witnessed,” he says. “A line of deep crimson on the horizon expanded into a brilliant dawn with every pastel shade possible reflecting and refracting off the clouds and the half-frozen lake. I rushed about ecstatically trying to capture that awe. It was this expansive emotional state and the singularity of the unfolding winter, which drove me back for some 40 early-morning photography sessions across the next three months.”
Hamlin’s favorite shooting spot was the causeway bridge over Lake Monroe on Ind. 446, a place with an ideal north-south orientation over a part of the lake that runs east-west. For a photographer, it meant, “The heavy clouds, traveling on prevailing westerlies, roll across the lake on a collision path with the rising sun.”
Many years working in northern Wisconsin helped Hamlin, 55, prepare for his early-morning treks to Lake Monroe and a low wind chill temperature on one day of minus 18°F. Most of his shots were taken with his Canon 6D, a camera with superlative low-light capabilities.
A Chicago-area native with a master’s degree in instructional technology, Hamlin earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 1984 and returned to Bloomington in 2012 when his wife, Cathy O’Bryan, accepted a position in University Information Technology Systems at IU.
Herein is a gallery of Hamlin’s favorite images from among the thousands he captured on Indiana’s largest inland lake — just 14 miles south of Bloomington.