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.

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