Frosty at the Falls

Winter photo ops abound along the Idaho Falls Riverwalk

Published online: Jan 02, 2020 Articles, Discover Idaho Falls: Parks and Recreation, East Idaho Outdoors, Family Fun Guide, Photography Steve Smede
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If outdoor photography is your thing, January offers some unique opportunities. Our region has an abundance of winter subject matter, from wildlife preserves to snowcovered mountains, icy rivers and various venues for winter sports. But if the cold temps and windswept blizzards are a bit much for your photographic temperament, no worries -- you can always make a day of it right close to home at the Idaho Falls Riverwalk.

Try these three occasions for shooting along the shorelines:

1. During a heavy, warm snow. Big flakes make focusing tricky, but they also create a wintry ambiance that brings the entire riverscape to life. Just remember to use weather-sealed cameras and lenses, if possible. Also do your best to keep the front filter clear of moisture. Heavy snow is wet snow.

2. After waking up to a frost-covered morning. Nothing beats the visual allure of tree-branches coated in depositional frost (also known as white frost or hoar frost). According to meteorologist Jeff Haby, it occurs when the dewpoint is below freezing. "When this frost forms the water vapor goes directly to the solid state," he says. "Depositional frost covers the vegetation, cars, etc. with ice crystal patterns (treelike branching pattern). If the depositional frost is thick enough, it resembles a light snowfall."

3. The beginning of a cold snap. This is the most visually dramatic time on the river, when the air over surrounding land chills and rolls over the surface of the water. According to the weather Gurus at Mother Nature Network (, the thin, warm, moist layer of air over the water then mixes with the cooler air from the land. "As it cools, condensation occurs and a fog forms. It looks like steam rising off the water, hence the name 'steam fog.'"

Got some great wintertime photos to share from around the river? Send them our way!


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