Sunday, March 20, 2016

Red Canyon in the Blue Hills, Wisconsin

The first day of spring greeted us with sunshine here in northern Wisconsin. A good day to explore Red Canyon in Rusk County - another special but hard to find place in the Blue Hills.
The ground was still frozen and made walking easy on the ATV trail. Not so much on the way out as everything turned to mud and some parts looked more like a creek than path.
This is what it looked from the top and I was happy to see a good amount of water falling over the rocks. Later in the season there is only a trickle or nothing at all.

The red rock that forms the canyon walls is quartzite.

I spent most of the time shooting images close to the waterfall and ice. I really liked the different textures and contrasts of the red rocks, moss, ice and water. By the time I left my hands were frozen in spite of the sunny day. 

Looking out into the canyon.

Looking into the canyon as I was leaving. 

For anyone who wants to venture out there - the visitor center in Ladysmith has brochures with information and directions. It is off Meadow Dam Rd (which is off Cty H, north of Bruce, WI)

Monday, March 14, 2016

(Un) seeing

I spent the past weekend at the Spring Break Photography workshop in the Twin Cities. It's a great event to meet other photographers and get inspired by the Pros. One of the speakers was Ian Plant, an amazing photographer/artist from Minnesota. (
He talked about the art of "(un)seeing" - to see visual elements "for what else they are" and not how our eyes are trained to see them.
He had many good pointers, like looking for shapes when composing an image. In his landscape photos he often includes a foreground element that complements another shape in the image, like a cloud or mountain. 
Another one he talked about was to create a sense of mystery, to capture moods and emotions. 
You can download a free ebook on his website that mentions some of these ideas.

It was a foggy morning here in the Blue Hills of northern Wisconsin and I thought, what a good opportunity to put some of these ideas into practice.  
I went to one of my favorite places, Audie Lake. I have taken many photos of that one curve in the road leading to the lake so I stopped today as well. Right away I noticed this little tree loaded with dew drops - quite enchanting. I tried several compositions and liked this one the best, using my 70-200mm lens at f/2.8 to get a soft background.

When I arrived at the lake I was greeted by several canada geese who seemed very excited. I thought it was because of me but they had their own dispute going on and did a lot of honking.

I liked the soft mood that the fog created and the lack of color. I did very little post processing with these images. I found some moss covered logs and grasses along the shore and tried to include them in my wide angle images. But in the end I was drawn to the simplicity of these photos I chose for this blog. They captured the mood of the morning far better. I also liked the lines of the birch trees and their reflections in the stretch of open water. 
So I am not sure if I succeed in applying the techniques that I heard about but I had a great time in the solitude of the north woods - listening to the geese talk and other birds that were around.

"Photography for me is not looking, it's feeling. If you can't feel what you are looking at, then you're never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures." (Don McCullin)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Best of 2015

By the end of the year I like to look back and pick 12 of the best photos I took. It is never an easy task to narrow it down. During the months of November and December I did not have many opportunities to go out and shoot.
Happy New Year and enjoy my selection.

It is always a good idea to turn around and look what is going on there. I was trying to get a photo of Split Rock lighthouse at Lake Superior's north shore at sunset. When I looked behind me I was greeted with these beautiful and intense sunset colors.

Another winter scene at Lake Superior's north shore. A little island near Grand Marais, MN. 

Ice Cave arch, at the Apostle Island's ice caves near Bayfield and Cornucopia, WI. The ice caves were accessible only for a short time. This photo was taken in early March. The day started out with a snowstorm but the sun came out in the afternoon. Only few people visited on that day which was great for picture taking.

A budding maple tree in early May, on a foggy morning. I like the mood and light on this one.

Solstice sunset at Meyer's Beach, Lake Superior (near Cornucopia, WI).  The moods and clouds kept changing so fast - I could have posted five different photos of that evening, but had to pick just one.

Aurora Angel, on June 22nd. The most incredible Northern Lights I ever witnessed. The lights were dancing all around us and above. Taken right outside my house in the Blue Hills, northern Wisconsin.

A beautiful and typical summer day in northern Wisconsin. I came by this pretty scene on my way home from work. In the Blue Hills, near Exeland, northern Wisconsin.

Now and Then Falls, at Amnicon Falls State Park in northern Wisconsin.  We had plenty of rain in early July and lucked out to see these falls with a good amount of water.  Typically these falls only run in the spring (therefore the name Now and Then). 

The Milky Way rising behind a barn in my neighborhood, August 2015.  Nowadays the better cameras are able to pick up a lot of details in the night sky. Pretty amazing stuff!!!

An unforgettable view

The highlight of our fall color trip to the North shore of Lake Superior. An unforgettable view from the fire tower on Mt. Sophie near Grand Portage, MN. Speckled Trout and Swamp Lake. It was windy and a bit scary to climb the fire tower but worth all the effort.

Tamarack trees at Audie Lake, in the Blue Hills, northern Wisconsin .  Perfect reflections on a calm evening. The fall colors started late and lasted way into October.

Milkweed seeds at sunrise, in early November. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Autumn in the Blue Hills 2015

This year the fall colors started 1-2 weeks later then usual. It turned out to be a beautiful fall with warm weather though I thought the colors weren't as vibrant as in other years.
Here is a small sampling from the Blue Hills area in Rusk County, northern Wisconsin where I live and feel fortunate to call my home.
Enjoy, Susanne

Early fall colors with gorgeous blue sky at Audie Lake

Magic in the woods - a small creek connecting Audie and Perch lake

The Sumacs put on a brilliant show and the leaves stayed on for a long time

My favorite creek

Another view of my favorite creek

Rock Creek in Gundy's Canyon

Sunset colors at Audie Lake, late fall

Tamarack reflections in late evening light at Audie Lake

Birch trees and Tamaracks reflecting in Audie Lake, late fall
Tamaracks are glowing in the last sunlight of the day. At the boat landing of Audie Lake.

Evening clouds at Audie Lake

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Best of 2014

By the end of the year I like to look back and view the photos I took by each month.
I picked 12 of the best, though not necessarily by month.

The winter provided great opportunities starting out with the Apostle Islands ice caves. The caves near Bayfield and Cornucopia, WI at Lake Superior's south shore  made international news. I was able to visit twice before the mad rush of thousands of people arrived. The photo of the ice cave hikers was also chosen for the back cover of a book (Capture Wisconsin).

Winter hung around for a long time and the second photo was taken in March on a very cold day close to where I live in northern Wisconsin - a barn with fence line at sunset.

Spring time was very short and we were plagued with mosquitos which made it almost impossible to go out in the evening hours. So I started to experiment with shooting flowers on a light box indoors. The third photo is a sample of that (peonies, irises)

Bill and I like to visit Lake Superior, especially the north shore - a 2 ½ - 3 hrs drive. Photos number 4 and 5 were taken in mid July. Split Rock Lighthouse is a very popular destination and many pictures have been taken of this landmark but not the composition I chose. I took this image of the light house around sunset with a wide angle lens. It won a Photo of the Day award in Capture Minnesota.

The next photo of Ellingsen Island was taken the same evening and the light house is in the background to the left. I really liked the reflection of the clouds in the lake.

We finally fulfilled our desire to get a couple of kayaks. The next photo was taken after sunset on one of our first trips to Audie Lake in the Blue Hills, Wisconsin. The new clinic in Ladysmith chose this photo to hang on the wall at their reception desk. 7 more of my photos are displayed in the hallway.

Astro photography has become very popular as the newer camera models are better suited for night photography. So I had to give it a try. Photo number 7 is the Milky Way with a barn in the foreground not too far from where I live. I have a lot to learn yet about this subject.

Fall is definitely my favorite time of the year and my most prolific when it comes to taking photos. We had a gorgeous fall season with great colors and weather. The next 3 photos were all taken in the Blue Hills, WI - a favorite creek of mine, 3 pines on a small island on Audie Lake and Devil's Kettle.

End of October I left for a retreat in New Mexico and on the way stopped at the Badlands in South Dakota where I was able to take several photos of bisons. This group was grazing peacefully in the last daylight. I like the soft colors and painterly look of this image.

And at last a photo of one of my 3 kittens (Indigo) that were born by the end of September. I took hundreds of photos and posted them in several other blog posts. But I had to include at least one here as well.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
Enjoy, Susanne