Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best of 2016

2016 was quite the year. As I looked back at the best photos I decided to choose 14 as they are all a bit different and tell a story that I like to remember. So here they are in chronological order. 
Enjoy, and a Happy New Year.
Early January at the north shore of Lake Superior near Grand Marais. There was not much ice to be found but the soft hue of these morning clouds made up for it.
Sunrise on a very cold February morning not too far from home. North of Bruce, Wisconsin on Cty Rd. H
The ice started to break up in mid March. This scene greeted me at Audie Lake on a foggy, calm morning; Blue Hills, Wisconsin. I think this is my number one favorite of 2016. 
Spring is a busy time for me with greenhouse work but I was able to get out to photograph a few times. I watched this goose family for a while at Audie Lake and counted 19 goslings!! The parents did a great job keeping them in line.
Foggy mornings are a photographers dream but they don't happen too often in my area. This was unusual for being it in June and I was able to capture the sun rays right down my drive way.
Summer night at the Chippewa Flowage in northern Wisconsin. The first stars and half moon appeared with the last of the sunset colors. I was hoping to hear some loons but instead people were out there in boats and listening to loud music - go figure!! Eventually they disappeared and I was able to enjoy the sounds of nature.
Bill and I travelled to New Mexico end of August and stopped at the Badlands of South Dakota. Out of the many Buffalo photos I took this turned out to be my favorite with the warm glow of the setting sun.
On our way back home in early September we stopped again at the Badlands. I was determined to get a Milky Way image on this trip. This was the last chance. Clouds started to move in and the moon was rising. This is certainly not a master piece but it was a beautiful night under the stars.
Fall is my favorite season but this year we had a late and very short fall. I managed to get out only once to capture some spider webs with morning dew and golden light.
Early October we spent 2-3 days at Lake Superior. This long exposure of the rocks and water was my favorite from that trip. 
My favorite creek in the Blue Hills. I have many, many photos from that location but this one is very different. I liked the way how the leaves arranged themselves and are pointing down the stream.
We had many cloudy and dreary days in late fall. This image of a railroad trestle across the Chippewa River captured that mood very well.
Mid November morning at Audie Lake. I watched how the light of the rising sun moved across the water and started to light up the trees. Shortly after clouds moved in and turned off the magical light. 
Our first good snow fall came end of November but the snow melted quickly. Hemlock trees at my favorite creek in the Blue Hills.

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.