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)