Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Surreal Sky over the Platte River Valley

As I continue working on sorting through images from past trips, I continue to find images I'd like to share with you from those trips.  This photograph is from a trip to the Platte River Valley, Nebraska in March 2011.  That was a year of some incredible photography along the Platte River.  We witnessed several jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets.  We also saw some pretty amazing things during the day, like this unbelievably surreal cloud-filled sky one afternoon while driving around looking for groups of sandhill cranes to photograph.  The cottonwoods along the edge of the river made for a nice foreground to the lines and shapes in the clouds. The clouds that day were unforgettable, a strange sky that I will never forget. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nebraska Moon

Still going through some old photos!  Last night I was working on a folder from March 2011 which contained images from my spring trip to the southwest.  I found 4 new images that I wanted to add to the Nebraska gallery of my website.  My friend Roger and I had visited Nebraska on our way to Arizona and Utah.  The main reason for visiting Nebraska in March is to see the annual migration of Sandhill Cranes.  In March of 2011 our trip coincided with the full moon, which made for some spectacular photo opportunities.  Each evening we had great fun trying to capture the cranes flying in front of the moon at sunset.  The light layers of clouds also made for some pretty interesting photographs of the moon without any birds.  This image was my favorite that I came across.  I just had to share it!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

September Stars, Spirit Tree

I've been working on sorting through my older images, culling them down to just the best of the best. I'm doing this because I have WAY too many images. So far, I've whittled them down from 80,000 to about 50,000. By the time I'm done I should have about 15,000 to 20,000 photos from 2001 to the present. Still too many, but a lot more manageable than before! 

At any rate, every now and then I come across one that just makes me go "Oooooooh!" Last night I came across one such photo, taken in September 2011. The sky in this photo is unreal. It was taken during that magic time when the stars are really starting to become visible but there is still some lingering light in the sky. A 30 second exposure at ISO 1600 really picks up that last bit of faint daylight.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Milky Way and Aurora Glow

Another flashback to a night of Milky Way photography in August 2014.  I was scoping out some new locations for photographing the northern lights and the stars.  I hit the jackpot with this location that had been logged a few years ago.  The loggers left a really nice selective stand of mature trees that silhouette beautifully against the sky.  On this particular night I was focusing on making images of the stars with the trees, but as you can see in this photo the aurora made a very slight appearance.  There was the softest glow low above the northern horizon.  I couldn't even see it with my own eyes, but the camera was able to record it with a 30 second exposure and a high ISO setting of 6400.  I can't wait to make it back to this location when there is a raging geomagnetic storm!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Skiing to Golden Eagle

Yesterday we spent the afternoon skiing the beautiful trails of the Central Gunflint Ski Trail system.  This is a beautiful, very well-maintained network of trails along the Gunflint Trail outside of Grand Marais, MN.  We ski here a few times each year and it's always a wonderful experience.  Yesterday was no exception, with an air temp around 23 degrees and beautifully groomed trails.  We skied from Bearskin Lodge over to Golden Eagle Lodge and had one of their delicious cups of cocoa while enjoying their warm hospitality before skiing back to Bearskin.  The view shown in this photo is of Flour Lake, seen from the Old Logging Camp Trail.  It was one of my favorite sections of the trail.  Shortly after making this photo we branched off and skied the Deer Mouse Trail... wheeeeeeeee!  Fun hills on that trail :-)  Thank you to the resorts for maintaining such an awesome network of trails!  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Midsummer Night's Dream

Yesterday I was thinking back on some of the nights that I've gone out to photograph the Milky Way last year and realized I still have images from those nights that I want to work on and share.  Here is one of those images, taken on the night of July 29, 2014.  This was the 3rd night in a row I had gone out to photograph the Milky Way.  The first two nights were beautiful, but the conditions were not quite ideal.  There was too much humidity creating a haze in the sky that made the stars look too faint in my images.  The third night was cooler with less humidity and it's amazing how much crisper and brighter the stars looked.  

I made a lot of photographs that night, some of which were shared with you a few days later.  This one, however, never got shared until now.  I don't know why, because I really like it!  It has one of my "character" trees in it.  This particular tree I call "The Conductor", because when viewed from the opposite side, it has branches that curve upwards in a way that makes it look like the conductor of a symphony.  The main reasons I like this photo are because of the clarity of the Milky Way, the "conductor" tree, and the streaks of two early Perseid meteors that I managed to be lucky enough to capture in this frame.  The Perseid meteor shower typically peaks a week or two into August, but they start becoming visible in late July.  I consider myself incredibly lucky to have caught these two streaks so prominently in this photo!  Oh, there is also some "airglow" evident in this photo (the horizontal streaks of light).  When I first captured airglow in a night photo, I wasn't sure if I liked it.  But, I've come to appreciate it more and feel it adds even more impact to photographs of the night sky :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Winter's Night at the Spirit Tree

Today it is dreary, windy and snowing but the other night the air was completely calm and not a cloud was in sight.  The stars were so vivid it seemed as though you could reach up and pluck them from the sky.  A cold but supremely beautiful night on the shores of Lake Superior in Grand Portage, MN!