Saturday, December 20, 2014

Aurora Funnel Cloud

There is a lot of talk today of the strong possibility of aurora activity this weekend.  Unfortunately, here in northeast Minnesota, we are buried under heavy cloud cover for what looks like most of the coming week.  Since I probably won't be able to see the northern lights that are likely to occur tonight, I went back and found an unshared image from the aurora storm the night of October 2, 2013. I remember that night as being one of the best nights of aurora that I've ever witnessed.  

I made several hundred images that night, mostly in an attempt to create a short time-lapse video of the lights.  This photo was chosen from the middle of one sequence of images that I shot.  For at least half an hour I was focused on this particular line of trees with this "funnel" of aurora coming up from between the trees and spreading throughout the sky.  The lights were showing subtle changes from one exposure to the next, but I chose this particular image because it shows the funnel when it was at is brightest.  I sure wish we had clear skies in our forecast for tonight!  Hopefully, others out there will have better conditions and there will be photos to enjoy tomorrow from the possible event tonight.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sunset at The Rock

The other night I went out to photograph the sunset, which was looking pretty promising.  Only problem was, I didn't really know where I was going to go.  I haven't done much sunrise or sunset shooting lately so I was feeling a little out of sorts as far as what I should do.  I ended up not far from  Reservation River in Grand Portage and found this nice rock to photograph.  There was a little bit of snow along the shoreline but really no ice to speak of.  Judging from the look of this picture you would never guess it was taken in December.  At any rate, the color in the sky was really nice and the waves were just barely big enough to be splashing over the rock.  It was a beautiful moment to be standing along the shores of Lake Superior!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December Thaw at High Falls

With the above average temperatures we've had over the past week or so, the ice at High Falls in Grand Portage State Park has diminished considerably.  The face of the waterfall had been almost entirely frozen due to colder than average temperatures in November, but now there is a prominent open channel of running water right in the middle of the waterfall. It makes for a fascinating view!  Last night the temperature got down to around zero degrees so we should maybe see ice forming back up again. I say maybe because the forecast for the coming days is calling for highs in the 30's and lows in the 20's, so the reformation of ice could very well be a slow process. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Aurora over Haines, Alaska

Here are a couple more photographs of the northern lights that I wanted to share from our recent trip to Alaska.  Photographing the aurora was such a different experience than it is from northern Minnesota.  The main thing was that the lights just seemed to be so much brighter.  Even though this wasn't a "Storm" level aurora, the lights were pretty bright and I was able to photograph them at 10 second exposure times at ISO 800 to 1000 using my f/4 lens.  

Here in northern Minnesota, I've rarely been able to photograph them at such settings.  Usually I have to shoot at 30 seconds at ISO 1600.  Sometimes I'm able to get good exposures at ISO 1600 and 15 seconds, or ISO 800 and 20 to 30 second exposures, but this is the first time I was able to photograph them at ISO 800 and 10 seconds.  I can only imagine how awesome the lights must look in Alaska during a full-blown aurora storm.  In the first of these two images, I can see the shape of a bear within the lights.  I actually didn't notice it at first, but Jessica pointed it out to me.  Can you see it?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Foggy December Day in the Maple Forest

Foggy winter days in the forest can yield some of the prettiest views to be found anywhere.  Such was the case a couple of days ago here in northeast Minnesota.  We've had temperatures quite a bit warmer than usual for December which meant that we had some really thick fog up in the forest away from Lake Superior.  I had a lot of fun making photos of the foggy views in the maple forests of Grand Portage.  It was hard to actually get anywhere because I kept stopping to take so many photos! Eventually I had to force myself to slow down and really look before making a picture.  Once I slowed down I started to notice that my images were coming out much nicer.  It always pays to stop and think about what you're doing before you actually make a photograph.  You would think that after 20 years of making images that I would remember that, but sometimes I get caught up in the moment and need to be reminded of it :-)  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Into the Void

We've had quite a lot of fog over the past few days due to warmer than average temperatures for December.  I've been going out for a bit each day to try and capture some photos of the foggy conditions and yesterday yielded the best photos yet!  Before I got to this local inland lake I had a vision for this photo.  I was glad to see that the fog was super thick out over the lake, as I would need such conditions to achieve my vision.  Even though it has been warm in recent days, November was colder than usual so this inland lake already has 14 to 18 inches of ice on it.  Some local fishermen had already been driving their vehicles out onto the lake so I decided to incorporate their vehicle tracks into this photograph.  This was a fun photograph to make and I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Beautiful day's end

We had one heck of a beautiful sunset last night!  It lasted a long time, too.  The clouds and colors kept changing for quite a while.  All I had with me was my little Sony RX100 Mark III, but it did a wonderful job capturing the supreme beauty of the moment!