Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bald Eagle on the bay

Just a quick post today to share a few images of the Bald Eagle that was perched across the road from my driveway. It was kind of a rainy day, and this eagle sat out there for about an hour.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My new boat!

Well, after 10 years of wanting a kayak I was finally able to get one! I went down to Duluth this week and picked up a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 165. I could barely contain my excitement as I drove back from Duluth with the kayak on top of the car. This evening I went for my first paddle in the new boat.

It was a sublime evening on the bay, perfect for trying out the boat and getting a feel for it. I was just going to goof around right in front of the house with it, but it was so nice I decided to actually "circumnavigate" the bay with it. The first thing I noticed was how much easier it glides through the water compared to my canoe. I played around for a little while in front of the house, practicing turning and getting used to the feel and balance of the boat. Then I headed over to the Hat Point Marina and paddled up to the Isle Royale ferry "Wenonah", which looks positively gargantuan from the seat of a kayak! Next, I headed for Pete's Island. After only about 10 minutes of paddling, I was at the island (I thought it would take longer to get there!). I landed and got out for a minute to stretch my legs (not used to the sitting position yet!).

For the next leg of my "trial paddle", I went from Pete's Island to "The Pines", a picnic area on the east side of Grand Portage National Monument. As I crossed the bay there was a gentle swell rolling into the bay and every now and then one of the swells would give me a little push, causing my speed to increase. As the boat rose and fell on the backs of these swells, it was a wonderful feeling. It felt like I could feel the lake breathing. I can tell I'm going to love this sport! This wasn't my first time kayaking, but it had been awhile so the sensations all felt new again. After reaching the pines, I turned and followed the shoreline back to my house. This part of the bay is very shallow and almost entirely sand bottom. It was fun gliding along and watching the ripples in the sand as they passed beneath the boat. When I got back to my place, my brother was sitting there waiting for me. He had seen me paddling and wanted to give the boat a quick try. I pulled up parallel to shore and in my haste to climb out, promptly tipped over on the lakeside of the boat and got completely wet. Oh, well! I also got to try out my new bilge pump :-) I can't wait until the next outing!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Woodchucks at Grand Portage State Park

At work this week we've noticed some new little critters running around near the visitor center... a family of woodchucks! They are living under the boardwalk and in the bushes next to the visitor center. Throughout the day they venture out to chew on the grasses and dandelions in the yard.

Every now and then one of the young ones takes off running down the paved trail, much to the delight of the park visitors. They look so funny when they are running full speed! And, they are much quicker than I thought. I never realized they could run so fast.

We have recently had construction work begin on the site for our new visitor center, so there is a lot more noise than there usually would be, what with chainsaws running and dump trucks and loaders coming and going. The noise doesn't seem to bother these guys, though, as they are pretty active all day long. If you happen to visit the park, keep an eye out for them as you walk past the visitor center!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Awesome Lightning!

This evening an incredible series of thunderstorms rolled across Grand Portage Bay between 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. It was some of the most intense lightning I've ever seen in this area. I photographed the lightning for almost 3 hours from my boat shed on the Lake Superior shoreline. The image above was a 9 second exposure, with an aperture of f8 and the ISO set at 200. I got really lucky on the image below, as the lightning flashed almost immediately after I hit the button on the remote shutter release, and it was a very bright flash so I hit the button again right after the flash. It ended up being only a one second exposure!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moonrise Magic

If you've never stayed up and watched a moonrise in the middle of the night, you need to do it sometime. Put it at the top of your list! When its dark out and the moon comes up, it is soooo orange, you won't believe your eyes. Couple that warm light with calm waters and some nice clouds and you're in for a treat you won't soon forget!

My friend Roger was up for another visit, and we were getting in some more night-time shooting experience with our cameras. We waited for the moonrise on both friday and saturday nights. Both nights were equally spectacular. We made exposures anywhere from 30 seconds to half an hour in length. The clouds made for some very special images for the both of us. These two nights were some of the most fun that I've had shooting the moonrise.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An evening in Duluth

Duluth is a beautiful city, and whenever I come to Duluth (if I have the time) I do the good "tourist" thing and make a stop at Canal Park. My brother and I have some appointments tomorrow, but we decided to come down tonight so we could see a movie and not be so rushed tomorrow. As we came into town we noticed an ore boat out on the lake, heading towards the ship canal. We decided to check in quickly at our hotel then go to Canal Park to watch the ship come through.

When we got to Canal Park, it looked like the ship's passing was going to be timed perfectly with the setting sun. However, the ship was moving so slowly that by the time it entered the canal the sun had gone down and the ship was no longer in that nice, warm evening light. Oh well! I still snapped a few pictures as it went through. The image below was shot with my 17mm lens, which allowed me to fit the whole ship in the frame at close range, but also distorted the look a little bit.

After hanging out at Canal Park for a little while longer, we went to see the new "X-Men" movie. When the movie was over, we took a walk along the harbor past the Vista dock, and I took a few pictures along the way. I loved the reflections in the water in the image below:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pre-dawn light on the shores of Superior

This time of year its amazing how early in the morning it starts to get light. These images were made at about 4:00 a.m. today! They were exposures several seconds in length (about 5 to 6 seconds). It certainly was a beautiful morning, and a very calm one on the lake.