Friday, August 28, 2009

Fireweed Sunset

I was driving through a logging cut when I saw this nice patch of fireweed. I only had to wait about 10 minutes for the sun to drop to the horizon in order to make this image.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

North and South Fowl Lakes

For quite a while now I've known about a road that goes to a boat access on North Fowl Lake on the Canadian side of the lake, but never knew just how to get there. Yesterday I spent the afternoon in Thunder Bay and on my way home I took some time to drive the logging roads and try to find the route to North Fowl Lake. It was actually fairly easy to find (of course, I had a GPS with me so I knew how far away from the river I was. This made it easier to find the route, even though the GPS didn't show any of the roads that I was on). I arrived at the North Fowl shoreline just in time to make the sunset image seen above. As I watched the sun go down I could hear several loons calling from across the lake. Loons are always a treat to hear, but their call is so much more magical when accompanied by a beautiful sunset.

(Above: The sand spit that separates North Fowl from South Fowl)

Now that I knew how to access these two lakes by road, I couldn't wait to get my kayak out on them. So, the next day I crossed the border back into Canada with my kayak and headed back to the boat landing on North Fowl. I spent the whole afternoon and early evening paddling on the lakes, wandering my way around, exploring the shoreline and the many wild rice beds that occupy the lakes. By the time I made it back to the landing I had been on the lakes for about 5 hours and covered over 10 miles. It sure was a great day!

(Above: Launching into the surf on South Fowl Lake)

(Above: "Goose Rock", South Fowl Lake)

(Above and below: I recently purchased a Canon G10 camera and an Aquapac underwater bag for it, with the intention of using it as my primary camera when I am out in the kayak. I also have several ideas for underwater images... one of them being the image below, which is an underwater view of wild rice on North Fowl Lake)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Night Wishes

I am really having a lot of fun with my Canon 5D Mark II. This camera is allowing me to capture images that I never thought were possible. It certainly is a wonderful camera for night photography! The waterfall seen here is Partridge Falls on the Pigeon River in northeast Minnesota. This river is the border between the U.S. and Canada in this part of the state. My friend Roger was up for the weekend and when Roger visits we usually try to do a session of night photography. The concept portrayed in this image was actually Roger's idea. I was in between shooting images when all of a sudden Roger walked out in front of me and stood near the base of the falls, using his flashlight to paint light up, down, left and right across the falls. After I saw his image I knew I had to try one of my own. I have always wanted to try shooting Partridge Falls with the stars above it but with the cameras I used to have the results, while interesting to view at web size, would have been too noisy for printing. The Canon 5D Mark II changes that. I have already had a print of one of these images made, and it is stunning!

(Above: I used my Petzl Tikka headlamp to "paint" light onto the falls during the 30 second exposure.)

(Below: In this image, in addition to my Petzl headlamp, I was also holding my flashlight in my right hand. My intent was to try to look like I was holding a lightsaber, making me look like a Jedi from a Star Wars movie. The effect sort of worked, except my lightsaber is really long!)

After shooting at Partridge Falls, Roger and I then headed down to the Spirit Tree to do some more star shooting, this time with longer exposures to produce some star trail images. In this first image below, I was looking for a unique angle on the tree and was lucky to have both the North Star and the Milky Way in this image behind the tree. Overall, this night was one of the most fun times that I've ever had with a camera!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wolf Pups

Well... today I saw something that I thought I would never see... an entire family of wild wolf pups! I was driving along Old Highway 61 when I saw a young wolf come out onto the road a few hundred feet ahead of me. I stopped the car, and the little wolf just stood there staring at me. After a few moments passed, two more came out onto the road, then another. I could hear at least two more a few feet back in the woods. They were apparently used to cars, because they weren't scared at all by my vehicle. I rolled down my window and was able to shoot several "keeper" images of the pups as they sat in the ditch next to the road. After about 15 minutes of watching them I continued down the road, giddy with excitement at the experience of seeing the wolves.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pigeon River Paddling

Lately I've really been enjoying my new kayak and putting it to good use on the upper half of the Pigeon River. The Pigeon upstream from Partridge Falls is one of my favorite places to paddle. There is about a 4 miles stretch of river upstream from the falls that is very easy to paddle with little current and no rapids. In the past week I've been up to this stretch of river several times, mostly in an attempt to see and photograph moose. So far this year I haven't had much luck in seeing moose. I have, however, seen lots of other wildlife on the river. Beaver, otters and ducks are frequent companions during my travels on the river. There is also usually a Kingfisher that makes an appearance, and once in a while a muskrat will swim by as well. Even without moose sightings, an evening spent on the upper Pigeon River is always wonderful.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August moon over the Blue Heron

This is another "by chance" image that, if I wasn't in the habit of ALWAYS having my camera bag in the car with me, I never would have gotten. This image was captured a few miles north of Grand Marais this evening at 8:35 p.m. I spent afternoon working on my woodpile, stacking the wood so it has as much time to dry as possible before winter. After all that work I was really craving a pizza from Sven and Ole's in Grand Marais, so after a quick shower I hopped in the car and headed to town. On the way in I spotted the research vessel "Blue Heron" a few miles north of town. The moon was also rising, and I drove along the road until the moon and the boat were lined up the way I wanted, then snapped this image through the open driver's side window of the car. The Blue Heron is owned by the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and is often on the lake working with water quality issues, fish populations and the geo-physical structure of Lake Superior. Originally built for fishing off the Grand Banks in the Atlantic Ocean, the vessel was purchased by the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1997 and was sailed from Portland, Maine up the St. Lawrence Seaway to Duluth, where it was converted to a research vessel.