Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pancake Ice

So far, this winter has been rather mild with very little snow and days/nights that have been too warm for any serious development of ice on the lake. Last night, however, the temp did drop a bit which meant that this morning there were some nice "pancakes" of ice floating in a couple of areas along Grand Portage Bay. One of these areas (shown above) was very close to my house. How could I resist stopping and making an image of such beautiful ice formations so close to my home?

After photographing the ice I took a drive up to the Mt. Josephine wayside along Highway 61. This wayside was improved by the MN Department of Transportation this year. They replaced the bathroom building, built a new parking area and picnic sites, and last but not least constructed a very nice viewing platform that takes in the view of Mt. Josephine, Wauswaugoning Bay and the Susie Islands. The photo below was taken from this new viewing platform. I have taken many a photo from this location over the years, but I have never seen the trees stand out the way they do in this photo. The lighting was such that it really accented the trees. Even though there isn't really too much snow or ice in the photo, I still think it conveys a strong feeling of winter.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ice Details

My focus for the past week has been to try and find interesting ice patterns. I believe I have found several that easily fit that criteria, the ones shown here are my favorites from the week. The first one (shown above) is a macro shot of frost on the sheet metal of my truck. This is a very close-up shot that only shows an area about 3x3 inches.

Above: One of my favorite types of ice is shown above, when ice completely coats vegetation along the Lake Superior shoreline. It never ceases to amaze me how things can freeze in such a way, as to have one blade of grass completely encased in ice, like that shown here.

Another fascinating type of ice is when puddles freeze in such a particular way as to have all these patterns within the ice. While walking along the Lake Superior shoreline I found several such puddles. Each one had such unique patterns it was mesmerizing and I had to stop and stare for a while at each one that I came across.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Dawn over the Grand Marais Lighthouse

I went out this morning with the hopes of capturing the Lunar eclipse, but heavy cloud cover put a stop to that plan. There was, however, a small break in the clouds to the East where the sun was soon to rise. This photo was made about half an hour before sunrise when there was a nice, soft glow of color coming from behind the clouds.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Something New

This evening I tried out a "new" (to me) location along the Lake Superior shoreline North of Grand Marais, MN. It turned out to be a wonderful spot and I had great fun spending the evening shooting here. I still can't believe I've never been down to this spot before! It is just a short walk from Highway 61, and is actually part of the Superior Hiking Trail. Many thanks to my friend Bryan Hansel ( for letting me know about this amazing little slice of Lake Superior's shore.

Most of the beach in this area consists of small pebbles, but there is also a small rocky outcrop that juts out into the lake. On the tip of this rocky outcrop is a small island that is only a few feet from shore. It just so happens that the moon was rising over this small island during my visit. Also along the rocky outcrop were several types of plants that were coated in ice from recent waves and spray coming off the lake. As many of you know, winter is a favorite time of mine for photography mostly because I loooooove photographing ice!

After shooting for about an hour and a half along the Lake Superior shore, I headed home for a bite to eat. As soon as my stomach was full I headed back out to do some more shooting. It was a beautiful moonlit night and I wasn't about to let that go to waste! So, I headed up along the Pigeon River and made some photos of Partridge Falls bathed in moonlight. What a great day for some early winter photography!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Starry Night in the Maple Forest

This photo was made last night when there was supposed to be a pretty good chance of seeing some Northern Lights. While the Aurora was a no-show, the stars last night were incredibly vivid, so much so that it felt like you could reach up and pluck them from the sky.

The magic of the night reminded me of my favorite quote from Vincent van Gogh:

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tower Galaxy

I haven't been doing much shooting so far this November, so lately I've been working on more photos that were taken earlier this fall. This particular photo was made on the night of September 4, 2011 at about 1:00 in the morning. The Milky Way was so bright that night it looked like it was jumping out of the sky at us. This was a 40 second exposure taken with a Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon EF 17-40mm lens. The lens aperture was set at f4 and the camera's ISO was set to 6400.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grand Marais Sunset

This was the scene tonight at sunset in Grand Marais, Minnesota. It was cloudy all day, but as sometimes happens during this gray time of year, the day ended with a splash of color!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Northern Photography exhibit at Johnson Heritage Post in Grand Marais, MN

On display at Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery in Grand Marais, MN through December 4th are several prints from my Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) collection. All the prints are also for sale! The display includes 5 of my new "metal" prints, which are made on sheets of aluminum, as well as 3 more traditional matted and framed prints. There is also a small collection of matted (but unframed) prints available. Be sure to stop by and check them out if you happen to be in Grand Marais between now and December 4th! Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Sundays from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Last color at Partridge Falls

Here's one of my favorite fall color shots from this year. Taken the weekend of October 1st and 2nd.

Monday, October 31, 2011

October Milky Way

Over the weekend we were hoping to see some Northern Lights, but no such luck in that department. We did, however, have fun photographing the Milky Way Galaxy! This is also a landmark photograph in that it is the first one on my website that was shot at ISO 12,800! Normally an ISO setting that high would have too much noise to be a usable shot, but I think because of the cold air last Saturday night (temp was in the low 30's), the sensor didn't heat up as much as it normally would and thus I was able to shoot at higher ISO's than I normally do. At any rate, I hope you enjoy the photo!

Above: "Sweeping Stars" - The same composition as the previous photo, only this one was a 75 minute exposure.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Aurora Surprise!

I had gotten home from work yesterday evening and was pretty tired so after an early dinner I laid down for a nap. I woke at 9:00 PM and decided to check to see if there were any CME's (Coronal Mass Ejections from the sun) recorded during the day. To my surprise, there was a fresh Aurora picture and news of a CME that hit our atmosphere earlier that evening! I then checked the Auroral oval and the kp index which indicated STORM level, so within a few minutes my photography gear was loaded in the truck and off I went to do some shooting.

I spent the next 6 hours making images of the Northern Lights. I went to several different locations and recorded several hundred images throughout the night, including some sequences that I combined into a timelapse video. The most intense and colorful lights occurred between 2:00 and 3:00 AM, with pillars of light dancing sideways across the sky, dominated ultimately by some deep red hues. It was a fascinating night of picture-taking and Aurora-watching!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Speckled Cloud Sunset at the Spirit Tree

A recent sunset image taken down at the tree. Normally this is not a very good place for sunset photos, but I got lucky on this evening as the clouds lit up in a rather interesting fashion with all these little splotches of color. The color only lasted for a couple of minutes, so it's a good thing I was there at the right time otherwise I would have missed it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Storm, Kawishiwi River

Yesterday as I was driving home from Ely there were some of the coolest looking storm clouds I've ever seen moving along the Kawishiwi River. I couldn't resist stopping and making some photographs!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Northern Lights - September 28, 2011

I have quite a few pictures of fall colors and such from last weekend that I should be working on, but what can I say... I have Aurora Fever! I keep getting drawn back to shots that are in my "waiting to be worked on" folder. This one was taken at 2:00 A.M. in the morning on September 28. For about two hours I had been watching faint but active Auroras, then just before 2 A.M. they got noticeably brighter just before a big, dark cloud bank moved in. This is my favorite shot from that night. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

McFarland Twilight

30 second exposure taken on October 4, 2011 at 7:52 P.M.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Paths Almost Crossed

Ruffed Grouse and hiker on a backwoods road in Northeast Minnesota.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Foggy Fall Morning

Taken Saturday morning of last weekend. An overnight low temperature of 28 degrees made for some beautiful fog over the inland lakes Saturday morning. Fog combined with fall colors... not many things make for better photos conditions!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall Photo Adventure

This past weekend was a "Fall Photo Adventure" with 3 very good photographer friends that came to visit Grand Portage for a couple of days. My good friend Roger was accompanied by his brother Ralph from California, and Jake (Gary Jacobson) joined us from the Twin Cities. We had loads of fun, not nearly enough sleep and came away with more great shots than we can count! The fall colors this year have been incredible and their visit on this weekend couldn't have been timed more perfectly for the peak color. If you'd like to check out some of their photographs, here are their websites:

Gary "Jake" Jacobson:

Above: Jake: "Some people hunt with a rifle, I hunt with a Canon."

Above: Roger capturing the view of the Pigeon River valley

Above: Ralph and Jake enjoying a roadside lunch

Above: The whole crew on one of the local fire towers. From left to right: Me (Travis Novitsky!), Gary "Jake" Jacobson, Ralph Nordstrom, Roger Nordstrom.

Above: Jake shooting the waterfall

Above: Jake and Ralph figuring out their next shots

Above: On Friday night we were doing some star shooting and were treated to a nice surprise showing of the Northern Lights!

Above: Roger is always looking for unique angles

Above: Photographers all in a row!

Above: The guys posing with their cameras

Above: Ralph photographing fall color reflections

Above: Jake takes in the view at Esther Lake

Above: Jake and Ralph shooting along the shoreline of a beautiful Northwoods lake!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Honeymoon Trail, Northeast Minnesota

The colors are fantastic right now! Better get out there and enjoy them while they last!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Caribou Lake Colors

Autumn at White Sky Rock along the Caribou Trail in Cook County, MN.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Minnesota's Maple Mountains

Photo taken just before sunset this evening. The colors are starting to get really nice out there!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Aurora Borealis over the Border

Northern Lights on September 26, 2011 - I was standing on the U.S. side of the U.S./Canada border in Northeast Minnesota when I took this picture. If you look closely you can see a couple of small red lights from communication towers on the horizon. Those towers are in Ontario, Canada.

Above: "Mt. Maude Aurora" - Northern Lights from last night at about 9:13 P.M. Exposure time for this shot was 30 seconds, aperture f4, ISO 2500 using a Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon EF 17-40mm L lens. This shot also made the front page at today!