Monday, February 29, 2016

Frosted Ridge

A beautiful frosty day on the ridges of Grand Portage in northeast Minnesota.  Photo was taken from the Mt. Sophie fire tower.  Mt. Maude can be seen in the distance (the other snow-capped ridge near the upper left of the photo).  I sure do love the varied terrain that we have up here.  It provides for some stunning beauty no matter what season it is!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Winter Day, Blue Sky

Here's a little blue sky beauty and some snowy trees for you.  I just love it when the sun comes out in the winter and there is fresh snow on the trees!  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  It's going to be pretty warm today, so get outside and enjoy it :-)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Moonlight on the Avenue of the Birches

Here is another recent photo taking advantage of the beautiful moonlight we've had.  This photo was made in the Superior National Forest north of Tofte, MN.  I was driving through Superior National Forest in the middle of the night hoping to see some northern lights when I came across these two birch trees flanking the road.  They really caught my eye and I thought they might make for a nice photo, so here it is!

(FYI - There is no actual Avenue of the Birches, that is just my title for this photo)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Beautiful February Night

I love being outside at night.  Especially on nights that are lit by the light of a half-moon or quarter-moon.  The illumination provided by the moonlight helps light things up so you can see, yet the moonlight is not so powerful that it washes out the view of the stars.  It sure makes for some nice photos too.  I was out recently on just such a night and found this nice stand of trees that was illuminated from behind by the moon.  There was also the slightest glow of northern lights visible behind the trees on the right side of the photo.  If you haven't spent time in the woods on a night like this, I urge you to do so.  It's an experience you'll never forget!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Moonlight Shadows, Sawbill Trail

It's been nice to get back out with the camera at night this past week, seems like it's been a long time since I've done that.  This photo was made on a beautiful moonlit night along the Sawbill Trail in the Superior National Forest.  I really liked the long tree shadows being cast across the road by the moonlight.  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Moonlight Ride in the Superior National Forest

Another photo from my moonlight fat bike ride the other night.  This one was taken before the northern lights came out.  I was pedaling down this beautiful forest road bathed in moonlight with a brisk air temp of minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  It was a surreal experience! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

MNDOT Plow - Highway 61

We got a few inches of wet, sloppy snow last night.  But, on my way to work early this morning the highway was already cleared by the ever-vigilant MNDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) crews that work hard at keeping our highways maintained.  And, for some reason, I really like taking pictures of plow trucks doing their thing!  Here is a picture I took a while back of a MNDOT plow clearing the highway through Grand Portage.  Jessica was driving, I was sitting in the passenger seat and shot this photo through the windshield. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Aurora Borealis Bike Ride

What a feeling to be  riding a fat bike on a snowy road illuminated by nothing but moonlight and the glow from the aurora borealis dancing overhead!  This photo was taken at about 1:30 A.M. on February 17, 2016 in the Superior National Forest north of Grand Marais, MN.  What a beautiful night!  I went out in search of the aurora to take pictures of, but I also brought along my bike for a short ride and possible photo op.  I'm glad I brought it because I really like this photo!  I had been riding along one of the gravel forest roads and came upon this clearing with a great view of the sky, so I had to stop for a minute and enjoy the view of the lights. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Head Full of Dreams

After what seemed like an interminably long "dry spell", we finally had some northern lights again last night!  There have been some good aurora forecasts this winter, but every time the aurora showed promise, our sky was socked in with clouds.  Until last night.  While last night's activity was not exactly mind blowing, it was very beautiful with a soft green arc along the northern horizon.  I went out to a location that I had in mind since last fall.  It turned out to be a great spot to photograph the lights.  I snowshoed out into this area that had been logged not long ago in order to frame the trees against the sky with the lights behind them.  I really like how this photo turned out and can't wait to go back during a more powerful storm!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fat Bike Sunset

Since I shared a shadow picture of me and my bike yesterday, I figured I better show a picture of the actual bike too!  So, here is my Surly "Ice Cream Truck", admiring the setting sun on a clear, cold day.  For those that don't know, fat bikes allow you to ride on packed trails in the winter.  They have tires that are at least twice as wide as a typical mountain bike tire, and you run very low pressures in them (5 to 10 psi compared to at least  30 to 35 psi in a mountain bike and probably twice that in a road bike tire).  The large tire footprint and the low pressure gives you tremendous flotation for a bike, allowing you to ride on snow as long as you have a reasonably firm trail to ride on. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Late afternoon winter shadows on the trail... mine and the Ice Cream Truck's

You may have noticed that I have not been posting very many sunrise or sunset landscape photos this winter.  The reason for this is that I have had "fat bike fever" for a good chunk of the winter, in addition to the normal "ski fever".  I've been wanting a fat bike for several years and this year I finally bit the bullet and got one.  During my free time if I haven't been skiing, I've been out riding my bike, which is loads of fun!

I've been taking a lot of pictures this winter, they've just mostly been trail pictures while out skiing or biking.  Here is one such photo taken a couple of days ago.  I was making my way home as the sun was setting and on this particular section of trail the long shadows combined with the receding trail meant that I just had to stop and make a photo.  

FYI - In case you're wondering about the title of this image, my bike is called the Ice Cream Truck, it's one of the models made by Surly Bikes.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Winter Day on Rengo Road

A beautiful winter afternoon on what is probably my favorite stretch of road in all of northern Minnesota, no matter what season it is.  This stretch of maple forest in Grand Portage is one of the most photogenic stretches of road I have ever known.  Of course, in the winter it's not a road at all but is groomed for snowmobiling and is the main route for connecting the Grand Portage trails to the rest of Cook County.  Get out and enjoy winter while it lasts... before we know it spring will be here and all this wonderful snow will be melting...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February Cattails

We finally got some decent snow and some blue sky!  Just before last weekend we received a significant amount of new snow followed by some cold weather, so it finally feels like a proper northern Minnesota winter!  The other day I went for a drive up in the woods and came across this scene. The combination of the tree line, the blue sky with light clouds and the cattails in the foreground really caught my eye.  The snow debris in the foreground is from when the plow truck passed by.  I liked the added texture it gave to the surface of the snow. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Trail to Mt. Sophie

A beautiful winter day on the Grand Portage trails!  Love how the snow is all over in the trees up on the ridge!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February Afternoon in the Minnesota Northwoods

A nice winter scene that I shot during yesterday's fat bike ride.  I recently bought a fat-tire bike which is allowing me to access areas that I otherwise would not be able to get to in the winter (unless I skied or used a snowmobile, which I do not have).  This is one of my favorite views in all of Grand Portage, I just love how the hills look in the distance. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sled Dogs in the Sugar Bush

Julie Albert of Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Quebec runs her dogs through the sugar maple forest of Grand Portage on approach to the half-way turnaround point of the 2016 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

Jason Campeau of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta runs his dogs through the sugar maple forest of Grand Portage on approach to the half-way turnaround point of the 2016 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Beargrease returns to Grand Portage!

For the first time in quite a few years, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is once again running all the way to Grand Portage. In fact, the race used to start and end in Grand Portage.  The Beargrease was always a huge event here when I was growing up, and I remember volunteering to help with the race.  It sure is nice to see the teams running here once again. Jessica and I went up after work today to watch the teams arrive at Mineral Center in Grand Portage.  In this photo Jennifer Freking of Finland, MN and her team run the final stretch of trail approaching Mineral Center just before darkness fell on the forest of northern Minnesota.