Friday, December 30, 2016
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Yesterday we got out for a day of awesome skiing on the Central Gunflint Ski Trails. The conditions were perfect! The trails were (as always) very nicely groomed and there was a nice gentle snow falling all day. It was the kind of day that made you wish you could just ski all day every day!
Monday, December 26, 2016
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Here's another photo of a recent night sky in northeast Minnesota. For some reason this photo just seems like a good Christmas photo to me. It sure was a beautiful night to be out in the woods underneath such a glorious star-filled sky!
Saturday, December 24, 2016
The winter night sky sure is a thing of beauty! On clear, cold nights you can see more stars than you ever thought possible. Especially in a place like northern Minnesota, where light pollution is thankfully still pretty minimal. This photo was made along Old Highway 61 in Grand Portage, MN in the early morning hours of December 23, 2016.
Friday, December 23, 2016
A sky full of stars above High Falls of the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park, MN. What a supremely beautiful night! I was hoping for the northern lights to be visible last night, but they never really came out. The view of the stars sure was incredible though!
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Here is what High Falls of the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park currently looks like. There has been a lot of ice development on the waterfall thanks to the week of very cold temperatures we just had. There is, however, still one large channel of running water right in the middle of the waterfall. This photo was taken late in the day just as the sun was setting to the west (the view here is looking north). I really liked the clouds on this day and the way they mirrored the angle of the line of trees on the right side of the photo.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Today we rode our fat bikes on Old Highway 61 in Grand Portage, MN to the old border crossing and back. It was an awesome day, with a temperature right around 32 degrees. Super comfortable for riding! Along the way we saw the county plow coming and I quickly pulled out the camera to make this photo as the plow met with Jessica. I thought it made for a cool shot!
Monday, December 19, 2016
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Jessica and I got out in the cold this morning to witness this beautiful, steamy sunrise over Lake Superior just minutes from our home. Unlike the other morning when I hiked up Mt. Josephine to photograph the steam, this morning was (thankfully) very calm. No wind to make things miserable. We stood in awe as nature played out this scene before us. To top it off we saw a bald eagle circling over the bay when we first arrived on the shoreline. We couldn't ask for a better start to the day!
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Before choosing a spot to stand to make this photo I watched the waves for a while to see how far up the beach they were coming. I set up in what I thought was a safe spot and photographed the rock from that spot for almost 15 minutes. Then a rogue wave came and splashed me pretty hard and got me wet from the waist down. Luckily my snow pants kept me dry but after just a few seconds all the water that hit me was frozen to my pants, making them quite stiff. Walking around after that was definitely a funny feeling.
I used a 6-stop ND filter and a 2-stop graduated ND filter to lessen the amount of light entering the camera, allowing me to use a much longer shutter speed than normal. This ended up being a 30 second exposure which really softened the look of the waves, making the water appear much calmer than it actually was.
Friday, December 16, 2016
Yesterday morning I got up early to make the trek up Mt. Josephine to photograph the sea smoke on Lake Superior. I knew that the high vantage point (the summit is 700 feet in elevation above the lake) would make for excellent viewing of one of Lake Superior's most fascinating phenomenon. I love the winter and sea smoke is one of the reasons why. As cold arctic air moves in and hits the (comparatively) warm water of Lake Superior, it makes steam that rises off the surface of the lake. Commonly referred to as sea smoke, it makes for a fascinating photographic subject.
All night long the wind blew like crazy. I was hoping it would die down by morning as I really wanted to hike up the mountain but didn't want to do it in the crazy wind. Thankfully, around 5:00 A.M. the wind did let up considerably. I crawled out of bed at 6:30 and bundled up for the trek up the mountain. On the short drive to the trailhead my car was indicating that the temperature outside was minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit. There was still some wind, but it wasn't bad. I had a mile of hiking to do with a 700 foot gain in elevation. The trick was to move slow and steady. I didn't want to get too warm and sweat too much on the way up, because then I would be freezing while I stood on the summit making photographs.
About halfway up the mountain I started get back into the wind. It had been relatively calm down at the start of the trail but as I gained elevation the wind picked up again. By the time I got to the summit it was howling pretty good. Luckily, the wind was mostly at my back as I stood making photographs of the lake. I spent about an hour on the summit making photos and timelapse sequences of the sea smoke as the wind pushed it out across the surface of the lake. I came home with a lot of cool images and enough timelapse sequences to make a nice little video compilation, which I will be sharing later today. I had a little bit of a chill the rest of the day after this outing, so going to the hot tub last night at the community center sure felt good!
Thursday, December 15, 2016
The season of COLD has arrived! That means the ice factory is now in full swing. Everywhere you look you can find ice. This photo was taken at sunset last night along the Lake Superior shoreline at Hollow Rock Resort in Grand Portage, MN. The waves were a bit unpredictable. Just moments after I made this photo a splash from a wave hit my camera lens. The water froze to the lens before I had a chance to clean it off. Luckily I had made this image before the splash!
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
I'm working on a backlog of images today from this fall that I never got around to posting. This photograph was made on the evening of September 29th. I call it "Light Speed" because it reminds me of the movie Star Wars. To make this photo I composed my shot to have the galactic center of the Milky Way running right through the middle of the frame.
I had the camera in manual mode and the exposure set to 30 seconds with an aperture of f/2.8 and ISO of 6400. I was using the Nikon 14-24 lens and for the first half of the exposure I left the lens at 14mm and for the second half I very slowly (and as smoothly as possible) zoomed the lens from 14mm to 24mm. The first 15 seconds records the stars as points of light and the second 15 seconds as you zoom the lens records the stars as streaks of light. It's a fun technique to play around with!
Monday, December 12, 2016
The ice at High Falls in Grand Portage State Park continues to impress! It literally is changing every day. I go up there every day and always find new compositions to photograph. This wall of fascinating formations lies right in between the two main channels of the waterfall. It's hard to put a sense of scale to what we're looking at here... the area shown in this photo is at least 20 feet tall and probably 25 to 30 feet wide.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
We haven't seen the sun much in the past month but when we have it's been glorious! Earlier this week we headed inland away from Lake Superior to see how much snow had fallen in the woods. There was quite a bit as it turns out! About a foot of snow blanketed the landscape, compared to barely an inch just a few miles away in our yard along the Lake Superior shoreline. Our forecast is calling for more snow in the next 24 hours. 4 to 6 inches possible today with another 2 to 4 possible tonight. Time will tell! I'm anxious for it... I love winter :-)
Friday, December 9, 2016
There's nothing quite like a bike ride on a beautiful winter day! This is what the forest looks like right now inland from Lake Superior in Grand Portage, MN. A snow-filled paradise! The first significant snowfall of the year was rather wet and heavy which coated all the trees in a beautiful blanket of white. It was like riding through a scene from a snow globe :-)
Thursday, December 8, 2016
I am so glad there is ice to photograph again! It's one of my favorite subjects and every year I eagerly await the return of winter so I can photograph the infinite variations of ice once again. These icicles were all photographed in the past week along the walls of the High Falls gorge on the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park, MN.
Grand Portage State Park, MN - For the past week there has been a lot of ice build-up in the gorge below High Falls on Pigeon River. Thanks to a lot of rainfall combined with melting snow the river has been at a very high level for this time of year. Since we've had cooler temperatures this past week the spray coming off High Falls has been sticking to everything and freezing, creating a thick layer of ice on everything within reach of the spray. I love it when the conditions are like this. It sure makes for some unique and interesting photos.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
We got the fat bikes out today for their first snow ride of the season! Down along the Lake Superior shoreline there is hardly any snow at all, but a few miles inland it's a different story. It's a winter wonderland! There is a about a foot of snow inland from Lake Superior and all the trees have a beautiful blanket of snow on them. Old Highway 61 wasn't plowed but it had some nicely packed ruts which made for a great ride. Such a great day to be outside!
Saturday, December 3, 2016
High Falls Update! Remember my post from yesterday about High Falls and the high water? Well, the water level has dropped a bit but so have the temperatures. What this means is all that spray and mist coming off the waterfall has been coating the sides of the gorge and all the nearby trees and shrubs with a thick layer of ice. Talk about an amazing, unique and beautiful thing to see!