Monday, August 14, 2017

Night Ride with Frogs and Toads


















Last night I went for a bike ride of which the majority of the time was after dark.  Once darkness descended upon the forest I started seeing lots of frogs and toads coming out onto the gravel road.  I used my bike light to illuminate a few of them so I could take their picture.  





































Saturday, August 12, 2017

Nocturnal Northwoods Paradise


















A little hint of Aurora Borealis meets with the Milky Way over Esther Lake in Grand Portage State Forest, Minnesota.  We are so fortunate to have such magnificent views of the night sky in the northeast corner of the state.  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Horseshoe Bay Aurora


















I'm still working on photos from the night of June 22, 2015!  I just keep finding more and more images that I want to edit and upload to my website.  This one is the view looking south from the public boat ramp on Horseshoe Bay of Lake Superior in Hovland, MN.  

Monday, August 7, 2017

August at High Falls


















Grand Portage State Park, MN - Minnesota's tallest waterfall never disappoints, no matter what time of year or what the water level is.  It's always an impressive sight!

Dropping in to Till-Ta-Whirl


















This is gonna be fun :-)

Pincushion Mountain - Grand Marais, MN

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Strawberry Thief


















The little chipmunk that likes to raid our strawberry bed :-)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Biking under an August moon


























Glorious ride in the moonlight last night!  

Grand Portage, MN

Friday, August 4, 2017

In awe of the storm


























I was digging through my archives again last night and came across another photo from June 2015 that I wanted to share.  This aurora event was by far one of the best I've ever seen.  The lights were everywhere in the sky that night.  This photo was taken at Hollow Rock Resort in Grand Portage, MN looking East over Lake Superior. According to www.spaceweather.com there is an 80% chance of geomagnetic storming today, August 4th, due to a solar wind stream that is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field.  High latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras as night arrives on August 4th!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The sight of the stars makes me dream


















Grand Portage, MN

Summer views of the Milky Way are the best!  There are many reasons why I look forward to summer each year but the ability to see the galactic core of the Milky Way is right at the top of the list.  Few things inspire as much awe and wonder as a clear view of the galaxy we call home.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Milky Way over Esther Lake


















Grand Portage State Forest, MN

There are few pleasures in this world greater than standing under a sky filled with the stars of the Milky Way.  Do yourself a favor, find a dark sky and bask in the glow of the stars.  Star glow is good for the soul.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Hollow Rock, Aurora Explosion

























Here's another previously unreleased photo of the unforgettable night of aurora that occurred on June 23, 2015.  

Lake Superior Lights


















I'm working on some photos for a northern lights book project, so I've been going through photos from past aurora events that I never worked on.  This one is from June 23, 2015 and is overlooking Lake Superior at Hollow Rock Resort in Grand Portage, MN. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Outback, Ice Cream Truck and The Milky Way


























Just a quiet night under the stars with my bike and my car :-)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Riding Lower Burner of Stovetop


















For my days off this week I headed down to Duluth to visit my brother and hopefully get some riding in with him on the Mission Creek trails.  Unfortunately it rained the night I got down there as well as the following morning.  The trails at Mission Creek are mostly clay surface, so they take awhile to dry out.  Consequently those trails were not open at all while I was in Duluth.  

Piedmont, however, opened up earlier than anything else so that's where we went.  A significant portion of the trails we rode were very rocky and rough going.  But, after a while we popped out onto the Duluth Traverse, and this section of trail looked new!  I find the singletrack trails to be incredibly photogenic especially when they are in a beautiful forest such as this.  Looking at this photo it's hard to believe that you're right in the middle of the city!

Monday, July 17, 2017

North Woods Aurora


















Well, the aurora forecast didn't really pan out to the extent they were forecasting last night. That being said, the lights were out but they were faint and were just above the northern horizon.  As we stood and stared at the glow in the northern sky we were serenaded by the chorus of several frogs croaking around the edges of the lake.  The fog was intriguing as well as it slowly but steadily drifted in and out of the area where we standing along the edge of the water.  It was another unforgettable night in the north woods of Minnesota!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Firefly Night


















I was out driving around last night between 10 P.M. and Midnight when I stopped at this meadow on Hollow Rock Creek and noticed all the lightning bugs flying around!  Seems like there have been a lot of them out in the past week or two.  I stood in this location for over an hour watching the fireflies moving around the meadow and the clouds moving across the sky.  Frogs were croaking the entire time down along the creek as well.  So many interesting and beautiful things in this world!   

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rain Squall at Sunset, Red Rock Point


















After making the photograph of the storm over Hollow Rock Creek, I drove down to the Lake Superior shoreline to catch the storm clouds out over the lake. Red Rock Point ended up being the perfect location for some really cool clouds and some fog floating over the horizon.  

Sunset Storm, Hollow Rock Creek


















Last night I was hoping to get some work done on our plot at the community garden but just as I arrived at the garden it started pouring rain. Rather than get soaking wet gardening in the rain, I decided to take a short drive.  I only went about a mile and was passing the Hollow Rock Creek meadow on Old Highway 61 when I saw this incredible sky.  It had mostly quit raining but the mosquitoes were quite bad.  Luckily I only needed a few moments to make this photograph before continuing on down the road.  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Snapping Turtle


















It's that time of year again where the Snapping Turtles are coming out of the Pigeon River to lay their eggs.  I saw this one as I was leaving work last night.  Every year they lay eggs in the ground right on the lawn near our visitor center.  They are always such fascinating creatures to see.  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Polyphemus Moth


















It's that time of year again when all the beautiful moths show up on the side of our building at work!  Almost every day there are at least a couple of beauties out there.  So far we've seen a few of these Polyphemus Moths, a few Luna Moths and several Sphynx Moths.  Even with a concrete backdrop these creatures are incredibly beautiful!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Backyard Chipmunk


















Somehow I forgot to post this picture back when I took it in late May.  This is the resident chipmunk that lives in our backyard.  One day when I was doing some chores out by the shed he was hanging around in a patch of dandelions which made for some nice photos.  Sure is a cute little bugger!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

High Falls Flow


















Grand Portage State Park, MN

Compare the water flow of this photo of High Falls (taken June 30th) to the one I posted yesterday (taken June 23rd).  Quite a bit more water running over the falls now, thanks to several inches of rain in the past week!

Friday, June 30, 2017

High Falls of the Pigeon River


















Grand Portage State Park, MN

Compared to the Middle Falls Trail, the trail to High Falls is very easy.  It's a one mile round-trip hike along a paved, wheelchair accessible trail.  And, it's Minnesota's tallest waterfall!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Middle Falls of the Pigeon River


















Grand Portage State Park, MN

Middle Falls of the Pigeon River, a beautiful little waterfall along the river that forms the boundary between the United States and Canada in northeast Minnesota.  It's a rugged 5 mile round-trip hike to get to this vantage point of the waterfall and this year it's a super muddy hike.  It's been a very wet year so far and the trail hasn't had a chance to dry out, so be prepared to get dirty if you make the hike to Middle Falls!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rad Rover and Sunset on Otter Lake


















Sunset over Otter Lake last night on my ride with the Rad Rover.

Cook County, MN

Riding the Rad Rover


















My dad bought an electric-assist fat bike recently and last night I borrowed it to put it through its paces.  I've gotta say, it's an awesome bike!  The bike is a Rad Rover by Rad Power Bikes, a direct-to-consumer bike company based in Seattle.  The company claims a battery range of about 20 miles, but last night I rode 35 miles of gravel roads with 2,300 feet of elevation gain and still had about 20% of battery life remaining at the end of the ride. 

There are 5 levels of pedal assist and if you only use levels 1 and 2 and turn the pedal assist off on the flats and downhills, you can really get a lot of range out of the battery.  If you turn it up to 4 or 5 and use it a lot, you won't get much range.  I found level 2 to be an ideal combo of range and assist. Using this level the bike assists your pedaling a little, but not much.  You can definitely feel it.  It sort of makes you feel like a super biker. The bike has 7 speeds and I was able to stand up and pedal up most hills with relative ease in level 2 and gears 3 through 6.  For steeper hills I stayed seated and shifted down to gear 1 or 2.  And this bike is super comfortable to pedal while standing up!  It's a very comfortable seated riding position too, although if I owned one I would definitely buy a more comfortable seat.  The one that comes on it is okay for short rides, but after 3 hours in the saddle I was wishing for a more comfortable throne. I would probably buy some locking grips as well.  The grips that come on the bike are pretty nice, but they slip and rotate too easily on the handlebar.  

Contrary to popular belief, electric-assist bikes do not take all the work out of riding a bike.  You still have to pedal, after all.  Sure, there is a throttle and you can use just that if you wish and not pedal, but I found that to be very boring (not to mention you won't be able to ride very far if you only use the throttle and don't pedal).  And, the bike is heavy... about 60 pounds.  Which is awesome for going downhill, but uphill... not so much.  Enter pedal assist, which is awesome!  You turn the crank about 1/4 rotation and then you feel the assist kick in, giving you a little boost. 

Would I like to own one of these someday?  Absolutely. Would it replace my other bikes?  No way.  I could see this being a great tool for me to get out with my camera and look for photos (not to mention it's just plain FUN to ride!), but for pure riding and exercise I still prefer my other "normal" bikes.  On the e-bike the riding position is much more upright and I found myself able to observe my surroundings much more easily as I rode.  My other bikes have a more aggressive riding position which makes it harder to look around and notice things as you're riding. Not that I don't do that, but typically I just focus on the road ahead as I'm riding those bikes.  Anyway, I had a blast on the Rad Rover and maybe someday one will be added to our bike garage :-)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Painted Lady on Lilac


















We haven't had much sun lately but when it has been out the butterflies have been all over our lilac bushes!  This painted lady was posing nicely for a photograph.  

It must be summer!


















It must be summer... road construction is in full swing :-)

Duluth, MN

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Painted Turtle enjoying the sunshine!


















It's a beautiful sunny day and the turtles are enjoying it as much as we are!  I caught this cute little painted turtle sunning itself on a log on a small pond yesterday.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Superior Refraction


















There have been a lot of cool clouds floating over the Arrowhead region of Minnesota the past two days.  Lots of rain off and on as well.  I love days when the weather is changing as much as it has been recently.  Every time you look at the sky there is a new and interesting view to see.  This was my favorite moment from yesterday, when a rainbow formed in a storm that was dissipating over Lake Superior.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mississippi Sunset, Crow Wing State Park


















During my week in the Brainerd/Little Falls area, one day we had some pretty cool thunderheads passing over all afternoon.  While it never rained where we were, in the evening I drove up to Crow Wing State Park and it had rained there.  The park road had puddles on it and everything smelled really fresh.  The mosquitoes were also horrible.  I stood on the end of the boat access ramp to make this photograph of the clouds as they were breaking up just as the sun was going down.  I was swatting at mosquitoes the entire time, but I couldn't bring myself to leave until all the color had faded from the clouds.  It was just too beautiful to walk away from, even though I was getting eaten alive!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summer Storm over Palisade Head


















Yesterday while driving home from Duluth the sky was incredible as a storm approached from the west.  At first, as we were driving between Duluth and Two Harbors, all we could see behind us was a big black wall of clouds approaching.  As we got a little further up the shore the clouds starting taking on all these incredible shapes and textures.  

We stopped at the Palisade Head overlook in Tettegouche State Park to take some pictures of the sky.  During that time there was a rain squall occurring over the lake, with a brighter patch of light emanating from the center of the squall.  We only had a few minutes to enjoy the view before the heavy rain hit.  We were driving the rest of the way home in some pretty heavy downpours.  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sunset from Hopper Hill


















A beautiful sunset from the Hopper Hill Trail in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area!

Mushroom Cloud over Pete's Island



















One of the coolest clouds I've ever seen over Lake Superior showed itself behind Pete's Island at sunset on Grand Portage Bay the other day.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Early morning on the Superior Hiking Trail


















About two weeks ago I spent most of the night photographing the stars of the Milky Way over Lake Superior.  It was such a good night for photography that I stayed out until the horizon started to glow with the light of the approaching sun.  I love that time as you can still see quite a few stars in the sky as dawn approaches. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hollow Rock and the Milky Way


















Two of my favorite photo subjects together in the same shot: Hollow Rock and the Milky Way.  Taken during the new moon phase in May 2017. 

Shot with a Nikon D750 camera and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens.  Exposure time 30 seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 6400.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Secrets in the Stars


















The Universe holds many secrets and I find it difficult not to ponder those secrets while basking under the glow of the Milky Way.

Photographed along the lakewalk section of the Superior Hiking Trail just north of Grand Marais, MN. 

Interested in ordering a print of this or any of my other night sky images?  Visit the Prints page of my website for all the pertinent ordering information!

https://www.travisnovitsky.smugmug.com/Purchase



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Early Summer on Mud Creek


















One of my favorite roadside views in Cook County.  From the Pine Mountain Road between the Gunflint Trail and County Road 8.  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Foxy

























A portrait of one of the parents of the fox kits that I posted a picture of yesterday.  Such a beautiful face!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Green Glow


















Here is another photo of the northern lights from the early morning hours (12:24 A.M.) of May 28, 2017.  It was such a still night, the reflections on the water were perfect.  The sound of the spring peeper frogs in this location was deafening!

The race is on!


















Two young fox kits taking turns chasing each other around a pine tree :-)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Northern Lights and High Falls


















There was a surprising amount of aurora activity last night!  I had no idea that any displays were possible, I hadn't been paying attention to the space weather forecasts lately.  Luckily on a whim I decided to check the aurora soft serve news website; it showed that the aurora activity was at "STORM" level!  Once I saw that I knew I had to go out and look for some photos.  I decided to try High Falls at Grand Portage State Park again.  Shooting was a little tricky because there is still a lot of mist from the falls, so I had to wipe my camera lens after every shot.  It sure was a beautiful night!

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Magical Night under the Milky Way

























Lake Superior along the Superior Hiking Trail lakewalk section just north of Grand Marais, MN.  An unbelievably beautiful night along the big lake in the early morning hours of May 25, 2017!  The Milky Way was reflecting amazingly in this small stream flowing into Lake Superior.  I love the night sky this time of year!

20 second exposure at f/2.8 and ISO 12,800.  Shot at 20mm with a Nikon D750 camera and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A touch of color over Hollow Rock Creek


















After my bike ride last night I stopped by Hollow Rock Creek and caught this subtle yet beautiful sunset over the meadow.  The spring peeper frogs are out in full force and their song was deafening in this location!  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Swamp Tea


















Labrador Tea or "Swamp Tea", as it is known to some, is a beautiful plant but one that I find very difficult to photograph. While out and about in the rain yesterday I came across a huge area that was full of it and just begging to be photographed.  The forest is so beautiful on a rainy day!  I set up my tripod very low to the ground to get this angle of the tea and also show a hint of the trees in the background. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Treat


















Here's a throwback to Mother's Day 2016 and the incredible aurora storm that graced our sky on this most special of days.  Hope all the mother's out there are having a wonderful day!

Four Fox Kits


















Here's another photo of the fox kits I saw earlier this week.  There was a 5th kit just outside the frame, off doing his own thing while these 4 climbed all over each other at the entrance to the den.  So hard to get a good shot of all of them together!  They are usually running around so quick they don't gather together like this but for just a few moments at a time.  Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there :-)