Sunday, June 30, 2019

Field of Fireflies

What a magical night, basking under the glow of the stars from above and the blinking green of the fireflies below.  The fireflies were AMAZING.  There were so many of them... more than I think I've ever seen before.  It made for some really cool photographs.  This was taken at the Greenwich Wind Farm in Dorion, Ontario after the sun went down.  The glow in the sky is the last little bit of daylight fading away, slowly revealing a world of magic and wonder.  

Friday, June 28, 2019

Truth transcends Illusion

Milky Way over The Toadstools

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Willis Creek Canyon

Willis Creek Canyon was the first slot canyon hike that I did in the southwest several years ago.  It was nice to revisit it after so many years.  It was just as amazing as I remembered it from that first visit.  A relatively easy hike, Willis Creek is also special because it always has running water (at least, as far as I know it does).  The canyon walls get pretty high in a few places and as you hike through the canyon it's hard to decide when to turn around because you keep wanting to see what's around the next corner!

Sunrise at Sunset Arch

As you might guess by it's name, sunsets are pretty amazing at Sunset Arch.  As it turns out, sunrises are pretty awesome too!  This arch always remind me somewhat of a dragon.  I think its because of the "scaly" look it has along its top edge.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

End of Night at Sunset Arch

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.  I was sad to see the night end during my visit to Sunset Arch.  It was such a beautiful night I wanted it to last longer.  Even so, the coming of day was beautiful as well.  The clouds moving over the arch made for a nice photo as the first light of day brightened the horizon. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Contemplating the Cosmos

Standing alone is better than standing with people who don't value you.  

I was trying to think of a sentiment to go along with this photo, and one came to me as soon as I opened my Instagram feed this morning.  The thought was too good... I just had to share it. 

This photo was made in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, not far from Lake Powell.  I had spent most of the night staring in awe at this arch with the night sky hovering above, watching as little puffs of clouds passed silently overhead.  It was so calm and quiet there wasn't even the slightest sound to break the silence of the night.  

Growing up in the land of water here in northern Minnesota, completely silent nights are very hard to come by.  Water is always moving, and with that movement there is sound.  In stark contrast to that, I have experienced several nights in the desert where the silence is deafening.  And I love it.  

Monday, June 24, 2019

Looking forward, up and beyond

"Don't look back unless in gratitude.  Look forward, up and beyond limitations and get inspired with what could be instead of fretting about what isn't.  Above all else be positive around the opportunities you can create for yourself in the future." 

The passage above is borrowed from a favorite blog post that I read this week.  I felt like it was a good companion thought to go along with this photo, which was taken in Nipigon, Ontario as we were approaching the June full moon phase.  

Friday, June 21, 2019

Exploring the Greenwich Wind Farm

Dorion, Ontario - Checking out the wind turbines by the light of an almost-full moon was a pretty awesome experience!  

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Summer Afternoon, Greenwood Lake

Such a beautiful view of Greenwood Lake in Cook County, MN.  As I was driving around the backroads last week I stopped at the helipad overlooking Greenwood.  It just so happens that right when I pulled up to the overlook there was one boat floating on the lake and another one motoring across it. Having the boats in the scene really added to the shot.  

Glorious June

We've been having some pretty great light recently.  The other evening the sun peeked out from behind the clouds just long enough to give me this glorious view.  The early summer green is so vibrant.  Mother nature never ceases to amaze me. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bridge Abstracts

A couple more images from the Nipigon River Bridge in Ontario.  I was playing around with long exposures and camera movements here.  For the first image I used a 13 second exposure where I held the camera steady on the tripod for a few seconds, then slowly zoomed the lens in for the remainder of the exposure.  

For the second image I used a 20 second exposure where I had the camera steady for 10 seconds, then I did a quick horizontal pan and left the camera steady for another 10 seconds.  The resulting photo is kind of a mirror image of the same bridge structure. Its fun to play around with these techniques every now and then. 

Forever Ojibwe Land

Railroad bridge at night over the Nipigon River in Nipigon, Ontario. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Nipigon River Bridge

The other night I went up into Canada to meet up with some friends and drive to Nipigon to photograph the fancy suspension bridge that spans the Nipigon River.  While I was excited to go, I never thought I would have as much fun photographing the bridge as I did.  It is a beautiful piece of architecture, even more so than I was expecting.  And, my favorite color is blue so of course I was really attracted to the way the bridge was lit up.  We spent most of the night photographing the bridge from all different angles.  It was 4 AM by the time I got home and I was exhausted, yet excited because I knew I had captured some really cool images.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lake Helen Sunset

Beautifully serene sunset last night over Lake Helen in Nipigon, Ontario.  I met up with some friends to photograph the suspension bridge over the Nipigon River after dark, so I was geared up for that and thinking solely about that. I totally was not expecting to have such a fantastic sunset.  It was the best of surprises!  

Monday, June 10, 2019

Desert Oasis

Lower Calf Creek Falls in southern Utah is a favorite hike for many, and for good reason.  Trails that go to beautifully tall waterfalls are not that common in the desert.  I couldn't have chosen a better day to do this hike.  It had rained quite a lot over the previous couple of days and the morning I did the hike the riparian zone approaching the waterfall was teeming with bird life and amazingly green.  It was a fantastic way to spend the first part of my day!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Cathedral of the Wild

"In the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the most beautiful parts of ourselves reflected back at us."

-Boyd Varty, author of the book Cathedral of the Wild

Photo: Sunrise in Cathedral Valley - Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Milky Way and the Temple of the Moon

Standing around for almost 2 hours in the middle of the night waiting for the clouds to clear paid off. I made this photo in Lower Cathedral Valley of Capitol Reef National Park in the early morning hours of April 28th, 2019.  The formation in the foreground is called the Temple of the Moon.  When the clouds finally did start to push out they did so in a way that really accented the angle and shape of the Milky Way.  I was thrilled to be able to witness and capture such a beautiful scene!  

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Breaking Sky over Cathedral Valley

Cathedral Valley... one of my favorite places in the southwest.  One of the reasons I like it so much is because you have to travel quite a few miles down a rough dirt road to get there, which keeps the crowds at bay.  I was hoping to have a nice clear night sky while I was in the valley, but as I arrived a couple of hours before sunset it wasn't looking too hopeful.  Ominous dark storm clouds filled the sky.  As day turned to night the wind picked up and lightning flashed in the distance.  I was optimistic that as the night progressed the skies would clear.  

I found a nice spot to camp on BLM land just outside the Capitol Reef National Park boundary (camping within the park is only allowed in designated campgrounds), crawled into my sleeping bag and set my alarm for 2:00 AM.  After a short 5 minute drive over to the Temples of the Sun and Moon, it looked like MAYBE the sky would start to clear.  And, after about an hour of standing at the ready behind my tripod, it finally did.  A column of clear sky started to develop directly over the Temple of the Moon. It made for fascinating photos with a patchwork of clear sky anchored on the left and right by lingering dark storm clouds.  As happens many times with photography, being in the right place at the right time and being prepared paid off.  

Finding peace in the Southwest and within

I found a roadside Zen art installation in Hanksville, Utah and was really drawn in by it.  It was immensely intriguing and I spent more time there than I thought I would.  It was comprised mostly of metal work.  A conglomeration of animals and such made out of various pieces of scrap metal, old machinery and bicycle parts.  Inspirational quotes and sayings were peppered throughout on little signs.  After spending way more time there than I thought I would, I left with a very deep sense of calm and peace. 

The rest of the day was awesome.  I did some exploring via Jeep through jaw-droppingly beautiful terrain and did an amazing 10 mile hike in Upper Muley Twist Canyon of Capitol Reef National Park.  The hike started out hot and sunny but later on experienced thunderstorms and rain.  I sat under a pinyon pine and watched temporary waterfalls cascade down the canyon walls opposite from me.  

After the storm passed the air was extremely calm.  On the return hike the only sounds were the gentle babbling of running water from the storm, my footsteps and the songs of canyon wrens which seemed to be everywhere.  That evening I found a sweet campsite on BLM land on a cedar mesa just west of Capitol Reef.  I slept like a baby that night in my Jeep mobile home.

The next morning I sat in my camp chair after eating breakfast and birds were calling everywhere all around me.  The sun felt absolutely amazing.  I could hear jets fly overhead every few minutes which conjured memories of past trips to California.  And I realized how thankful I was to be right where I was at that point in time.  There was no place else I would rather be.  

A couple of passages that have been floating around in my mind since seeing them on the side of the road in Utah:

"To invite is to receive; to receive is to know; to know is to be."

"You will perceive only what you believe."