Sunday, April 26, 2015

Floating in a Blue Dream

Can you tell I've been on a Milky Way kick lately?  Hopefully no one is getting sick of these images of the night sky.  It is one of my favorite things to photograph and lately the view of the Milky Way has been spectacular, so I've been photographing it a lot!  Whenever I gaze up at the stars it sparks my imagination.  How can one not daydream when staring up at a sky such as this?  For this image it seemed to me as though the island itself was floating within the Milky Way.  This, along with the color of the sky and the tendency to daydream, led me to the title "Floating in a Blue Dream".  I hope you like it :-)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Signal to the Stars

The Milky Way Galaxy with the lighthouse in Grand Marais, Minnesota. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring Ice and Rainbow at High Falls

It's that glorious time of year for waterfall watching along the north shore of Lake Superior!  Especially at High Falls in Grand Portage State Park, arguably one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state of Minnesota (not to mention the tallest!).  This photo was taken yesterday morning after a stretch of several cold days where the high temperature was in the mid to upper 30's.  The colder temps meant that at night the spray from the waterfall was freezing to everything that it landed on, coating everything along the gorge walls in a thick layer of ice.  It makes for a beautiful scene on a sunny morning thanks to the added effect of a rainbow!  I used a 6-stop neutral-density filter to slow down the exposure to 2 seconds and blur the movement of the water.  The forecast is looking pretty nice for the weekend so better head up the shore and check out the waterfalls!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Milky Way over Hat Point and Pete's Island

I sure do love our night sky this time of year in northern Minnesota!  Mostly because we can see the core of the Milky Way so vividly.  In the winter it is below the horizon so we cannot see it.  In spring, though, it slowly starts to rise and by mid-April it is pretty high in the sky later in the night.  I also like the angle of the Milky Way this time of year.  Later in the summer it is protruding pretty much straight up from the horizon, but right now it comes up at an angle which is really nice for photography.  I should remind you that when you are are out stargazing you will not see the Milky Way as easily as you see it in this photo.  The camera's sensitivity to light through the use of a long exposure and high ISO allows the photo to show a lot more light than what our eyes can see.  Still, once your eyes adjust, you will be able to easily see the core of the Milky Way (as long as you are away from any major sources of light pollution).  This view was captured just 1/4 mile down the road from our house.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day from Otter and Muskrat!

On a recent photo outing I came across a couple of animals that are rather difficult to see and even more difficult to photograph.  The first marsh that I stopped at, I was standing on the end of a culvert and this little muskrat came swimming right towards me.  He swam right underneath me, through the culvert and upstream further into the marsh on the other side of the road.  The second marsh I stopped at had otters playing in it.  They were actually running around on top of a thin layer of ice that was still on the marsh but by the time I got my camera ready they were back in the water and stayed in the water.  I thought it would be fun to share the images of these north woods animals for Earth Day :-)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quiet Night at Hollow Rock Resort

If you want a beautiful and easy location to view the Milky Way Galaxy over Lake Superior, look no further than Hollow Rock Resort in Grand Portage, MN.  This sublime location on the shoreline of Lake Superior has comfortable cabins with superb views of Lake Superior and the Milky Way right outside your door.  Not to mention the famous Hollow Rock itself!  Last week I spent part of the night photographing the night sky at the resort.  I captured an incredible view of the galaxy over Hollow Rock (see my post from yesterday) as well as this view which shows a couple of the cabins and the trees that surround them.  Lake Superior is right on the other side of the car that you see in this photo.  Amazing views are always present at Hollow Rock Resort, but if you want to see the core of the Milky Way, now through summer is the time.  The core is not visible in our winter sky. And, as you can see from this photo, all you need to do is walk a few steps out in front of your cabin to see this unforgettable sky!

For more information about Hollow Rock Resort click this link:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hollow Rock Heaven

The Milky Way over Hollow Rock in Grand Portage, Minnesota.  I finally have a lens and a camera that is allowing me to capture the views of the night sky that I've always dreamed about.  Ever since I've been practicing photography (a little over 20 years now), I've been into low-light photography and photographs of the night sky in particular.  While I have always loved making images after dark, I've never been able to fully realize my vision due to limitations in my camera gear.  Don't get me wrong, I still love all those night images I've made over the years.  There will always be a place in my heart and my memory of all those experiences of making those images.  

But, they were far from the quality of the images that I am now creating.  This photograph is a perfect case in point.  It looks like something from a dream.  The Milky Way is so vivid and clear, and seems to jump off the screen at you.  And, the noise performance is outstanding.  The photo has noise, to be sure (any photo at ISO 6400 is going to have noise) but the quality of the noise is unbelievable.  It actually reminds me of a really fine film grain.  I can't wait to make a big print out of this photograph.  I think it's going to be quite stunning!  I have never been more excited than I am now about making more images of the night sky :-)  

FYI - The light on the rock is from an interior table lamp that was left on in one of the nearby cabins of Hollow Rock Resort.  It cast just enough light on the rock to give a nice soft level of illumination.  The white areas that you see on the left side of the rock are the last remnants of ice from the winter season.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering about the equipment used to make this photograph, the camera used was a full-frame Nikon D750 with a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens.