Thursday, October 8, 2015

A North Woods Night

One of the first photographs I made of the northern lights in the early morning hours of October 7, 2015.  The aurora storm started off quietly, with a soft glow just above the tree line.  By about 2:00 AM the activity was picking up considerably and there was a ribbon of light undulating across the northern sky.  Between 3 AM and 5 AM the sky exploded and the aurora was dancing like crazy.  It sure was a fun night.  The area shown in this photograph I think really exemplifies what a lot of people might think of when they think of a typical north woods lake scene.  Add in the northern lights on a beautiful fall night and you get "A North Woods Night"  :-)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October Aurora over Devil Track Lake

The last image I made before calling it a night last night.  After several hours of great fun watching and photographing an awesome aurora storm, this image was made at 5:17 AM over Devil Track Lake near Grand Marais, MN.  Photographed with a Nikon D750 camera and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, exposure length 15 seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 1250.

Here comes the storm!

We had a pretty incredible night of northern lights last night!  I wasn't even expecting any activity but not long after we went to bed I was laying there wide awake and decided to check the aurora forecast and see if it was doing anything.  To my surprise, the aurora index was high enough to categorize as "Very Active", so I looked out the window over our back yard and sure enough, the lights were dancing in the sky.  I decided to head out and try and make some photos of the lights (I need to thank my lovely and awesome wife Jessica, she is always very understanding and supportive of my late night ventures into the darkness to photograph the aurora!).  

I ended up spending the remainder of the night in pursuit of the lights.  I stopped at several different locations and made a lot of nice images but my favorite location was this inland lake that provided a nice wide-open view of the sky.  It didn't hurt that it was such a calm night, perfect for enjoying the light show that was happening in the sky!  This photo was made at 4:39 AM on Pine Lake near Grand Marais, MN during a time when there was a surge in the lights and they were especially active.  Photographed with a Nikon D750 camera and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, exposure length 15 seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 800.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Minnesota Maples

The fall colors are pretty glorious right now, especially the maples!  

First Light at Nawadaha Falls

The third waterfall we visited on our trip to the U.P. was Nawadaha Falls in the Porcupine Mountains.  After a chilly night of sleep in the tent we had some breakfast then went for a morning hike along the Presque Isle River.  Even though we had a leisurely start to our morning, the depth of the gorge and the fact that we were on the west side of the Porcupine Mountains meant that the river still did not have any direct light on it.  Which I was grateful for, as I prefer photographing waterfalls in the shade or on cloudy days.  Still, there was quite a bit of contrast in this scene between the very dark foreground and the sunlit background, so I had to use both my 2-stop reverse grad ND filter and my normal 2-stop grad to help balance the exposure.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Manabezho Falls

The second waterfall we visited on our U.P. Michigan tour was Manabezho Falls of the Presque Isle River in the Porcupine Mountains.  Manabezho is a beautiful waterfall, with several cascades of water tumbling over the cliff face.  With a drop of roughly 25 feet it is the largest waterfall on the Presque Isle River.  I found it to be an immensely fun waterfall to photograph :-)

Presque Isle Potholes

Jessica and I just returned from a trip to the western upper peninsula of Michigan where we camped at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and visited several waterfalls.  The first visit of our trip was not far from our campsite and was the famed "potholes" near the mouth of the Presque Isle River.  The potholes form where an eddy current continually swirls pebbles and sand grains in a circular path.  Over time, the scouring action of these materials wear away the softer shale, forming the potholes.  The potholes come in all sizes.  We saw several that were only inches across and others that were several feet across.  They certainly are fascinating and one could easily spend a lot of time starting at them as the water swirls around and around.  They are mesmerizing!