Thursday, December 18, 2014

December Thaw at High Falls

With the above average temperatures we've had over the past week or so, the ice at High Falls in Grand Portage State Park has diminished considerably.  The face of the waterfall had been almost entirely frozen due to colder than average temperatures in November, but now there is a prominent open channel of running water right in the middle of the waterfall. It makes for a fascinating view!  Last night the temperature got down to around zero degrees so we should maybe see ice forming back up again. I say maybe because the forecast for the coming days is calling for highs in the 30's and lows in the 20's, so the reformation of ice could very well be a slow process. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Aurora over Haines, Alaska

Here are a couple more photographs of the northern lights that I wanted to share from our recent trip to Alaska.  Photographing the aurora was such a different experience than it is from northern Minnesota.  The main thing was that the lights just seemed to be so much brighter.  Even though this wasn't a "Storm" level aurora, the lights were pretty bright and I was able to photograph them at 10 second exposure times at ISO 800 to 1000 using my f/4 lens.  

Here in northern Minnesota, I've rarely been able to photograph them at such settings.  Usually I have to shoot at 30 seconds at ISO 1600.  Sometimes I'm able to get good exposures at ISO 1600 and 15 seconds, or ISO 800 and 20 to 30 second exposures, but this is the first time I was able to photograph them at ISO 800 and 10 seconds.  I can only imagine how awesome the lights must look in Alaska during a full-blown aurora storm.  In the first of these two images, I can see the shape of a bear within the lights.  I actually didn't notice it at first, but Jessica pointed it out to me.  Can you see it?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Foggy December Day in the Maple Forest

Foggy winter days in the forest can yield some of the prettiest views to be found anywhere.  Such was the case a couple of days ago here in northeast Minnesota.  We've had temperatures quite a bit warmer than usual for December which meant that we had some really thick fog up in the forest away from Lake Superior.  I had a lot of fun making photos of the foggy views in the maple forests of Grand Portage.  It was hard to actually get anywhere because I kept stopping to take so many photos! Eventually I had to force myself to slow down and really look before making a picture.  Once I slowed down I started to notice that my images were coming out much nicer.  It always pays to stop and think about what you're doing before you actually make a photograph.  You would think that after 20 years of making images that I would remember that, but sometimes I get caught up in the moment and need to be reminded of it :-)  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Into the Void

We've had quite a lot of fog over the past few days due to warmer than average temperatures for December.  I've been going out for a bit each day to try and capture some photos of the foggy conditions and yesterday yielded the best photos yet!  Before I got to this local inland lake I had a vision for this photo.  I was glad to see that the fog was super thick out over the lake, as I would need such conditions to achieve my vision.  Even though it has been warm in recent days, November was colder than usual so this inland lake already has 14 to 18 inches of ice on it.  Some local fishermen had already been driving their vehicles out onto the lake so I decided to incorporate their vehicle tracks into this photograph.  This was a fun photograph to make and I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Beautiful day's end

We had one heck of a beautiful sunset last night!  It lasted a long time, too.  The clouds and colors kept changing for quite a while.  All I had with me was my little Sony RX100 Mark III, but it did a wonderful job capturing the supreme beauty of the moment!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December at High Falls of the Pigeon River

Thanks to an extra cold start to the winter, High Falls is almost completely frozen over already!  Normally it's not this frozen until the end of December.  You would think that the warmer temperatures this past week would have caused some of that ice to melt, but it seems to be holding up well.  Also, you need to get there early if you want any kind of decent light on the falls.  This photo was taken at 9:30 in the morning and it's the most light that the waterfall sees this time of year.  You would think noon would be better but by the time noon rolls around the sun has moved a lot further to the west and the left side of the falls is in shadow.  So, if you want the most light on the waterfall, get there no later than 9:30 in the morning!  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December Sunset over Lake Superior

I love the sunsets this time of year!  It's much easier to watch the sun go down over Lake Superior this time of year than it is in the summer.  For us north shore folks, anyway :-)  When I see the sun setting like this it reminds me of ocean sunsets.