Monday, March 10, 2014
A lot of "blue" pictures lately! Our sunsets haven't been particularly colorful lately, which means most of the pictures I've been taking have been dominantly blue. Blue sky and blue ice makes for a blue photo :-) Oh well, I still love getting out and photographing the ice, no matter what the sky is like. Here is a shot from the other night while I was walking along the shoreline checking out the piles of plate ice not far from my home. There were animal tracks like this running all around along the shoreline. I'm not really sure what animal made the tracks. They are too small to be wolf tracks (possibly coyote?) and too big, I think, to be fox tracks. It could have been a dog, I suppose, since I did see some snowshoe tracks made my someone else that day and maybe they had a dog along with them. The pattern also has me confused. You don't normally see tracks like this where each paw print is side by side. They are usually staggered a bit. I'm far from being an expert on animal tracks, so maybe someone else can shed a little more light on this mystery :-)
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Here is a shot from dusk last night on the shores of Lake Superior in Grand Portage. One of my favorite sections of shoreline to photograph is absolutely loaded with plate ice right now. Last night I walked along this section of shoreline looking for interesting compositions in the ice. What you see here is my favorite shot of the evening. Unlike most of my photos, this was taken without the use of a tripod. I simply couldn't set up my tripod to get the angle that I wanted. The tall plate of ice that you see on the left was actually only about two feet high, so I had to get really low and really close to it in order to portray it the way you see here. I was basically laying on the ground on my stomach to make this photograph. It's supposed to be 45 degrees tomorrow, our warmest day of the year thus far so I would imagine that will start to melt some of this ice.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
WOW… this is the scene right now along the Lake Superior shoreline in Grand Portage. Ice as far as the eye can see! Most of the ice is pretty smooth and flat but in this particular area ice plates have been pushed up into piles and ridges for quite a distance out from shore. This is my favorite time of year on Lake Superior. March typically has the best ice for photography and this year is no exception!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
I just got home from a two-night visit to see my wife Jessica over in Washburn, Wisconsin. She works for the National Park Service and has been over there helping out Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with the high visitor traffic they've been receiving due to the publicity surrounding the sea caves. She had one day off and we spent that day skiing some of the local trails around Washburn. It was a perfect day for skiing and we had a blast! Just before I headed for home yesterday morning, I checked my email and had a message from my friend Paul. He told me I should stop and check out Stoney Point between Duluth and Two Harbors. He was told that there were massive piles of ice that had just formed at Stoney Point. So, I hit the road with eager anticipation of checking out the point on my way home.
There is a road that goes along the length of Stoney Point, accessed from the east and the west. Since I was approaching from the west, that's the entrance I took. As I first drove along the road, I didn't see anything extraordinary in terms of ice. There was surface ice out on the lake as far as the eye could see, but not really any ice piles bigger than the "normal" ones that you see. So, I was a little disappointed... then, as I rounded the corner of the point, I could see these massive piles of blue through the small patch of woods separating the road from the lakeshore. My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe that those were ice piles that I was seeing!
I pulled over and found a spot that didn't look too difficult for walking down to the shore. Even so, I still had to break through more than knee-deep snow to get down to the lake. Once I got there, I stared UP at these huge, intensely blue piles of ice. The largest piles were at least 3 feet or more above my head, and I'm fairly tall at just over 6 feet in height. The plates of ice where thick, too. Some of them were 5 to 6 inches thick, which is a lot more substantial than the more common 2 to 3 inch thick plates that we normally see. I spent the next hour walking along these giant piles of ice, taking picture after picture as I went. These have been the most impressive ice piles I've seen so far this winter. Hopefully there is more of this in store for us in the coming weeks!
Monday, March 3, 2014
This past weekend I was honored to be a presenter at a Lake Superior Photography Symposium put on by John Gregor of Coldsnap Photography and Split Rock Lighthouse. Throughout the afternoon 3 other photographers in addition to myself presented their work to a group gathered in the auditorium at Split Rock Lighthouse. It was a wonderful afternoon of sharing images, stories and techniques. After the presentations we all went down to the shoreline just west of the lighthouse to photograph sunset. Because of the clear and very cold conditions, sunset was rather bland. But, it was still pretty out there. Those extremely cold, crisp days have a stark beauty of their own. The shoreline was packed in with ice so I looked for an interesting shape in the ice to put in the foreground of my photograph. Not long after the sun went down we all made a quick escape to our vehicles due to the cold. I'm not sure what the temp actually got down to for a low that night, but I know it was forecast to reach almost thirty below zero. On the drive home I saw minus 15 on my truck's thermometer, and that was before 10 PM! I can easily believe that it reached minus 30 later that night :-)
Thursday, February 27, 2014
A week ago there was ice extending out into Lake Superior as far as the eye could see. Thanks to the winds we've had in the past week, most of that ice has been pushed out across the lake and we once again have open water along the north shore. That doesn't mean that there aren't some worthwhile ice formations to photograph right on the shore, though! Like this one, which I photographed just after sunrise recently. The ice that you see on the lake in the background is no longer there, but formations like this "Icicle Palace" still remain for exploration!
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Okay, just one more image of the aurora that I'd like to share with you from the early morning hours of February 19th. This one was captured as I was on my way home. I was driving slowly down Old Highway 61 in Grand Portage, every now and then switching my headlights off for a few seconds to peek at the sky and see if it was worth stopping for any more shots. At one point I had to stop because the lights looked like they were picking up again. As I was setting up my tripod I could see this ribbon of color waving its way across the sky above the road. It looked to my eye like there might be a little red in it, but I didn't realize just how much until the first exposure recorded. The camera picks up a lot more color at night than what our eyes can see, as this image proves. It was a great ending to a fantastic night of aurora photography!