Early morning Sandhill Crane hunting is the major reason I spend time at Crex Meadows. At sunrise the Cranes start to move from there roosts and become more active. As the sun comes up they start flying to the areas where they will eat until sunset at which time they will return to the meadows.
More photos from Crex Meadows can be found on my website.
On our last fall trip to Crex Meadows we were surprised to find that the lakes and ponds were frozen. There had been a short cold snap and apparently that was all it took. This was the first time I had been in Crex to photograph the fall Sandhill Crane migration when the flowages were all frozen.
Parfrey’s Glen is Wisconsin’s first State Natural area and is the most visited state natural area. We have visited the area a number of times. In the 90′s the area was accessible using wood covered trails and bridges. These were washed out in the flood of 2010 and have not been replaced. Several times when we stopped at the area it was closed. It is now a more natural area with the bridges and trails gone.
In my earlier visits I could never see why people were so excited about the area. The man made trails seemed to end at a viewing platform which didn’t provide much of a view. The best part of the Glen was beyond the viewing platform.
My wife and I had driven past the area the day before but it was packed with cars so we moved on. The next morning was very foggy so we decided to drive back and found the parking area deserted. We had the place all to ourselves.
This time we came prepared with our knee boots that would allow us to traverse the stream the runs through the glen. Hikers wishing to make to the waterfall at the upper end of the glen must navigate a stream and climb over the large boulders that populate the bottom of the glen.
On this particular morning the glen was spectacular with the fall colors and green moss. The heavy fog provided more of an even light that as opposed to the harsh light on a sunny day. The trail was a bit of a challenge with the frequent crossing of the stream and the large boulders.
When we reached the waterfall we still had the place to ourselves. Just as we were finishing up another person arrived. I mentioned to my wife that this was a popular area for the University of Wisconsin. I had just finished mentioning it when the first of about fifty geology 101 students appeared. They were ill prepared for the rugged trail.
More photos from the day can be found on my website.
On a recent fall trip to Hoffman Hills Recreation Area outside of Menomonie, Wisconsin I took a number of close-up Photos of objects along the trail.
In mid-October my wife and I were in the Madison, Wisconsin area. I the fall there is no better place to visit than Pewit’s Nest. Pewit’s Nest is located just outside Baraboo, Wisconsin and is one of the 653 Wisconsin State Natural Areas. It isn’t very large but I think it is one of the most beautiful of the Natural Areas particularly in the fall.
The main feature of the Natural Area is a 40 foot deep gorge with Skillet creek running flowing through the bottom of it. At one time there was a crude mill at the mouth of the gorge. Apparently before the mill was built a man lived in the walls of the canyon in a home resembling a phoebe (peewit, an earlier name for the bird) hence the name Pewit’s Nest.
The area surrounding the area consists of a hardwood forest and when the leaves are tuning this small area becomes a dream location for photographers. the parking area is very small and during the peak leaf season it is usually full of cars.
We lucked out this year because the leaves were near their peak color. We were lucky that it was an overcast day which made for good shooting conditions without harsh light in the gorge.
More Pewit’s Nest photos on my website
This fall it rained for over a week straight. I finally decided to go out one day between rain showers and try and take some art photos of the leaves. For this activity I took along my 28-300mm zoom lens and a neutral density filter. It was an overcast day but the addition of the neutral density filter let me take an even longer exposure. The photos were taken my focusing on an object for a short time and then slowing zooming out or in to create the effects shown. It isn’t an exact science so I had to experiment around with length of the exposure and the speed of the zoom.
This fall we made a rare visit to Hoffman Hill. Normally in the fall we are traveling around Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan on fall photography trips. We had a couple of days at home so we drove out to Hoffman Hills to check out the fall colors.
The prairie area is next to the overflow parking lot and is normally our first stop when visiting Hoffman Hills.
We then take a short walk to the two ponds that can be found in the area. This is the second pond. The water was low and there was no wildlife to see. In fact this has been the a disappointing year for wildlife at Hoffman Hills.
We then walked up the north trail to the tower that sits on at the top of the ridge. A walk up the tower gets you above the trees and provides grand vistas of the area. The wind was blowing hard and it was difficult to stand up let alone take any photos. There were quite a few people out enjoying the fall colors.
We then walked back into the eastern part of the park to check out some of the new trails that had been built after a storm washed out some of the popular trails. There was a lot of color along the trails.
One of the subjects I enjoy photographing are leaves in the water particularly when there is water tension involved. On a fall trip to the Ice Age Trail I found a small stream with fall leaves floating down the stream. I spend a little time processing them in Photoshop to give them a little different look.
On another rainy day I walked through the woods and tried some vertical panning for photos. I used the same gear I used when Zooming for Photos, a 28-300mm zoom lens and a neutral density filter. The filter allowed me to slow the speed down so I had time to slowly pan the trees in the woods. I would start slowly panning from the bottom of the trees then start the photo and slowly pan to the top of the trees. Lots of fun and something I should do more often.
Last year I documented the thinning of my White Pine forest. This year I have another company thinning my hardwood forest. They started in the early fall but had to quit a few weeks later when we received a lot of rain and it started to freeze and thaw.
I had two different companies do the work because each of them specializes in harvesting different types of wood and uses different equipment. The pine was all harvested by equipment but the hardwood is located on steep hills and had to be cut by hand.