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Our second day in Munising turned out to be a rainy day so we decided to go looking for waterfalls to photograph. Our first stop was Munising Falls and apparently every other photographer in the Munising area had the same idea. The parking lot was full at least too full for me so we moved on.Au-Train-Falls-14-10-_1612

Our second stop was Wagner Falls with the same result. There were too many photographers around.Au-Train-Falls-14-10-_1597

We then headed off to Au Train Falls where we found fewer photographers. We took a few photos but spent most of our time talking with a few other photographers. No one seemed to be in a great hurry.Au-Train-Falls-14-10-_1583

Typically when we drive over to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore we have an early dinner then drive out to Miners Beach for some sunset photos. We continued this tradition again on this trip. When we arrived at Miners Beach we could hear the roar of the waves hitting the beach. There were also quite a few cars in the parking lot. This is a popular spot during the fall photography season.Miners-Beach-14-10-_2179

When we walked out to the beach we were surprised to find that there wasn’t much of a beach. All of the photographers were huddled into a small area above the beach. My wife counted thirteen photographers and a few other folks vying for space.Miners-Beach-14-10-_2165

Given all of the photographers around we decided to drive over to Castle Rock and check out the waves and evening light. Before going I took one last photo of what looked to be a nice sunset.Miners-Beach-14-10-_2216

After dodging the rain at Bond Falls we drove over to Canyon Falls. It was raining when we arrived but there were still a large number of folks visiting the Falls. We were able to get a few shots by dodging the rain during our stay.

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Canyon-Falls-14-10-_2020

After our western road trip we returned to find that there were still plenty of fall leaves to be seen. We headed up to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. On the way we stopped at Bond Falls. The peak leaf time at Bond Falls is usually around the end of September so we missed it but Bond Falls is always a great place to get some photos.

Bond-Falls-14-10-_1958

Bond-Falls-14-10-_1980

Bond-Falls-14-10-_1963

We arrived in Custer State Park early in the afternoon and planned to do some scouting to see just where the roundup would take place and to try and pick the “best” location for photography.

On the day of the roundup there are two viewing areas setup. On to the northeast of the Buffalo Corrals and one to the southeast of the buffalo Corrals. This is also where you would park while watching the roundup. When you drive to the Roundup you must choose one of the two locations to view the Roundup. Once in one of the viewing areas you cannot leave and when you leave you must leave the way you came in.

As we drove through the park on the Wildlife Loop Road we did not see much in the way of wildlife. When we reached the area where the Roundup would take place we found there were park rangers station at both the north and south viewing areas. We stopped and talked to them trying to find out where the best location for viewing would be and the route the buffalo would take when they are driven into the corrals. This appeared to be the question that everyone else was asking. Several times I was approached asking if I knew the best place to be to photograph the Roundup.

We were a little disappointed to find out that the buffalo had already been rounded up and were stashed in an area southeast of the pens. In retrospect it makes sense because the herd is normally scattered around the Park and it would be impossible to round them up and get them into the pens in a single day. The Roundup that we would be watching is staged for tourists and allows all of the buffalo to be driven into the viewing area in a single large herd. It makes for great theatre.

After talking with the rangers we drove down to the buffalo corrals. There were a small herd of buffalo already in the Corrals. These had been driven in early in the roundup so they would be acclimated to the corrals and would have time to calm down. On the day of the Roundup some of the buffalo are processed and these would be the buffalo processed. Processing includes vaccinations, branding and checking the cows for pregnancy. The buffalo driven into the pens during the “Roundup” would be processed later after they had a chance to calm down.Buffalo-Corrals-14-9-_2982

We then headed out of the Park on the Wildlife Loop Road looking for buffalo. We drove past the location where the Begging Burros are normally found but the burros were gone. We found them a ways down the road near where the buffalo were said to be stashed. They were a ways from the road but when cars started to stop they started moving to the road.Begging-Burros-14-9-_3715

We continued on to Custer, SD where we checked into our Super 8 Motel. When we checked in the clerk mentioned that a breakfast bag would be available at 5am for those heading out to the roundup. My wife was not happy to hear that we would be getting up at 4:30 am.

We stopped for a bite to eat then headed back out to the Wildlife Loop Road looking for wildlife as evening approached. We found a group of buffalo next to the road bathed in evening light. We stopped for some photos before continuing on.Bull-Buffalo-14-9-_3751

We soon found the Begging Burros along the road with a mother and a very young burro standing in the middle of the road begging. We also ran into bull buffalo lounging in a wallow. Apparently they don’t roundup some of the bulls because they are so mean. This one had been in the same place earlier in the day.Bull-Buffalo-14-9-_3036

Dusk was approaching as we drove out of the park.Dusk-Custer-State-Park-14-9-_3045a

I had several photographs receive awards in this years Crex Meadows Photo Contest. My photograph of a Karner Blue received first place in the insects category. The Karner Blue is on the federal endangered species list. Apparently it is rare nationwide but common in parts of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is making an effort to restore and protect Karner Blue habitat. Their habitat are in oak and pine barrens, dry sand prairies and other open areas with sandy soil. they lay their eggs on or near Wild Lupine plants. The caterpillars feed only on Wild Lupine. Fortunately these conditions exist in the northern part of Crex Meadows.Karner Blue 13-8-_7795

My photograph of a controlled Burn in Crex Meadows received third place in the black and white category. This photo was taken during the spring when portions of the Meadows were being burned to control brush.Controlled-Burn---Philip-Schwarz--11-5-_1977

All of the winning photos can be found on the Crex Meadows Website.

I keep thinking of it as a vacation but my wife keeps pointing out that retired people can’t take a vacation so it’s a road trip. The plan was to head out to the Badlands, Custer State Park, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park starting the latter part of September.Buffalo-14-9-_3035

The trip got off to an inauspicious start. The day before we were to leave my wife came back from town and said that a warning light appeared on the dash – something about a battery. She immediately called the dealer and they set up an appointment for early afternoon.

When she returned home she was driving a different van. Apparently the problem was an alternator, something that never goes wrong with a Toyota. The dealer was having problems finding a replacement. My wife talked them into letting her drive a van home so we could pack all of our gear and then make the transfer at the dealer and head out west without returning home.

The next morning the dealer called and said they would have the new alternator at 10am and would have it ready by noon. We called and canceled our reservation for the first night because there was no way we would make Murdo, S.D .given our late start.

When we arrived to pick up our van I started transferring our gear to our car while my wife paid the bill. When I reached for my tripod something didn’t feel right. Sure enough it was my old tripod. I really needed the new one. So, back home we drove to get the new tripod.

Once back on the road we headed to Wabasha, Wis. to catch the highway south to I-90. As we drove through town I took my normal shortcut. When we reached highway 61 I turned right. At that point my wife asked me where I was going. I said to catch the freeway. Unfortunately I had been so used to heading to Redwing, Minnesota to watch the eagles last winter that I was heading north rather than south.

Back on the road , in the right direction, we were within spitting distance of I-90 only to encounter a 20 mile detour. At that point we reassess our progress and decided to stop at Mitchell, SD. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a hotel we liked so we decided to continue on to Sioux Falls, SD.

Early the next morning we resumed our western road trip. We planned to stop in the Badlands but decided to skip that side trip and continued on to Custer State Park. The goal was to photograph the Custer Buffalo Roundup the next day so we wanted to scout the area.

So for the past month we have been driving around the western U.S. and the upper Midwest chasing the fall leaves. They are just about gone now so I should have time to starting going through the many photos I’ve taken and writing my blog on a daily basis.

In the meantime I’ve started processing some of my most recent photos and interspersing blogs from the western trip with those of the Midwestern leaf peeping trips.

Just after the sunrise someone asked me if there were any ships coming in or going out anytime soon. I checked my phone and noticed a the ship Three Rivers was coming down the harbor. I ran across the lift bridge so I would have the light at my back. When I reached the other side I noticed the Three Rivers was being assisted by two of the Great Lake Towing Tugs. As it turned out it wasn’t coming out of the harbor it was moving into the docks to load grain.

Three Rivers

Three Rivers

Three Rivers

Three Rivers

 

On my trips down to Canal Park I usually end up with some photos that I put into my odds and ends category.

This first photo is the Tug Bayfield that sits outside the Maritime Museum. Photo was taken at dawn using multiple shots to capture the range of light.

Tug Bayfield

Tug Bayfield

While I was photographing the sunrise I happened to look back at the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and notice some beautiful light coming off of the clouds.

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

The Ark of the Anthropocene was an art project gone wrong. It is a 4,000 pound sphere which contained a terrarium with more than 50 plants. On Tuesday it was lifted into the harbor behind the DECC and was anchored to the bottom of the harbor. On Wednesday the creator was checking it and noticed it was sinking. A crane was brought in to lift it out of the water. I found it sitting on the dock near the DECC.

Ark of the Anthropocene

Ark of the Anthropocene

I was a little negligent in getting out for sunrise shots on our last trip to Duluth. On the final day I decided to give it a try. I made it up so I could photograph the dawn which means I was out about an hour before sunrise. I’m glad I made the effort because it was a fantastic dawn.

Uncle Harvey's Mausoleum

Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum

Dawn Duluth Harbor Entry

Dawn Duluth Harbor Entry

Dawn North Breakwater Light

Dawn North Breakwater Light

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