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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

The HR Maria had been anchored outside Duluth Harbor for some time. I hopped to get a photo of it entering the harbor but by the time I saw it was moving it was too late to make it down to the ship canal. I took the first photo from my condo balcony.

HR-MARIA-14-9-_0499

Last week we drove up to Tettegouche State Park to do some hiking. It was a beautiful day but a little warm. Tettegouche had been a frequent stopping point on our northshore trips but we haven’t stopped in several years because a new visitors center has been under construction.

Our goal was to hike to some of the waterfalls. The first stop was High Falls. Since the sun was out in full force it was difficult to get a quality image of the falls but use of a variable neutral density filter helped.High-Falls-Tettegouche-State-Park-14-9-_0377

We then made the hike down to Two Step Falls. As I recall someone mentioned that there were over 300 steps involved in visiting the two waterfalls.Two-Step-Falls-Tettegouche-State-Park-14-9-_0425

On the hike back to the car I stopped to take a photo of the walking bridge across the Baptism River at the top of the high falls.FootbridgeTettegouche-State-Park--14-9-_0471

We then headed back to the visitors center to hike out to Shovel Point. There were several climbing parties out on the Point but it is difficult to get a photograph without hanging over the edge.Tettegouche-State-Park-14-9-_0474

John G. Munson

It must have been a good sunrise because there were quite a few photographers out including a camera crew from one of the local TV channels. I think most of the people missed the best part of the morning which was dawn. Never-the-less the sunrise wasn’t too shabby.

Duluth Harbor Entry

Duluth Harbor Entry

Duluth Breakwater Lights

Duluth Breakwater Lights

South Breakwater Light

South Breakwater Light

There are many places to photograph the fall colors in Minnesota but my favorite is Oberg Mountain. The Oberg Mountain trail is a short hike up the mountain with a circle trail at the top with stunning vistas of Lake Superior and the interior.Oberg-Mountain-13-10-_0084

Oberg-Mountain-11-10-_0156

Oberg-Mountain-11-10-_0160

Oberg Mountain

Oberg Mountain

A few more fall leaf photos taken using a slow speed and camera movement.Sumac-14-9-_1750

Sumac-14-9-_1673

Sumac-14-9-_1764

Confusion-14-9-_1767

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