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Monthly Archives: November 2011

It’s always hard to pick out a favorite photo but I decided to go through my summer photos and pick out some interesting ones that I liked.

Seney Sunset

Sunset Photo – Without a doubt this was my favorite photo of the summer. It was taken in Seney National Wildlife Area in the U.P. of Michigan. My wife and I had taken a three day weekend to drive around the U.P.. Our plan was to stop at Seney to photograph the sunset. I didn’t hold out much hope that the sunset would be any good because we had not seen a single cloud all day. In addition, we had doddled along during the day and were late in arriving at Seney. Early in the evening a few clouds appeared in the western sky along with some contrails. The contrails mixed with the clouds to create this fantastic sunset. The image of an eagle in the sky really makes the photo.

Lower Falls

Waterfall Photo – This was taken at Amnicon Falls State Park. The park had received some rain so the water levels were fairly high and there was good color in the water from the tannin giving the water a root beer appearance. The water is flowing horizontally and the trees are vertical. The steps tie the two together.

Now-and-Then Falls

Black and White Photo – My favorite B&W photo was also taken at Amnicon Falls State Park. It is a photo of the base of Now and Then Falls. It gets its name because the falls only flows when the water levels are high. Water from the main stream flows off to the side and down this beautiful falls.

Tree Swallow

Bird Photo – This photo of a fledgling Tree Swallow was taken on my farm. I had been photographing them on the nest earlier in the week. He unexpectedly turned up at my bird feeder. This was definitely a first. He seemed very confused with all of the birds flying around the feeder and he was getting buzzed by some hummingbirds.

Au Sable Point Lighthouse

Building Photo – I typically don’t take photos of buildings but this was a shot taken on one of my favorite hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We love to hike along the lake shore to Au Sable Point Lighthouse. Hiking along the shore is a lot more interesting, a lot cooler and fewer bugs than hiking the inland trail.

Honey Bee

Insect Photo – This is a macro photo of a Honey Bee on a Milkweed plant. What I like is the fact that the milkweed plant is in two different stages of budding with different colors. The bee provides a transition between the two groups of buds.


Action Photo – Again I typically don’t photograph people but my wife and I decided to drive over to Wausau, Wisconsin to watch the Midwest Freestyle Kayak Championships. The event took place all day and offered various levels of competition. This Kayaker was in the process of doing a vertical roll.

Tiger Moth caterpillar

Studio Photo – When the weather is bad, no sun, rain, too much wind etc. I sometimes bring subjects into my studio to photograph them. On this particular day all three conditions existed. I was looking for flowers to photograph when I found this Tiger Moth Caterpillar crossing the road. I decided to borrow him for a short time and brought him into the studio.


Strangest Photo – This is a tree frog shot on my car windshield. It was taken on a drive through the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. This was one of the strangest photography days I’ve ever had. I documented it in an earlier blog.  I was driving through the park when something landed on my windshield. It took a few minutes to figure out what it was. I finally found a spot to pull over and remove him from the windshield. I took his photo before I did.

Flower Photo – My favorite flower photo is also my favorite flower to photograph during the spring, summer and fall. It is a common flower in the dairy state and is the alfalfa bloom. As long as you cut the alfalfa you will get blooms from early June into the fall.

More photos can be found on my Website.

This past fall we made our second visit in two years to Copper Peak Ski Flying Hill. The leaves were good but not as good as last year. The strong winds earlier in the week took down quite a few leaves. Still you have a fantastic view from the top of the ski jump. I have to give my wife credit she took the lift up to the jump, the elevator then walked the rest of the way up even though she is afraid of confined spaces and heights. On a couple of the photos below you can see Lake Superior in the background.

The good news from Copper Peak is that the international agency that governs ski flying has examined the jump. They noted the changes that need to be made to bring the jump up to international standards and work is progressing. Hopefully in the next few years they will have ski flying again at Copper Peak. I can’t wait.

More Copper Peak photos can be found on my website.

Gile Flowage wins the award for the best fall photography location that we visited in 2011. My wife and I had discovered it last year but didn’t have a chance to really photograph it because we were leaving the area when we found it. We thought it would make a great place to photograph the sunrise and the sunset.

This year we made a point of visiting it on our way to Ironwood. This allowed us to get a few shots of the flowage and scope out possible locations for sunrise photos. As I usually do I checked the area out with The Photographer’s Ephemeris before visiting the area so I had a good idea where the best spots would be. As it turned out county highway D runs through the flowage and this is a great place to photograph both sunrise and sunset. These were shot on the east side of the road.

The next morning we were up early to catch the sunrise. County D allows you to photograph the sun rising over the flowage as well as the front lit trees. All you need to do is walk across the road. It does make for some hectic photography. I had my wife watching the opposite direction from where I was photographing so she could alert me when conditions were the best. These shots were taken on the west side of the road. The shot on the right was almost an afterthought. I had already put my tripod away and we were driving down the road to turnaround when I thought it might make an interesting shot. It turned out to be my favorite.

Last fall we made a trip to the Black River Harbor to view the fall color. The fall color was almost at its peak. The highlight of the visit was the reflections in the water just below the bridge across the Black River.

More photos from the Black River Harbor can be found on my website.

So far this year I haven’t had many birds at my feeder. This is due, in part, because I removed most of the feeders late in the summer because birds were getting caught in the feeder and dying. I discussed this in more detail in an earlier post. However, last weekend we were scheduled to get out first snowfall so I put an additional feeder out and made sure they were all full of seeds. The next morning there were quite a few American Goldfinches around the feeder enjoying the food and snow.

A few weeks ago we drove over to Kinnickinnic State Park for some late fall hiking. We have been to this park a number of times but have never hiked on the trails. I usually go to the park in the winter when it is really cold out and the St. Croix River is frozen over. There is usually open water where the Kinnickinnic flows into the St. Croix. There are usually geese, ducks and swans in the open water.

On this day we encountered quite a few other people. One group was setting trails for a dog trial that was taking place the next day. The other group was enjoying a Halloween party put on by the park. When we walked down to the confluence of the St. Croix and Kinnickinnic there were quite a few Walleye fisherman on the St. Croix.

Fall Colors

Big Bluestem

St. Croix River

Kinnickinnic River


Apparently I’m a little behind in processing my photographs. I found a batch of photos that I took back at the end of September on a visit to Big Falls County Park east of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I hadn’t visited the park for some time so my wife and I drove over for a short visit. The day looked like it would be ideal for photographing waterfalls because there were enough clouds in the sky to create overcast conditions. Unfortunately when we reached the falls the sun came out. I was still able to get some shots using a neutral density filter along with my circularizing polarizer filter. The park is a favorite location for shooting weddings and graduation photos. As we were leaving I snapped a photo of someone getting their graduation picture taken.

More photographs of Big Falls County Park can be found on my website.


Last week we made a trip to Duluth, Minnesota. No trip to the area is complete without a stop at Amnicon Falls State Park. No matter how many times I visit the park there are always different photographs to be taken. On this trip the water levels were very low allowing access to some shots that normally would not be available. In addition, there was a group of photographers from a Minnesota camera club at the park working their way along the Amnicon River so I included them in my photographs.

Upper Falls

Snake Pit Falls

Lower Falls

Amnicon River

More Photos can be found on my website.

The past couple of weeks my wife and I took the opportunity to hike several sections of the Ice Age Trail. The weekend weather has been great with nice temperatures and lots of sun. It provided the last chance to get into the woods before deer hunting season starts. Both segments of the trail are open to deer hunting.

The first weekend we hiked the 4.5 mile loop on the Chippewa Moraine Segment north of Bloomer, Wisconsin. It is always a great place to visit because they have an outstanding visitors center. The same ranger is normally on duty on the weekends and he is very helpful and friendly. The visitors center has lots of activities for kids and lots of things to see. This time the highlight was a soft back turtle that had turned its back up into a strange configuration with the edges of the shell pointed toward the sun lamp in the tank. Neither the ranger or I had ever seen anything like it.

The following weekend we were headed to Duluth so we took the opportunity to stop and hike on the Hemlock Creek Segment east of Rice Lake. This is a three mile loop that starts at Murphy Flowage and follows hemlock creek before crossing the creek on a footbridge and returning to the parking lot. The highlight of this segment was a large beaver dam across Hemlock Creek. It had not been there earlier in the summer so this was a large summer construction project. We could see where the beavers had been cutting trees and brush in the area. They also had a large reserve of branches stored in the pond in back of the dam. It looked like they planned to use them to repair the dam. The beaver lodge itself was next to the shore and was quite large.

One of the fun things to shoot are backlit leaves. Most of my shooting of backlit leaves takes place in the fall after most of the fall have fallen. In the drab colors of November I’m usually looking for something interesting to photograph and backlit leaves really stand out.

The other time I photograph backlit leaves is in the spring. I the leaves are usually translucent when they first come out so it is easy to shoot through them and capture the veins of the leaves.