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Category Archives: Amnicon Falls State Park

It was a sunny day with strong winds in Duluth. We decided to drive over to Amnicon Falls State Park for a short photo expedition. We were more than a little surprised as we drove to the Park. In Superior Wisconsin it was 45 degrees but in Amnicon Falls it was 75. A thirty degree difference in 10 miles.

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It was sunny so it was difficult to photograph the waterfalls but I managed to get a few photos.

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Unfortunately one of my favorite spots to photograph, Now and Then Falls, is a mess. Several trees have gone down and the park has cut them up but the right side of the falls and the base of the falls is littered with debris. This photo was taken several years ago.

Now and Then Falls Amnicon Falls State Park

Now and Then Falls Amnicon Falls State Park

Linda put together a show of eight of my photos at the Menomonie Public Library. She did all of the printing, matting and framing of the photos. I just took the pictures. They will be on display through the month of April.

There are four Landscape photos.

Now and Then Falls Amnicon Falls State Park

Now and Then Falls Amnicon Falls State Park

Apostle Islands Sea Cave

Apostle Islands Sea Cave Cornucopia, Wisconsin

Crex Meadows

Crex Meadows Grantsburg ,Wisconsin

Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Seney National Wildlife Refuge Seney, Michigan

 

There are four wildlife Photos

Goslings

Goslings Hoffman Hills Recreation Area Menomonie, Wisconsin

Black Bear

Black Bear Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary Orr, Minnesota

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Canadian Hill Farm Menomonie, Wisconsin

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies Fontenac State Park Fontenac, Monnesota

 

Last week was my first visit to Amnicon Falls State Park this winter. There was a lot of ice considering how warm the winter has been. It has been really hard to get enthusiastic about winter this year. We really need some cold weather and a couple of good blizzards.

The unusual color in the water is caused by tannin.

Covered Horton Bridge

Lower falls and the Covered Horton Bridge

The tannin in the water also discolors the ice.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Fresh snow had fallen the night before resulting in an interesting pattern on the rock face above the lower falls.

Rock Face

Rock Face

Fresh snow made for an interesting B&W photo.

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Amnicon Falls State Park – My favorite waterfall photography location is Amnicon Falls State Park. Almost every time we drive by I stop to at least look at it and usually take some photos.

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Lost Creek Falls – I typically hike into Lost Creek Falls at least once every summer to take photos.

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Lower Falls Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – This was take on a spring trip to Yellowstone State Park. It was a stormy day with some beautiful clouds above the falls.

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Jay Cooke State Park – Not a waterfall we frequent but we stopped late in the fall. This particular waterfall was difficult to photograph in its entirety but provided an opportunity for an intimate photo of the water flowing over the top of the falls.

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Willow River State Park – Willow Falls is a waterfall that is not particularly appealing to photograph as a whole but does offer some nice intimate shots of small areas around the main falls.

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This was another “We will just stop and take a quick look” visit to Amnicon Falls. By now my wife knows a quick look usually means a couple of hours. I think I can count of one hand the number of times we have stopped for a quick look and left without taking any photos. This is one of my favorite waterfall photography locations because of the variety of waterfalls and rapids. Are all easily accessible by a short walk.

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The water color at Amnicon is caused by tannin in the water. The tannin is the result of decaying vegetation in the Amnicon River watershed.

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Conditions were ideal. A good water flow and overcast sky to provide uniform lighting and a low enough light level not to require the use of neutral density filters.

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We started the morning early and stopped for sunrise at Wisconsin Point. Unfortunately we were disappointed because there was not much of a sunrise due to heavy cloud cover. With the cloud cover we thought that it might be a good day to photograph at Amnicon Falls State Park.

Now and Then Falls

Now and Then Falls

Snake Pit Falls

Snake Pit Falls

We were not disappointed. The cloud cover held and there was a surprising amount of water in the Amnicon River offering some great photography opportunities.

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I was happy to see that I had a couple of photos included in the current Calendar but was appalled to see that one of them was close to a photo of our Idiot governor.

The firs photo was taken at Amnicon Falls State Park under ideal water conditions. Unfortunately it was a sunny day which makes waterfall photography difficult. Fortunately I had just purchased a variable neutral density filter which allowed me to photograph the falls at a slower speed even under sunny conditions.

Now and Then Falls Amnicon Falls State Park

Now and Then Falls Amnicon Falls State Park

The photo of the Coast Guard Cutter Alder was taken during the bitter winter of 2013-14. We were returning from our final visit of the season to the Apostle Islands Ice Caves when we notice on our Marine Tracker that the Alder was out in Lake Superior. This was the first ice breaking trip of the year for the Alder through the Wisconsin Point Entry.  Little did they know that it would be a very long time before ice breaking ended for the season. We tracked the Alder as it sailed out into the lake so we drove out to Wisconsin Point to see if we could photograph it when it returned to the harbor. We waited for quite a while but it didn’t return so we started back to Duluth. Just as we were leaving Wisconsin Point I made a final check of the Marine Tracker and noticed that it was on its way back into the harbor so we turned around and were lucky to get this photo.

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

A couple of days before the arrival of spring we stopped at Amnicon Falls to check on ice conditions. The ice was still around but was breaking up. As we walked around the trails every once in a while the ground would shake and we would hear a loud bang. At first we thought it was someone dynamiting but it turned out that the river was washing away at the ice on the surface and every once in a while a large chunk would collapse causing the vibration and sound.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snake Pit Falls

Snake Pit Falls

Now and Then Falls

Now and Then Falls

As winter arrived I started thinking of places and events that I wanted to photograph this winter. The events and bird photography require a little more planning than the Landscape Photography locations.

Apostle Islands Ice Caves

Without a doubt the top of my list is the Apostle Islands Ice caves. I discovered them in 2007 and have photographed them every year they have been open. When I first started photographing them I was frequently the only person on the ice that day. What a difference social media makes. This past winter well over a hundred thousand people visited the caves in-spite of the bitterly cold winter. Given the temperatures we have been seeing so far this winter I would expect the ice caves will open again in February. If you haven’t been you should make the trip.

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The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race will be taking place on February 7th and 8th. This is really a fun family event and one of the better sled dog races from a viewers point of view. It is possible to get up close to the dogs at the start of the races. Since it is an out and back race you can also stick around and watch the mushers return. They also have different levels of races from professionals to kids.

Off and Racing

Off and Racing

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If you are really lucky, like we were last year, the Apostle Island Ice Caves will be open that weekend. You also may also be able to drive out to Madeline Island on the ice road while you are in the area.

Bond Falls

Although Bond falls is best known as a fall destination for photographers it provides some exceptional photography in the winter. There are not many waterfalls that are all that interesting to photograph in the winter. Bond Falls in the U.P. of Michigan is an exception. Most waterfalls in the Upper-Midwest are frozen in the winter. If there has been fresh snow they look like all of the other scenery. Bond falls is just below a dam it has water flowing all winter regardless of how cold it is. The flowing water combined with some interesting ice formations makes this one of my favorite winter photography locations.

Bond Falls

Bond Falls

Ice Bond Falls

Ice Bond Falls

Mississippi River

During the winter we make a number of trips over to the Mississippi River looking for eagles. Our first stop is usually Alma, Wisconsin where eagles hang out around the lock and dam. The National Eagle Center provides a weekly report of eagles seen along this section of the Mississippi River. They also provide eagle watching tours.

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We then drive north to Reads Landing, Minnesota. We commonly see 30+ eagles in front of the Reads Landing Brewing Company. You can stop in the Brewery and watch the eagles in comfort while having lunch.

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Our last stop is usually  in Colvill Park  Redwing, Minnesota where the eagles hang out near the open water below the power plant. The catch to watching eagles in the winter is the best time to find them gathered in large numbers is when there is a bitterly cold stretch of weather. This causes the Mississippi to freeze up and reduces access to open water.

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Canadian Hill Farm

I can usually find something to photograph on the farm during the winter but most of my time is spent photographing birds during snow storms. There is nothing like hunkering down in the house with a roaring fire in the fireplace while sitting in my rocking chair and photographing birds.

Northern Cardinal male

Northern Cardinal male

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Hudson, Wisconsin

Hudson is a great place to watch Trumpeter Swans during the winter. With the successful reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans into the Midwest watching and photographing them has become a year around event. Trumpeter Swans don’t migrate in the winter they just move to the nearest open water. There is a small patch of open water in Hudson where they congregate in large numbers during the winter months. It is easy to get up close and photograph them.

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Hudson is also where the Hudson Hot Air Affair is held every February. This is one of the few hot air balloon rallies in the area. It is well worth the trip to watch the inflation and flight of the balloons.

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Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls State Park is a favorite stopping point during the winter. Although in very cold weather the Amnicon River usually freezes there are times when I can find open water. The tannin tainted water car result in some colorful photos.

Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls

Horton Covered Bridge

Horton Covered Bridge

Red Cedar State Trail

In the winter most of the Red Cedar State Trail is a cross country ski trail so in order to photograph it you have to be willing to cross country ski. There are some beautiful ice walls along the trail at the 1.5 mile mark. These are the result of water seepage through limestone rock.

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On cold days the trees along the trail can be covered in heavy frost.

Frost

Frost

The southern portion of the trail is a walking trail in the winter and on a sunny day I like to photograph the Dunnville Stone in the late afternoon light.

Dunnville Sandstone

Dunnville Sandstone

Grand Marais, Minnesota

I like to make the trip to Grand Marais at least once every winter. I’m never quite sure what I’ll find. On one trip there were high waves washing over the breakwater and lighthouses.

West Breakwater Light

West Breakwater Light

At other times I love to take intimate shots of the ice formations that are formed when the water washes over the breakwater and then freezes into beautiful patterns.

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Devil’s Punchbowl

I like to photograph at Devil’s Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin in the winter. Water seeping through limestone rocks creates a massive ice wall in the bowl. There are also opportunities to photograph objects frozen in the ice.

Devil's Punchbowl

Devil’s Punchbowl

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I couldn’t resist taking some intimate photos of the tannin colored water, ice and snow at Amnicon Falls State Park.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Amnicon River

Amnicon River

Amnicon River

Amnicon River