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Category Archives: Hiawatha National Forest

One of our favorite places to photograph fall colors in Hiawatha National Forest just south of Munising, Michigan. We have a route that we drive that passes a number of beautiful lakes. Sometimes the route changes a bit depending upon the number of photographers we find at any given lake. This area is a favorite destination for photography workshops so you can expect to find large groups of photographers a some locations.

More photos from Hiawatha National Forest can be found on my website.

Our first stop is usually Pete’s Lake.

petes-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3538a

petes-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3480

From Pete’s Lake we drive back toward Munising stopping at Moccasin Lake. There is a pull off right along highway 13. This is also a trail head for Bruno’s Run Trail which loops past a number of these lakes.

moccasin-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3433a

moccasin-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3456After photographing at Moccasin Lake we continued back toward Munising stopping at Thornton Lake. The turnoff for Thornton Lake is not well marked and difficult to spot if there are a lot of leaves on the trees. On this visit it was standing room only because a photography group was just packing up to leave.

thornton-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3593

thornton-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3626Continuing on toward Munising we turn off on Buckhorn Road and connect to Doe Lake Road. Just after turning on to Buckhorn Road you will encounter Twin Lakes.

big-twin-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3638

reflections-big-twin-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3643We then drove on to Doe Lake ending our fall tour of Hiawatha National Forest lakes.

doe-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3671

reflections-doe-lake-hiawatha-national-forest-16-10-3685

It is sometimes difficult to hit the fall colors just right. I’ve had the most success visiting Ironwood at the end of September some of the other locations I try to judge the fall colors using the Wisconsin Fall Color Foliage Report.

Gile Flowage Sunrise

Gile Flowage Sunrise

I’m starting to think about fall color trips. Typically my fall season starts with a trip to Ironwood, Michigan at the end of September. My two favorite photograph locations are Gile Flowage. Gile Flowage is a great place to start the morning by photographing the sunrise.

Gile Flowage

Gile Flowage

Later in the day I like to drive over to Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill and make the trip to the top of the ski jump. There are some spectacular views from the top of the ski lift.

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

In mid October I like to drive over to Munising, Michigan. This is probably one of the premier fall color locations in the country. While I’m in the area there are three locations I like to visit. The first is Hiawatha National Forest. There are quite a few lakes in the forest that offer some spectacular fall color shots. The leaves turn first in the National Forest. If you are really lucky you will be in the area when the snow falls on the colors.

Thornton Lake

Thornton Lake

A week or so later the colors will turn at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Hiking along the trails above the lake offer some unsurpassed scenery. If the weather cooperates a sunset cruse on the tour boats is well worth your time.

Miners-Beach-Pictured-Rocks-National-Lakeshore-14-10-_1926

While in the area I always try to visit Seney National Wildlife Refuge. It offers some spectacular sunrise and sunset opportunities as well as a chance to photograph wildlife.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge Sunset

Seney National Wildlife Refuge Sunset

Toward the end of October I like to drive down to Baraboo, Wisconsin. There are some great photography locations in the area. Devils Lake State Park is always popular and can be crowed on a beautiful fall Day.

Devils Lake State Park

Devils Lake State Park

Gibraltar Rock offers some great views of the Wisconsin River Valley.

Gibraltar Rock

Gibraltar Rock

My favorite location is Pewits Nest. If you time it right the leaves can be outstanding. Pewits Nest is small natural gorge cut by Skillet Creek.

Pewits Nest

Pewits Nest

I’ve compiled a list of my five favorite fall photography destinations. The links go to additional photos on my website.

Black River– The black river offers some great waterfall photography but my favorite location is under the bridge at the mouth of the river where I love to take reflection shots.

Black River Harbor Reflections

Black River Harbor Reflections

Bonanza Falls – Offers great color and some intimate waterfall shots

Bonanza Falls

Bonanza Falls

Bond Falls – One of my favorite waterfalls. Expect large numbers of photographers at the start of the fall colors.

Bond Falls

Bond Falls

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill – Stunning views of the Lake Superior Basin. The ride to the top is a thrill in itself.

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

Hiawatha National Forest – A favorite location for fall photography offering a number of lakes that are best photographed at sunrise. See my Blog for more information on locations.

Thornton Lake

Thornton Lake

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Offers a wide variety of photography locations from the Lake of the Clouds, Union Bay on Lake Superior to mountain streams and waterfalls.

Lake of the Clouds

Lake of the Clouds

It’s the time of year when I start getting excited about the fall colors. Already some states have their fall color reports active. I started thinking about the places I would like to travel to this fall and came up with a list of my top 5 destinations. I’ve listed the ironwood area first because, for some reason, the leaves turn in this area before they do in any other area.

Ironwood, Michigan

Gile Flowage– is located just south of Ironwood, Michigan. What I like about Gile Flowage is that you can photograph at sunrise and sunset and get some great photos. In fact, at both times you can photograph the color of the trees and just turn around and then photograph the rising or setting sun.

Gile Flowage Sunrise

 

Gile Flowage Sunrise

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hillis the largest ski jump in the world and the top of the jump is nearly 1200 feet above lake Superior. On a clear day you can see for over 40 miles. Lake Superior and the Porcupine Mountains are visible from the top. The ski jump is open on weekends during fall color season.

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

 Black Riveris just down the road from Copper Peak and offers some great fall views of waterfalls along the Black River.

Rainbow Falls

  Munising, Michigan

Hiawatha National Forestis located just south of Munising and offers some great photography opportunities along the many lakes in the area. The peak colors in the national forest are usually a week or so before the colors in Pictured Rocks. Most of the lakes are best photographed early in the morning. More information can be found in an earlier Blog.

Thorton Lake

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshoreoffers some spectacular photo opportunities. The fall sunset boat cruise is not to be missed. The many mile of hiking trails through the park offer a wide range of subjects for photography.

Grand Portal Point

Seney National Wildlife Refugeis located at the eastern end of Pictured Rocks and offers some great chances for sunset and sunrise photography. Large numbers of Trumpeter Swans can be found in the Refuge.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge Sunset

WaterfallsThere are a large number of great waterfalls within a short drove of Munising. This is a shot of Laughing Whitefish Falls.

Laughing Whitefish Falls

 Baraboo, Wisconsin

 Pewits Nestis located in the southern part of Wisconsin just outside Baraboo. It’s a small gorge with a stream flowing through it. The top of the gorge is covered with large maple trees. If you hit it right the maple trees are spectacular. The gorge itself is worth the trip even after most of the leaves have fallen.

Pewits Nest

Devils Lake State ParkIs also located just outside of Baraboo. It is one of the premier Wisconsin parks and a popular destination any time of the year but particularly in the fall. We usually combine the trip with a visit to Ski-Hi Fruit Farm which lies just outside the park.

Devil’s Lake State Park

Gibraltar RockIs just a short drive from Baraboo and offers some stunning views of the Wisconsin River valley. We usually combine a visit to Gibraltar rock with a trip on the Merrimac Ferry which crosses the Wisconsin River at Merrimac Wisconsin.

Gibraltar Rock

Minnesota North Shore

There are photography opportunities all along the Minnesota North Shore from Duluth, Minnesota to Grand Portage State Park on the Canadian Border. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorites. The fall leaves turn first in the interior away from the lake. The Maples turn earlier than the Birch. Generally it will take several trips at different times to take in all of the fall color along the North Shore. If the leaves disappoint the Lake will not so there is always something to photograph.

 Gooseberry Falls State ParkThis is usually my first stop on any trip to the North Shore. I try to time my visit so I’m not there on a weekend because it is one of the most popular parks in Minnesota.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

 Tettegouche State Park –  They are building a new visitors center at the park so the visitors center will closed for the fall 2012 season. Lots of nice hiking trails into the back country.

Mic Mac Lake

Oberg Mountain – My favorite place for fall photographs on the North Shore. The top of Oberg Mountain offers stunning 360 degrees of the surrounding forests and Lake Superior.

Oberg Mountain

 Cascade River State Park is a great place to photograph any time of the year but it can be beautiful in the fall if the water level is high. Best photographed early in the morning or late in the day when the cascades are in the shade and provide a uniform light.

Cascade River

Grand Portage State Parkis located on the border with Canada. It offers spectacular views of the highest waterfall in Minnesota. Late in the fall color season the Birch Trees at the top of the falls turn brilliant colors. If you happen to be there late in the day the sun will highlight the fall colors while the falls is in the shade.

High Falls

 Crex Meadows

Crex Meadows stands alone as a destination for photography. It is a great place to photograph fall colors, sunrises and sunsets. It is also the one of the best locations in the country to photograph the fall migration of the Sandhill Cranes. You will want to plan on spending the night in Grantsburg, Wisconsin so you can take in the evening and morning flights of the cranes. About an hour before sunset the cranes start returning to the meadows. Folks bring their lawn chairs and just sit and watch them fly into their rousting grounds. You can return to the same location at sunrise and watch the cranes leaving to feed for the day in the surrounding fields. During the day you can drive the back roads south of town to watch the cranes feeding. Make sure you make the trip this year because if the Wisconsin creates a Sandhill Crane hunt you may not be able to see this spectacular event in future years. I have more details on photographing at Crex in an earlier Blog.

Sunset Crex Meadows

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes Sunset Flight

I’m still working on processing my fall photos but I can now see light at the end of the tunnel. Last fall we spent a few days in the Munising, Michigan area. One of the places I like to photograph is in Hiawatha National Forest south of Munising. There are a large number of lakes in the area that offer some great photograph opportunities. In an earlier post I listed the lakes, locations and the best time to photograph them. This photo was taken along H13 on the drive north to Munising.

Hiawatha National Forest

This year the leaves were outstanding but unfortunately strong winds through the month of October took them down as fast as they reached their peak. Still there were some nice shots to be had if you looked around. We arrived in Munising late in the day and checked in to our motel then headed back out to Hiawatha National Forest to check on the color conditions at some of the lakes we would be photographing the next morning. We then drove into Red Jack and Council Lakes arriving just as the sun was setting behind the trees. Most of the leaves were down at both lakes except at the east end of the lake where the sun was hitting the trees. This is a shot taken at Red Jack Lake just before the sun set and was the only shot I managed before the sun set.

Red Jack Lake

The following morning we decided to make our first stop at Moccasin Lake. The sunrise was not the best but there were some spectacular clouds in the sky with reflections off of the lake. This was the talk of the morning among the small number of photographers in the area. While photographing the clouds on the lake I noticed this leaf floating toward me and took a few shots of it as it floated by.

Moccasin Lake Sunrise

Leaf

We then headed over to Pete’s Lake. The color was also good and there were a still clouds in the sky. We walked out on the fishing dock and I took a few photos of the reflections in the water. We also hiked on some of the trails in the area. The trails and the road into the lake were carpeted with leaves. This is usually a great place to find lots of leaves on the ground.

Pete's Lake

Pete's Lake

Pete's Lake

Pete's Lake Road

We headed out and drove around finally ending up at Doe Lake. The lake itself was not that great because quite a few of the leaves were down but we managed some interesting leaf shots right next to the road.

Leaves Doe Lake

Leaves Doe Lake

Additional photos of Hiawatha National Forest can be found on my website.

As I was working through my fall photographs I was reflecting ( no pun intended) on the number of shots I had of fall reflections in lakes and streams. I suppose it is because the colors are so vibrant during the fall season. You can also get some good shots even if the trees are not at peak color. Here are some of my favorite reflection shots from the 2011 fall season.

Lac La Bell– A shot of the boat dock at Lac La Bell. Taken during the Peak of the Fall Colors.

Lac La Belle

Pete’s Lake– Taken from the fishing dock at Pete’s Lake. This is a popular photo location in Hiawatha National Forest in the U.P. of Michigan.

Pete's Lake

Reflections– Taken from my motel deck at Duluth Harbor. The reflection is from the harbor lights.

Duluth Harbor

Rusk County– Taken at a small unnamed pond in Rusk County. The pond was filled with Lily Pads but I was still able to get a good reflection shot.

Rusk County

Sandhill Cranes– I found this scene shortly after sunrise at Crex Meadows near Grantsburg, Wisconsin.

Sandhill Cranes

Moccasin Lake– Taken at sunrise at Moccasin Lake in Hiawatha National forest in the U.P. of Michigan.

Moccasin Lake

Black River– This shot was taken from underneath the footbridge over the Black River at the mouth of the river.

Black River Reflections

Gile Flowage– This is a shot of the Gile Flowage boat dock taken shortly after sunrise.

Gile Flowage

Stream Abstract– Photo taken of a small stream in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on the trail to Spray Falls.

Stream Abstract

Last week we took a long weekend to make our last trip the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to view fall colors. During the fall color season we have had strong winds so we were not sure what to expect.

Red Jack Lake

Day one was a travel day from Menomonie, Wisconsin to Munising, Michigan. There were a few spots where the leaves were still good but for the most part they had blown down in the strong winds. We arrived in Munising late in the day and then headed out through Hiawatha National Forest to check on the tree conditions at a number of lakes. We first stopped at Moccasin and Thornton Lakes. The color at both was good but there was more junk in the water than usual at Thornton Lake. We then drove into Red Jack and Council Lakes arriving just as the sun was setting behind the trees. Most of the leaves were down at both lakes except at the east end of the lake where the sun was hitting the trees. This is a shot taken at Red Jack Lake just before the sun set.

Moccasin Lake Sunrise

On the morning of day two we decided to make our first stop at Moccasin Lake. The sunrise was not the best but there were some spectacular clouds in the sky with reflections off of the lake. This was the talk of the morning among the small number of photographers in the area.

Petes Lake

We then headed over to Petes Lake. The color was also good. This was a shot taken on the campground road. This is usually a great place to find lots of leaves on the ground.

Lake Superior Shoreline

After hiking and driving around in Hiawatha National Forest for most of the morning we headed over to Pictured Rocks and the Little Beaver Lake trailhead. We spent the afternoon hiking out to Spray Falls. Unfortunately it was later in the day and the falls was backlit. This was a shot taken along the shore on the hike back to the car.

Miners Beach

It was late in the day so we decided to stop at Miners Beach to check on conditions and take a few late afternoon photos. In an earlier post I lamented the conditions at Miners Beach. It was almost impossible to photograph Elliot Falls because of the large number of dead trees washed into the area. I was really happy to find that the beach had been cleaned either by nature or someone. The falls also had a little more water flowing in spite of the drought.

Water Patterns

We had not planned on shooting sunset photos at Miners Beach because the Packers were playing on a late Sunday night game. When we arrived at the beach there was another fellow walking around but he left just after we arrived. I started shooting along the beach then concentrated on shooting some water pattern and leaf photos at the foot of the falls. Other photographers started arriving so I started packing up to leave. My wife mentioned that the individual we

Unknown Photographer

had seen earlier had returned and he was carrying a large anatomically correct female doll. When I looked he was in the middle of the photo that everyone want to take. I’m not sure what was going on but he was posing the doll. Definitely a first and a topic of conversation among the photographers at Miners Beach that night. I should have gone over to find out what he was up to.

Sand Point Sunset

We decided to drive out to Sand Point for our sunset photos. It would allow time to pick up something to eat and still make it to the packer game. There were a couple of Trumpeter Swans feeding just off of the beach so I included them in my sunset photo.

Au Train Falls

Day three was a waterfall day. Our first stop was Au Train Falls. I had visited several times before and each time found very little water flowing in the falls and had expected the same on this day because of the drought. When we arrived we found a good water flow. The falls is downstream from a dam so there must have been a water release.

Laughing Whitefish Falls

The next waterfall on our list was Laughing Whitefish Falls. Again I wasn’t quite sure what to expect given the drought. As it turned out there was very little water flowing. It was the lowest water level I had seen at the falls. It did mean there were lots of leaves where water would normally be running. This is a shot taken from the top of the falls.

We drove on to Marquette for lunch. We decided we had a little time so we decided to visit Reany Falls. This was my first visit to the falls. Again not a lot of water and there was a considerable amount of downed trees in the falls so it was difficult to get a lot of good shots. There are quite a few falls in the Marquette area so this looks like a place I’ll be heading to next spring.

Bond Falls

The next stop was Bond falls. Since Bond Falls is below a dam you can always be assured of a good water flow even during times of drought. We weren’t disappointed although there were few leaves remaining on the trees.

Bonanza Falls

Our destination for the day was White Pine just outside of Porcupine Mountains State Park. We normally stay at the Konteka in White Pine. After checking in we drove to Bonanza Falls. It’s a waterfall that is close to the road and under normal conditions offers a large number of photographic opportunities. In this case the water level was the lowest I have ever seen it so the photographic opportunities were limited.

Union Bay Sunset

The final stop of the day was Union Bay for some sunset photos. Unfortunately nature didn’t cooperate and there was not much of a sunset. This was about the best nature had to offer on this night. On the positive side it was an incredible evening to be on the beach. the temperature was 70+ degrees and no bugs. In fact the entire trip we had daytime temperatures in the high 70’s.

Union Bay Moonset

We were up early the next morning to try and catch the sunrise at Lake of the Clouds. On the way to the car we noticed that it was not very likely that we would have a good sunrise because of extensive cloud cover. However, as we drove toward the park we noticed that the full moon was just setting over Union Bay. We parked and raced down to the beach to catch some photographs.

Lake of the Clouds

As it turned out there was not much of a sunrise at Lake of the Clouds. We did catch the sun peaking through the clouds a little later in the morning. Almost of the leaves were down in the park and there was very little color.

Looks like the end of the fall photo season and it came way too soon.

Think Snow!!!!

With fall just around the corner it’s time to be thinking of fall photo locations. One of my favorite locations is the area around Munising, Michigan. Generally the interior colors peak around the last week of September with the colors along the lake peaking the first week of October. Hiawatha National Forest offers a numerous lakes to photograph during the fall color peak. Some of the more popular photo locations are a series of lakes just south of Munising along highway H13. The area has many back roads an lakes so just driving around will likely reveal some great photos. Last year I happened to be in the area during a snow storm which produced some great photo opportunities although it was a bit difficult to photograph in wet snow. Finding the lakes are fairly simple. Drive south from the intersection of H13 and highway 28 in Wetmore, Michigan. At about 9.5 miles you will see a roadside rest area for Moccasin Lake on your right. I’ll use this as the base to locate the other lakes.

Petes Lake

Petes Lake – At the south end of the Moccasin Lake rest area you will see a sign for forest road 2173 and about a hundred feet farther you will see a sign for Petes lake on your left. Follow the signs to Petes Lake. Once at Petes Lake you can park at the boat launch area and photograph and you can also park at the gate for the campground and walk into the campground. This provides a wider range of opportunities. Petes Lake is best photographed at sunrise.

Moccasin Lake

Moccasin Lake – Leaving Petes Lake you can drive back to H13 and turn right to return to Moccasin Lake. This is also another great location that is best photographed in the morning.

Red Jack Lake

Red Jack Lake – When you leave Moccasin Lake turn left (north) and drive a few hundred feet and turn left on  2261. At the one mile mark you will see a post with forest road 2261a marked on it. Turn on this road and you will Reach Red Jack Lake. Red Jack Lake is best photographed at sunrise although you can also photograph at sunset.

Council Lake

Council Lake – When you are finished you can return to forest road 2261 and turn right. This will take you to Council Lake. This lake is best photographed at sunrise although you can also photograph at sunset.

Thornton Lake

Thornton Lake – When you are finished you can return to H13 and turn left. In about .4 miles you will see a sign for adapt a road on your left. Just past this sign there is a turn in to Thornton lake and a small parking lot. It is easy to miss this turn if there are lots of leaves on the trees

Doe Lake

Doe Lake – When you leave Thornton Lake turn left and drive to Buckhorn Road. Turn left onto Buckhorn road and drive .8 miles to Doe Lake Road (forest road 2268). Buckhorn road turns right and Doe Lake road continues on straight. After a few hundred feet you will see Big Twin Lake on your right. This can be photographed in the early morning or late evening. Continue on for 2 miles and you will reach Doe Lake. When you reach a section of asphalt you are at Doe Lake. This is best photographed in the morning.

There is a nice listing and maps to Michigan Lakes on the web.

There are more photos from Hiawatha National Forest on my website.