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Category Archives: Landscape Photography

My wife and I drove up to Crex Meadows to observe the fall migration of the Greater Sandhill Cranes. About 40 thousand of them pass through Crex each fall. When we arrived at Crex we drove our normal route looking for wildlife. The fall colors were just about done but sill very nice.

 

On our drive we encountered a family of Trumpeter Swans feeding right next to the road. They seemed unconcerned when I exited the car to take their photograph. Our our return drive we found them on an old Beaver house.

 

After driving around the flowages we decided to drive some the back roads south east of Grantsburg. During the day the cranes leave the flowage and fly out to the fields to feed. You can usually spot where they are feeding by following the flying cranes. Most of the crops had not been harvested because of the rain. Those fields that had been harvested were covered with mud. The farmers must have had an interesting time trying to drive equipment in the mud.

 

We then drove back to Grantsburg to check into our motel and grab an early dinner before heading back out to the flowages. Not all of the cranes leave the flowages for the day. This one was feeding along the road. About an hour and a half before sunset the cranes start the evening flight from the fields to their rousts for the evening. The sound of them returning is something to hear. There were a large number of Trumpeter Swans resting peacefully in the nesting areas. Once the cranes started returning they caused such a disturbance that the swans started making their own  racket.

 

 

As the crane flight slowed down we decided to head back to town and try and get a few sunset photos along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

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One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to drive to Grantsburg, Wisconsin to view the fall migration of the Greater Sandhill Cranes. Approximately 40 thousand Sandhill Cranes migrate through Crex Meadows in the fall. This is a outstanding place to watch cranes because you can get up close to the cranes.  In the morning, at sunrise, the cranes start moving with most of them flying out to the fields southeast of Grantsburg to feed. The best time to see the cranes is mid October to mid November.

There are also a large number of Trumpeter Swans residing in the flowages. They are typically quiet but when the cranes start moving they make a lot of noise and the swans then start honking as well.

 

 

This visit was made in mid October when the fall leaves were still in color.

 

After stopping at Gooseberry State Park we drove up the shore for a brief visit to Split Rock Lighthouse. The color was just starting to turn.

 

 

In late September we stopped at Amnicon Falls State Park. The area had heavy rains during the previous week and there was a lot of water flowing in the Amnicon River. Our first stop in the park was Now and Then Falls. The fall leaves were very colorful.

 

Several views of Lower Falls.

 

Snake Pit Falls.

Upper Falls.

Several other smaller waterfalls.

These are my favorite photography locations in Wisconsin. More photos can be found on my website.

 

Blue Hills

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area

 

Devil’s Lake State Park

 

Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area

 

Gile Flowage

 

Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area

 

Lost Creek Falls

 

Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area

 

Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area

Vilas County

 

 

 

When there is not a lot of wildlife to be found at Crex Meadow I like to photograph some of the interesting landscapes.

 

Just about every fall my wife and I travel to the U.P. of Michigan to seek out the beautiful fall colors. Here are some of my favorite locations. More fall photos from the U.P. can be found on my website.

Au Train Falls

Black River Harbor

Bonanza Falls

Bond Falls

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

Hiawatha National Forest

Laughing Whitefish Falls

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Seney National Wildlife Refuge

We spent several days driving and hiking in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in late spring. There are some fantastic views of the interior of the park from the Boicourt Overlook.

We stopped at Peaceful Valley Ranch to look around. This is also an access point for many hiking trails. Unfortunately access to the trails requires crossing the Little Missouri River. This year the water was a little high and we noticed only one car in the parking lot. As we were watching this lone female was returning from her hike.

A Panorama of the bend in the Little Missouri River.

 

There was a variety of wildlife in addition to the wild horses. This young Pronghorn was in a valley off of East River Road. We saw several males in another section of the park.

This is one of the better parks to observe to observe Prairie Dogs. The little ones were out in force.

We typically don’t see many Buffalo. The first one was on the trail to the Old East Entrance Station. The second one had an itch and we watched it for about 15 minutes as it rubbed against the hillside.

Lots of interesting rock formations around the park.

 

Early in the morning we drove out to the Cathedral Spires Trail on the Needles Highway. It is good to get to the parking lot early because space is limited.The trail is short but steep as it goes up a gully. The Cathedral Spires are spectacular. I wish that there had been some climbers in the area. It would have been fun to watch them climb.  It was a beautiful morning. When we reached the trails end we met another person from Wisconsin. Turns out he lives about 50 miles from us. It’s a small world.

 

Every year that we visit Custer State Park we try to hike to the top of Black Elk Peak at least once. Our hikes normally start at Sylvan Lake. The lake can be spectacular early in the morning. We opted for an early start because we were scheduled to get some bad weather later in the day.

The Trails to Black Elk Peak were in rough shape. The Black Hills had received a lot of rain this spring and just the week before had seen over 21 inches of snow in some spots. Everything seemed to be a bit behind in terms of the trees leafing out. There was a lot of mud on the trail and a lot of trails were badly eroded. The conditions are the worst I’ve seen in the last 30 years.

The sun was out at the start of the hike although we could see clouds in the northwest.

As we neared the spur trail to the summit it started to rain and we heard a loud clap of thunder. We immediately turned around but after backtracking for a short distance we determined that the electrical storm had missed us so we headed back toward the summit.

On the way back down we took the trail toward the Cathedral Spires. We could see that it was raining hard off in the distance.

We stopped for a bite to eat at the Cathedral Spires overlook and it was sunny out but by the time we made it back to Sylvan Lake it looked like rain. Shortly after leaving the parking lot it started raining hard.