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Category Archives: Photography

Day 2 of the CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race started in Eagle Harbor early in the morning. I personally like this start because it is a much smaller venue and it occurs during daylight hours. There were only 15 mushers schedule for this leg of the race. These consisted of the mushers who would be running the entire race.

More photos from the race can be found on my website.

We arrived about a half an hour before the start of the race and the mushers were unloading their equipment.

The volunteers and officials were getting organized outside the town hall.

As we walked around the mushers were getting ready and they were preparing the dogs for the race.

Some of the dogs were a little more excited to get started.

The fans were in the stands although I thought there were not as many fans and previous years.

The trail crew was ready to head out onto the race course.

When the race started I was photographing just in front of the starting gate.

No sled dog race would be possible without volunteers to help get the dog team to the starting line.

Most of the dogs were calm before the start of the race.

I walked down the race course a little ways to photograph the dog teams as they headed out onto the course.

After photographing a few team I walked around to get a few photos of the volunteers helping the teams to the starting line.

The teams leave the starting gate in reverse order so the leaders are the last to start the race. These two mushers were leading the race after the first leg.

There were a few teams that did not run. As we walked back to the car we watched the dogs being fed.

 

 

The weekend of the CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race is usually the weekend that my wife and I make the last ski trip of the season. We usually drive up to Ironwood, Michigan and ski at ABR in the afternoon then drive over to Bond Fall to photograph the waterfall and then head over to Calumet, Michigan. If we have time we ski in the afternoon before heading over to the race in the evening. We try to get to the race venue early so we can walk around and take in the pre-race activities. As you can see by the first shot we were early. We noticed that the starting line had been moved down the street about fifty yards.

More photos from the race can be found on my website.

While the adults were bundled up and trying to keep warm the kids were enjoying the snow.

We walked around watching the mushers get their teams and equipment ready for the race. The mushers usually feed their dogs late in the afternoon and then put them back in their stalls until they are ready to hook them to the sleds.

As race time neared we walked over to the area where we wanted to be to watch the teams start. On the way I noticed the display of dogs in the shop window.

We typically stand across from the announcers booth where the teams will typically be when they leave the starting line.

While we were waiting for the start of the race various groups were getting their photos taken in the starting area. The large group was the volunteer veterinarians for the race.

The color guard was getting ready for the national Anthem for each country represented. This year they they played the U.S., Canada and South African Anthems.

Before the race starts the trail crews and the police head out onto the trail to make sure the mushers have a clear trail.

The official photographer taking photos of the first team out.

The first musher to leave the starting line.

Typically when a team arrives at the starting line the musher walks to to the lead dogs and then walks back to the sled giving encouragement to each of the dogs.

Some of the dogs are a little more excited that others.

Each sled carries an anchor. When the team is at the starting line the anchor is use to anchor the sled so the team can’t take off. As the musher gets ready to leave they are handed the anchor. This musher is putting the anchor onto the sled.

The kids had a front row seat. The adults were freezing and the kids were sitting in the snow.

After watching from the starting line we walked back toward the staging area and watched the volunteers bring the teams to the starting line. Having moved the starting line about fifty yards down the course made it easier to get the teams to the starting line and allowed several teams to be in line at the same time.

After the teams were on the course there were some fireworks which we were able to watch from our hotel while enjoying some hot apple cider.

A hotel in Atlanta recently purchased one of my photos taken at the Apostle Islands during a visit to the ice caves. They plan to use it in all 200 of their rooms.

On the way back from a ski trip we stopped in Hayward, Wisconsin to watch the American Birkebeiner cross county ski race. We were up early and parked in a remote lot and took a bus right down to the finish line. We found a place in front of the post office to watch the finish. There were not a lot of people around when we first arrived.

More photos from the American Birkebeiner can be found on my website.

It wasn’t long before the forerunners came skiing past.

We crowd watched until the snowmobile came by with the camera crew.

Just after the snowmobile with the camera crew came by the first racers quickly followed.

After watching some of the racers finished we walked over behind the finish line to see what was going on. A number of racers collapsed as they crossed the Finnish line.

There was a stand for the media covering the event.

There were a lot of metals to hand out. About 10,000 skiers participate in the various American Birkebeiner races.

At the finish the racers were able to replenish their electrolytes.

We then walked down main street to watch the racers come across the bridge over the main highway in town. The bridge offered a brief chance for the racers to catch their breath before the sprint to the finish line.

 

 

Last weekend we drove down to Clear Lake Iowa to see my brother and take in the Color the Wind Kite Festival. This was the second kite festival we have attended on two weeks after never having been to one before.

This was, by far, the largest kite festival we have attended. It was difficult to find a place to park in town. Fortunately we found a place that was only three blocks from the lakefront where the festival was taking place. The drive along the shore was packed with cars the entire time we were there. It looked like a lot of people wanted to drive by but not get out of their cars. Too bad it was a beautiful sunny day and relatively warm. As you can see there were a lot people out on the ice and a lot of kites.

There were a wide variety of kites.

There were lots of opportunities for the kids to play with some of the kites. Several of them were tethered to the ground and the kids could play in amongst them.

There were also some stunt kites. It was amazing watching them fly in formations and make acrobatic moves. When they were finished the all landed on the ice at the same time.

The younger kids had some places to play as well. It looks like the child in the first photo is making a fish mouth.

Of course there was always the opportunity to spend some time on the ice. In the case of the small child it wasn’t necessarily a choice.

 

Train travel is great. We traveled around the Tokyo area by train every day. It was great because trains or subway stations are located throughout the Tokyo area. They are on time and if you miss a train there is usually another one in a few minutes. The exceptions would be if you take a train to an outlying area where the trains might not run as frequently. You should know that trains stop running at midnight so you need to plan accordingly. Trains are very clean and quiet, There is no eating allowed or talking on cell phones. In fact it is rare to hear people talking on the train. Trains can be very crowded during rush hour so we planned our day accordingly. If you travel with a backpack it is suggested that you store the backpack on an overhead rack or wear it in front. Getting to and from the tracks on escalators has its own rules. You stand on the left and leave the right open for those who want to walk up the escalator.

Tokyo is clean. It is the cleanest city I’ve ever seen. With few exceptions we did not see litter on the streets in spite of the huge number of people. There are almost no public garbage cans or recycling cans to be found. This means that if you purchase something to eat or drink you are required to carry any litter back to your hotel. This is a good reason to carry a backpack and have a plastic bag handy.

Tokyo has recently enacted new smoking regulations that prohibit smoking on public streets. This is a big change since our last visit where we encountered a lot of smoking. The city has erected smoking stations throughout the city. We saw a number of them where there were long lines of men waiting to get in so they could smoke. Even parks and fairs have smoking stations

Japan knows how to do bathrooms up right. They have plenty of public bathrooms and they are free. For the most part they are very modern. They are usually a room rather than a stall. Unlike bathrooms in the US they are very clean. The toilets are usually Toto which means they have a bidet included. They have wipes and hand sanitizers available. Most have music or sounds of running water that you can turn on. We did encounter the traditional Japanese squat toilets in some of the parks.

We saw almost no graffiti in Japan.

We saw very few homeless people and even those we thought might be homeless might not have been. There were no panhandlers at all. It is nothing like what we find in large cities in the states.

Don’t tip in Tokyo it is considered rude. The price you pay for a taxi, or a meal is set and that’s what should be paid.

English is not spoken by most Japanese. It is interesting that they have one of the best programs in the world for teaching English in the schools but it seems to be lost once a person is out of school.

Tokyo seems to be very safe. We walked around at night with no problems. We did see police stations as we walked around but we saw very few police walking around.

This was our last day in Tokyo. We had a late afternoon flight and had to check out of our hotel by 10am. We decided to get moving early, pack up and take our packs over to Justin’s apartment and store them until we had to leave for the airport. We decided to go over to Shibuya. My wife wanted to find a UNIQLO and do some shopping.

I took a photo of these recycling bins in the train station because it was so unusual to find either trash or recycling bins in Tokyo.

We had problems finding the UNIQLO store in Shibuya. That was unusually because we had seen them all over the place. After walking around for about a half an hour we asked a policeman for directions and soon found the store. Unfortunately my didn’t find anything she wanted.

She was also looking for some little plastic cats with a solar panel embedded in them. The cats then waved when the sun was shining. We looked in this odds and ends store but couldn’t find them. One thing I don’t miss about Tokyo is the constant noise. Many of the stores have hawkers outside the store with bullhorns trying to entice people in. The noise is constant. Unfortunately we couldn’t find what we were looking for.

we then headed back to Shibuya Station and walked around Shibuya for a while. We took a few photos of the famous Shibuya Crossing and a photo of me at Hachiko’s Statue. This was the first time we were at the Statue that there were not long lines to get photos taken. Hachiko was famous because he always came to the station to meet his owner at the end of the day. One day his owner died at work but Hachiko came to meet him. It is a touching story because Hachiko continued to come to meet his owner for the next 10 until his death.

 

We then headed over to Shinjuku to look around. We wanted to get a bite to eat but got lost and Google Maps wasn’t working all that well. We finally found a place to eat and a route back to the station.

We then headed back to to Ookayama to pick up our packs and make our way out to the airport. On the trip back we encountered these school  kids running wild in the station. This was very unusual and the first time we had seen something like this. The only other misbehaved kids we saw on our visit were Americans.

Ookayama station was almost deserted when we caught the train for the airport.

 

It was Sunday and we took the train to Harajuku Station where we were going to meet Justin and then head over to the Dog Park in Yoyogi Park. Just as we arrived a large group was headed for Yoyogi Park.

While we were waiting we hung out at the Meiji Jingu First Torii gate Meiji Shrine complex. Linda was practicing some kind of fist move that activated a time delayed selfie. Justin had taught her how to do it the day before and she was having problems doing it.

Meanwhile I was busy taking candid photos of people entering the Meiji Shrine complex. Quite a few people were dressed up in tradition Japanese costumes.

I think there was a race taking place in the park and that was the large group that entered Yoyogi Park ahead of us. There were also groups of people exercising.

It was a beautiful fall day and there were growing numbers of people out enjoying the weather.

It was mid November and the roses were still blooming.

Justin and Carla had considered acquiring a dog but came to their senses before they pulled the trigger. Still they like to stop at the dog park and watch the dogs.

Many of the dogs were dressed up for the occasions. The miniature greyhounds seemed to be terrified in the park.

More people exercising and working on their martial arts.

Just such a beautiful fall day.

After visiting Yoyogi Park we found a place to get a bite to eat. Justin then took us on a walking tour of one of the worlds best shopping streets. It was amazing all of the high end retailers. Many of them had doormen wearing white gloves. Justin seemed to know where he was going so Linda asked him if he had ever been shopping here. He responded he shopped here all the time. Then pointed to a shoe store and said all of the clerks in that store wear English butler uniforms. This was clearly a step up from the typical mall shopping we do in the states and a far cry from Fleet Farm.

We then went over to Meiji Jingu Gaien. We wanted to see the Ginkgo trees in fall color. On the way we passed a Domino’ Pizza and noticed their delivery vehicles.

As we entered Meiji Jingu Gaien we noticed this couple feeding their large dog.

Unfortunately the Ginkgo trees had not turned yet but it was still a nice area to visit.

we hopped on a train and headed over to Hibiya Park where the Japanese Fisherman’s Festival was taking place. It was late in the day and the event was coming to an end. The last of the speeches were wrapping up as we walked by the main event stage.

The park itself was a typically beautiful Japanese garden. As with most of the parks we visited someone was working on the trees.

By the time we were ready to leave the park it was late in the day and the light really highlighted the fall color on the trees.

We were leaving the next day and we needed a plug for our headphones. We discovered the international flight to Japan required the two prong connector. We walked over to a Bic Camera store. We were leaving the next day and thought we had better pick them up while we had the chance. It was packed and there were seven floors of things to look at. It took us a while to find what we were looking for. It always helps if you have a picture on your phone of what you want.

We then headed to a smokehouse where we were going to meet Justin’s girlfriend Carla and her mother. They were excited because they were going to have an audience with the the Pope next week. In fact, the entire family was flying into Tokyo for the audience.

After dinner and another long day we headed back to our hotel.

 

We had been wanting to go to Yokohama so on a Saturday so our son was able to join us for the trip. This was taken outside the train station with Cosmoworld in the background.

We walked over to Cosmoworld  and then continued on to World Porters  where they were already getting ready for Christmas.

We then headed over to Shinko Central Plaza where we saw these artificial flowers planted for the winter season.

When we arrived at the Red Brick Warehouse area we found there was some type of event taking places. They had booths set up and an entertainment stage with various acts performing.

Looking back toward town there was a nice view of the downtown area.

We stopped in the Red Brick Warehouse for lunch.

After lunch we walked over to Akarenga Park where there was a race taking place. There were a lot of people in the race and many more hanging out in the park. The park has an interesting piece of work called Seagull harp

We walked around the Red Brick Warehouse area for a bit. I’m not sure what was going on in the second photo. I did a double take when it looked like he was carrying a girl.

We continued our wanderings over to Osanbashi Pier and ferry terminal that handles large cruise ships. The boardwalk was a bit unusual because it was not just flat. There was a large cruise ship at the pier.

The views Yokohama Bay from the end of the pier were spectacular. The first photo shows the Yokohama Bay Bridge and the second downtown Yokohama.

This Duck Tour Boat looked like was listing and about to sink. I wonder if they weigh passengers to insure that the weight on each side of the bus is equal?

I watched this group for a while. It looked like they were filming some kind of an act. They would practice for a while them film it.

We returned to the Red Brick Warehouse plaza where young people were performing in a stage area.

This little fellow was dancing to the music.

These folks were at an age when you wold expect to find children in the stroller but they had their dogs in the stroller. The birthrate in Japan is way down. Apparently dogs are easier than children to care for.

It was getting late in the day so we walked back to World Porters to grab a bite to eat.

We found an American Blue Seal ice cream store that met our needs.

After a bite to eat we walked over to Cosmoworld to checkout the rides.

We continued on to Nippon Maru Memorial Park to check out the tall ship Nippon Maru.

We then decided that we would go back to Cosmoworld and ride the Ferris wheel so we could watch the sunset from up on the Ferris wheel. There was a spectacular view of Mount Fuji looking through the tall buildings. The other view of the area where we spend the day walking around were outstanding.

We had been watching the roller coaster as it seemingly splashed into the water. We spent quite a bit of time trying to time it so we would get a photo of it just as it seemed to hit the pond.

It was now dark out but we had one more stop for the day. We wanted to see Japans larges Chinatown. we walked through Shinko Central Plaza where the artificial flowers we had seen earlier were not lit. They continuously changed colors.

The city lights were beautiful as we walked over to Chinatown.

We wandered the streets of Chinatown until we were satisfied we had seen it. I think our son was getting tired. Young people just don’t have the stamina.

I think these folks were doing palm readings. There seemed to be quite a few shops where this was taking place.

After a long day we headed back to Tokyo and a bite to eat before returning to our hotel.

 

After watching the balloon launch in Hudson, Wisconsin we drove over to the Kites on Ice Festival in Buffalo, Minnesota. We have never been to a kite festival so we didn’t know what to expect. There were a few kites that didn’t get off of the ground but folks had a great time getting their picture taken with them. It turned into a beautiful day for flying kites and for the spectators.

More photos from the kite festival can be found on my website.

Some of the kites were a little scary.

By the end of the day there were many kite lines out with multiple kites attached to each one.

Some of the kite flyers had all kinds of kites with them. In order to anchor the larger kites they would drill a hole in the ice, tie the kite to a 2X4 and put the 2X4 into the hole.

There were other activities in addition to the kites. The most popular were the dog sled rides. The line was long but everyone seemed to be having a god time.

For some reason folks like sitting on the ice. It was a little too cold for me.