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Category Archives: Photography

I have a few Hairy Woodpeckers at my feeders.

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I thought when I removed a bunch of the landscaping around the house that the chickadees would stay away but that hasn’t been the case.

My most frequent woodpecker visitor this winter is the Downy Woodpecker. I can easily have 6-8 of them at a time at the feeders.

 

I’ve had an unusual number of Red-bellied Woodpeckers at the feeder this winter. Both the male and female have been showing up.

I happened to be looking out the window and noticed this 8 point buck standing out near the woods. I grabbed the camera was photographing him when I noticed he was looking at something. As I watch a doe came walking along. When the doe noticed the buck it took off running past him. The buck seemed totally uninterested but then it wandered into the woods and seemed to be following the doe.

 

 

I have four Blue Jays that seem to hang around the feeder every day.

 

One of my favorite times to photograph birds is during a snowstorm. I’m usually sitting in my rocking chair in front of a roaring fire. I have some large picture windows that provides a great view of my bird feeders from this location. Typically my Northern cardinals turn up early in the morning and late in the afternoon. When the snow starts the Northern Cardinals seem to congregate at the bird feeders. Yesterday we had 7 inches of light fluffy snow and I was able to spend quite a bit of time photographing birds. These are a few of the shots from the day. Better yet there is another storm on the way.

 

 

I’m finally at an end of my photos from our summer visit to Scandinavia. It only took 5 months to get through them. It was a great experience living in a country for a few months. It is something we would like to do again in the future.

One of the things we loved about Oslo was the great transportation system. I was clean, fast and frequent. With a pass we could ride any public transport. The one complaint we noticed was that some of the trams, buses and metro were not air conditioned. Norway was having one of its hottest summers on record and Norwegians are not used to hot weather.

The first photo is of a Ruter advertisement that was running as we ended our stay. I think it say something like “with the Ruter ticket in hand you can go anywhere”.

This is a photo of me standing at the Osteras station. As we neared the end of our stay in Oslo I realized that we had taken almost every metro train in Oslo. I then decided to try and ride every metro train. Osteras was the last station I had on my bucket list.

When we visited the Norwegian Petroleum Museum  in Stavanger I was impressed with a couple of things. First, that Norway is putting the North Sea oil revenue away for the future rather than spending it all at once. I was also impressed on how conflicted they are about their oil production and its impact of climate change.

It was nice to be able to take a hike within a short distance of a metro station. We were able to get out and enjoy nature and pick berries within a short walk form the station.

Oslo was celebrating LGBT month while we were there. I was impressed by the number of businesses and  churches that were decorated for the occasion.

This sign in the metro station reflects the changing nature of Norwegian society. Even in the smallest towns we saw people that were clearly from foreign lands. The suburb where our condo was located had residents from over 50 different countries.

It was very unusual to see police on the streets. It was so unusual that I usually took a photo of them.  We rarely saw police cars and the only time I recall seeing police walking the streets was during the gay pride parade and once a couple of them were riding bikes.

During our summer visit we frequently encountered children that were on field trips. In every case the ratio of adults to children was 4 to 1. Clearly child care is important and respected in Norway. We were amused when this child sat down by this young man who was apparently watching something on his phone. The child became very interested in the video.

We did not expect it to be hot and dry in Norway. The temperatures were in the 80’s most days. We arrived in mid June and there had been no rain since May. We only encountered rain twice. Once in the evening while visiting Stavanger and the day we left for the U.S.

This past weekend was the 24th running of the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race. It is a two day even with the first half of the race run on Saturday and the second half on Sunday. Attendance has become an almost annual event on our winter schedule. We meet friends at the race and then head out for a long lunch in Bayfield. This years race occurred after some bitterly cold weather and it appeared that everyone had gotten cabin fever. Saturday was the first warm day and the crowd at the race was much larger than recent years. The parking lot was almost full when we arrived a half hour before the start of the race.

We like to arrive early so we can wander around and look at the dog teams and equipment before the start of the race.

A Duluth TV crew was on hand to interview the racers. We were able to watch the interview on the evening news.

Shortly after we arrived the mushers started hooking up the dogs preparing for the start of the race.

No race can take place without a large number of volunteers. They are what makes the race go. Some of the larger dog teams take five or six volunteers to them to the starting line.

Some folks take the occasion to add a little color to the event.

While most folks were taking photos and videos with their phone there were a few serious photographers in the crowd.

At the start of the race I walked down the trail a ways to get away from the large crowd near the start line.

After photographing for a while disaster struck and the mirror locked up on my camera. I had to walk back to the car and get another camera so I took a few more photos from the parking lot.

There was a food truck near the start of the race.

There was a booth staffed by an Apostle Islands Ranger so I stopped by to ask about access to the ice caves. He indicated that the ice was good out on the lake but not so good around the ice caves. Maybe they will open and maybe they won’t.

 

I then walked over to the starting line and photographed from there for the remainder of the race. When a team comes up to the start line the musher hands off an anchor to one of the volunteers. The anchor is driven into the ground so the team can’t leave the start gate. As the start time nears the anchor is handed back to the musher so the team can leave.

While I was watching at the starting line my wife and our friends were about 50 yards down the course. Apparently there was a dog fight. The two lead dogs got into fight and headed into the crowd. One spectator was backed up against a tree. People immediately stepped in to separate the dogs but not before some blood was drawn. The musher ended up removing one of the dogs from the team. This is the first time we’ve seen anything like that at a race.

There was a bonfire going but since it wasn’t all that cold out it wasn’t as crowded as it has been during some races.

After all of the teams started the race we headed off to Bayfield for lunch. Generally after lunch we drive back and watch some of the teams finish the race but highway 13 wasn’t all that good so we drove over to Ashland and drove back on highway 2.

 

Blaafarveværket or the Blue Color Works was cobalt mining and industrial company operated from 1776 to 1898. Today is is a large open air museum and art gallery. It is noted as the largest and best preserved mine museum in Europe. We had been reading about it during our stay in Oslo and my wife had spent considerable time trying to figure out how to get to Blaafarveværket using public transportation. She never succeed. During a visit to her cousins summer cabin we mentioned that we had not figured out how to make the trip. It turns out that several of the relatives had never visited it either so they planned a trip and invited us along. Several days later we took a train to the nearest town and they picked us up in their car. Once we arrived we realized that this is a place that you probably want to drive to because the complex is scattered over a wide area.

When we arrived we dropped several cousins off at the picnic area and then continued on to the mine. There are a number of different mine tours. We did not take the most strenuous but the tour did give us a good overall picture of the mining operation. Tours were offered in English so we took the English tour. Our tour guide was an older gentlemen and he was funny and very good.

While we were waiting for the mine tour to start we walked through some of the buildings on the mine site. They were filled with tools that were used in the mining operation.

We dressed warm because it was going to be cool in the mine. It was a warm day so my wife was welcoming the cool are coming out of the mine entrance.

While they no longer mine cobalt they do use the mine to cure cheese.

After touring the mine we returned to main tourist area where we had a picnic before touring some of the buildings and gift shops.

We then walked up along the river where we encountered some beautiful views of the surrounding area and the waterfalls.

It was a beautiful day and we were happy that we allowed a full day for the trip.

While we were visiting the mine we noticed a ski jump across the valley. It turned out to be Vikersundbakken where the worlds longest ski jump took place. We took a slight detour on the way back to check out the jump.