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Category Archives: Sumac

One of my favorite subjects on the farm is my Sumac Patch. This is the first time since last fall that I’ve photographed in the patch.


It snowed overnight so once we were done blowing snow we headed down to the Red Cedar State Trail for some Cross Country Skiing. It was a beautiful day but as usual this winter no one else was around. The trail had not been groomed after the overnight snowfall. There were a lot of deer tracks on the trail and we finally noticed a couple of them watching us ski.

The winter Sumac was beautiful against the blue sky.


The ice was is still in good winter condition. We were disappointed that there did not appear to be any eagles in the two nests across from the ice wall.

I’m normally traveling during the fall color season and typically don’t get a chance to photograph fall colors on the farm. This fall I was home for a few days so I took the opportunity to walk around. the sumac were really in full color.

I have a friend who spends a lot of time photographing a plum thicket. My equivalent is my Sumac patch. I photograph the Sumac patch year around. Last week I was out photographing after a snowfall.




As a follow-up to an earlier post I again went out into my Sumac patch and tried to create a different effect by moving the camera from the ground to the sky. The speed was about 4-6 seconds and the camera was hand held. The red in the photo is Sumac, the green pine trees and the light streaks resulted from the light shining off of the trunks of the pine trees.



The first of the fall colors are starting to show themselves. Around here it is the Sumac that turn first. They have been a bright red for about a week. Looking for something different to do I decided to put my variable neutral density filter on my lens and try taking some photos with the speed set to 4-6 seconds. Setting the camera to a slow speed I focused on a particular area then slowly rotated the camera to create the effect show. I was hand holding the camera.14-9-_1796



We’ve had a few nice days recently so I took the opportunity to hike a couple of sections of the Red Cedar State Trail. There were quite a few hikers and bikers taking advantage of the nice weather.Red-Cedar-State-Trail-14-9-_1875

The fall leaves are starting to turn along the trail. The Sumac is in full color right now.Sumac-Red-Cedar-State-Trail-14-9-_1836

I also saw a number of butterflies along the trail. This Eastern Comma posed for me.Eastern-Comma-14-9-_1839

I stopped to take a photo of a Bumble Bee on this Bottle Gentian flower. As I was getting ready to take the photo the flower seemed to eat the bee. As it turns out the Bumble Bee is one of the few insects that can pollinate the Bottle Gentian. It is strong enough to pry the flower open and get inside of the flower.Bottle-Gentian-14-9-_1819

I’m not sure what it is about Sumac but I seem to have a lot of photos of birds perched on Sumac. I know that bluebirds and robins love sumac but apparently lots of birds like to perch on it as well. It does make for a colorful perch for birds.

American Goldfinches

American Robin

Black-capped Chickadee

Bluebird and Cardinal

Eastern Bluebird

Blue Jay

Common Redpoll

Downy Woodpecker

Eastern PhoebeIndigo Bunting

Northern CardinalRed-breasted Nuthatch

Now that fall is officially over I can post my favorite fall photographs of 2011 and start looking forward to winter photography.

I chose this photograph of a Sumac patch because of the interesting patterns. Sumac are generally the first to show the reds of fall. It was taken on my farm after a rain that darkened the color on the Sumac bark.


This small waterfall was taken early in the fall at Big Falls County Park east of Eau Claire Wisconsin. We had started over to the park earlier in the day when it was cloudy out. By the time we arrived the sun was going in and out of the clouds making it difficult to shoot. I managed this shot shortly after the sun went behind a cloud.

Big Falls

On an early fall trip we drove up to Copper Harbor, Michigan. The quality of the leaves varied but this bog shot taken just south of Houghton, Michigan showed the start of some fantastic color.


I love taking fall reflection shots. This was my favorite reflection shot of the season taken at the mouth of the Black River outside Ironwood, Michigan. It was taken from the docks under the footbridge over the river.

Black River Reflections

This photo was taken from the top of the Copper Peak Ski Flying Hill outside Ironwood, Michigan. You can see for miles from the top of the ski jump. There was still a lot of fall color in spite of the heavy winds earlier in the week. You can see Lake Superior in the background.

Copper Peak View

My wife and I had driven out to Gile Flowage just outside Hurley, Wisconsin to capture the sunrise. It is a great place to photograph because you can shoot the sun rising and turn around and shoot the early light on the trees resplendent in fall color. We had actually finished shooting for the morning and were driving to a place where we could turn the car around when I decided to take a couple of more shots. This turned out to be the last shot and my favorite.

Gile Flowage Sunrise

My wife had a meeting at meeting at Turtleback Golf Course in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. I rode along and planned on spending the day out photographing fall colors. As I drove into the parking lot I noticed the beautiful colors and captured this shot.

Turtleback Golf Course

Later that same day I was driving around in the Blue Hills east of Rice Lake. Late in the afternoon I managed to capture these bright yellows.

Rusk County

I really like this backlit scene taken near Pete’s Lake south of Munising, Michigan. I darkened the tree trunks to create a contrast with the bright reds and pastels in the background.

Pete’s Lake

This photo of a leaf on leaf was taken at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. I was photographing late in the day at Miners Beach. I was attracted to the leaf and the water and rock patterns just below Elliot Falls.

Leaf on Leaf

This is a shot taken from the top of Laughing Whitefish Falls east of Munising, Michigan. I tiptoed between the river and the viewing stand to get to the top of the falls and look over the edge and took the shot with a wide angle lens.

Laughing Whitefish Falls

Pewits Nest is one of the Wisconsin State Natural Areas. It is located just outside Baraboo, Wisconsin. It is a popular photo location in the fall when the leaves are turning. Unfortunately most of the leaves were down when we arrived but it still makes for a spectacular photograph.

Pewits Nest

Crex Meadow was the location of three of my favorite photos. All of the photos were taken within a couple of hours of each other. The first photo was taken as sunrise on Phantom Lake. I had originally planned to drive directly out to the Sandhill Crane roosting grounds but the sunrise on this particular day was so spectacular that I couldn’t pass it up.

Sunrise Phantom Lake

After photographing the sunrise I drove on to the rousting grounds for the Sandhill Cranes. The sky was very dramatic and I caught this small flight of Sandhill Cranes heading out for their feeding grounds.

Sandhill Cranes Morning Flight

This last photo was taken a little while later. Most of the Sandhill cranes had already left for their feeding grounds but I found a small group of them standing in some thin ice early in the morning. Shortly after this was taken they headed out for the day.

Sandhill Cranes

When most of the fall colors are gone and there are just a few leaves remaining I concentrate on photographing single backlit leaves. You can get some dramatic photographs using this technique.

Backlit Leaf

This hot was taken late in the fall at Duluth, Minnesota. It shows the South Breakwater Outer Light during a spectacular sunrise. We had stayed at a motel in Canal Park specifically so I could photograph a sunrise. When It came time to get moving I was a little slow until I saw the bright red color in the window. I was outside photographing in less than 10 minutes.

South Breakwater Outer Light Slunrise

The first sign of fall every year is when the Sumac start to turn red. This past weekend I walked around the farm and took a few photos of the Sumac. I was actually a little late in getting it done because it is almost past its prime.




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