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Category Archives: Temperance River

Following our stop at Tettegouche State Park we moved on up the coast to the Temperance River. We walked the path to Lake Superior and took a few photos of the river as it passed under the foot bridge.


We noticed there were quite a few fishermen working the mouth of the Temperance River. Fishing must have not been that good because no one caught a fish while we were watching.


I’m a sucker for photographing foam patterns. There was quite a bit of foam in the river and lots of opportunities.

Continuing up the Minnesota North Shore we stopped at Temperance River State Park. We parked and walked down to the beach area taking a few photos on the way.



There was a lot of foam in the water so we spent quite a bit of time photographing the foam and the rocks on the beach.

Temperance-River-State-Park 16-5-_5452




After spending some time on the beach we decided to walk up river and check on the water running through the gorge.



We usually don’t stop at the Temperance River but we did this trip. I find the Temperance a very scary river given the narrow dark canyons and fast moving water.Temperance-River-14-5-_2745



Temperance River State Park

This past weekend we made our spring trip to the Minnesota North Shore. We like to make the trip in early June just before the motel rates go up and before everything is overrun with tourists. It sometimes makes it difficult to photograph without getting lots of people in the photo particularly if you are photographing within a short distance of the road. We were a little surprised at the number of folks at Temperance River.

Foam Temperance River State Park

I usually have a difficult time photographing at the Temperance River because it seems that every time I drive past it is a beautiful day with lots of sunshine. My preference is to photograph waterfalls on an overcast day without the high dynamic range of bright sunlight and canyon shadows. On this particular day we had limited time so I decided to take some freehand photos and leave the tripod and filters in the car.

Gathering of Canadian Tiger Swallowtails

One of the first things we saw was an unbelievable gathering to Canadian Swallowtail Butterflies. I had seen small gathering before but in this case there was easily over a hundred of them gathered along the shore. You could see them flying deep into the canyons just above the rushing water. Apparently these large groups sometimes called puddle clubs are mostly males drinking and replenishing their salt supplies which they lose during mating

Temperance River State Park

As I mentioned there were quite a few people along the trail and we seemed to walking along in a crowd so it was a little difficult to photograph without getting people in the photos, usually the same people.

Temperance River State Park

There was quite a bit of water flowing in the river. When we walked down to the mouth of the river there was someone fishing. He must have been a beginner because his line was always getting tangled up. We also encountered a kayaker who paddled up the river and landed.

More photos from The Temperance River State Park can be found on my website.

Last weekend I received word that the spring melt was underway along the streams flowing into Lake Superior. On Monday I headed for northern Wisconsin and the Minnesota North Shore.

Now and Then Falls

The first stop was Amnicon Falls State Park. I had been in the park two weeks earlier and found the river flowing but still a lot of ice in the river. The river was now open with only a small amount of ice to be found. The water levels were high but I have seen them a lot higher. I managed to find a new shooting location from a gully that leads down to the bottom of Snake Pit Falls. Water was also flowing over Now and Then Falls.

Middle Falls

I then drove into Minnesota with the first stop Gooseberry Falls State Park. The park had reported that the ice went out during the weekend. Two weeks ago the falls were almost solid ice. The sudden onset of warm weather had resulted in the rapid rise of the water. By Monday water levels were was already going down.

High Falls

It was a bright sunny day so I headed up to Grand Marais to get a place to stay for the night. I stopped only briefly before heading up to the Canadian border and Grand Portage State Park. I have photographed at High Falls late in the day with some success even when the sun is out so I had high hopes. As soon as I hit the trail from the visitors center I could hear the falls so I knew something special was going on. The trail in was icy in spots. When I reached the falls there was a lot of water coming over. In fact there was so much water it was creating its own weather system. It was impossible to shoot from two of the overlooks because there was so much spray in the air and it was blowing down the canyon directly into the camera. The first lookout also had spray but it wasn’t constant so I did manage to get some shots. When the water hit the base of the falls it exploded into the air reaching almost to the top of the falls. At one point there were three different rainbows below the falls.


After spending some time at the falls and getting more than a little wet I headed back to Grand Marais and a fine dining experience at SvenĀ & Ole’s. By the time I was done eating it was almost sunset so I walked out onto the harbor to take a few photographs. I thought it was going to be a really nice sunset because there were a lot of thick clouds earlier in the evening but they dissipated leaving only a few clouds in the west. I noticed a Seagull perched on of the harbor lights and tried to get a photo with the sunset in the background. By the time I was ready to take the photo the Seagull was gone but I did manage to get one of the light.

The Cascades

In the morning I had hoped to get some sunrise shots but at daylight it was raining out and there was no sunrise shots. After an early breakfast I headed back south. The first stop was Cascade River State Park. The trail was a little icy in spots but I hiked into the cascades. Even though the sun was now out it is possible to photograph up through the cascades early in the morning. There was quite a bit of water flowing but I have seen much higher water at the cascades. Some of the familiar logs that have been jammed in the canyon for several years were missing this year.

Temperance River

I then drove on to the Temperance River. Unfortunately I have a habit of driving past this river on bright sunny days. The river consists of some deep canyons that are very difficult to photograph when the sun is out. If you get there early in the morning it helps. Quite a bit of water was running and it made for dramatic views in the canyons. There was some ice on the trail so it was a little tricky getting around.

Split Rock Lighthouse

The next stop was at Split Rock Lighthouse to use the facilities and ask about hiking trails north of the Lighthouse. I was more than a little surprised to find the lighthouse visitors center closed. Apparently it doesn’t open until mid May. The gate was open so I wandered around the grounds and took a few shots of the Lighthouse and other buildings.


Lunch was at Betty’s Pies. This could get to be habit forming. After lunch I decided I had enough of trying to photograph waterfalls in bright sunlight so I drove down to Wisconsin Point. A couple of weeks ago the ice along the shore was so high that I could hardly see the lighthouse. Now there was still ice along the shore but not nearly as much. Most of it was covered with sand which apparently blew onto the ice from the beach. There were quite a few Seagulls around so I spend some time walking along the beach taking photos of them on the ice. At one point a large section of ice broke off surprising the Gulls.

That ended my day and I headed home. I did conclude that even though it was fun to see the waterfalls during the spring melt I would much prefer to photograph them when the water is lower. Low water means many more photographic opportunities.