Thursday, October 31, 2013

In the Fog

It went from dark, gray, and wet to a beautiful fog yesterday. I spent the entire day wandering. A great way to end an incredible month! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bouncing Eyes

I find myself bouncing between the bright leaves at the bottom and the swirling water at the top. Back and forth I go, not sure where to stop. Finally I look around the image and notice the other leaves. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Out Front

I often wonder why certain plants are so different from their counterparts in the same habitat. It may be that they have been stressed due to their location or some other factor known only to them. I'll just enjoy another of life's mysteries and not ponder it for too long.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cottonwood Color

I walked along the Cottonwood River one morning last week and its namesake trees produced this brilliant reflection on the river.  With most color past peak it was good to see some color remaining.

Technical: 70-200 lens, strong contrast curve used in Lightroom

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I am frequently asked what I like to shoot and the stock answer is nature, stills if it holds still and video if it moves. However the real answer is I like to shoot relationships. This  is an example of how a photograph can have more than one meaning. Is this David and Goliath, parent/child, small/big, or green/yellow? Let your mind wander, what is it to you?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Kestrel in the Storm

This guy was waiting out the snow while still looking for lunch. I was impressed by its delicate nature and small size. The gray sky and the kestrel's subtle color made this a perfect shot to convert to black and white.

Technical: converted to b & w in Lightroom

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stretching in the Snow

I recently watched a great talk by Andy Biggs whose photography in black and white is phenomenal in its simplicity of design. His subjects are the iconic megafauna of Africa but done in a unique way. If I were to go to Africa I would signup with him. His work can be seen at: Andy Biggs Photography  There are other great photographers at: Talks at Google Photographers. A couple of my favorites are Art Wolfe whose personality clearly comes through and Moose Peterson who I gained new respect for after watching.

Technical: I didn't go all the way to B&W with this image, only removing the saturation from the tree. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Autumn Story

Most of us view autumn as the end of growth and the beginning of winter when plants hold there breath until spring. That's the main event but fungi are coming out of fallen logs and stumps, experiencing a growth spurt in the waning warm months of the year. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

First Snow

Fall was temporarily interrupted Sunday by the season's first snowfall. A perfect afternoon!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fading Color

I was a little late getting to Lion's Park in St. Croix Falls for peak color and had to look for isolated pockets of color. This leaf covered rock caught my attention yesterday afternoon. My eye starts at the bottom, jumps the log, and ends at the diagonal tree in the upper right. 

Technical: 1.3 second exposure, f 16, 14 mm on Canon 7D. Lightroom used for ND filter in upper right. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Exploring Potential

This cold, wet morning is a good time to edit and look for potential in this month's shots before hitting the delete key. This was taken near Hinckley when exploring the flood plan along the Kettle River. The backwaters had ducks, geese, and a family of trumpeters which were a surprise.

Technical: iPhone image, converted to B & W in Lightroom. Duckweed was unsharpened with brush tool and darkened using ND filter. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Road to History

Another state, another road but just as interesting. This is a closed road at Flandrau State Park leading to a group camp that formerly housed WWII POW's from Germany. How did they feel about being imprisoned in  southern Minnesota? Were they scheming to escape or happy to be out of battle? One can only imagine their life in captivity. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Autumn Creek

I changed the location of a trail camera yesterday and took the iPhone instead of carrying the heavy photo gear.  Fall color was too good to pass up so I took this shot looking upstream before placing the camera. 

Technical: Pro Camera app on iPhone. exposure set on trees, focus on rocks. Lightroom used to warm the white balance and 1 stop graduated filter used to bring brightness of the trees in closer to the foreground brightness

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Country Road

There is something special about a winding country road in the fall.  Is it the mystery of what is around the bend, either literally and metaphorically? Does it remind us of winter, of life, or something else?

Technical: 70-200 lens on a tripod in the rain, 1/5 second shutter speed, f 16.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Color Under Foot

The fall color can be overwhelming overhead and subtle underfoot. These fungi (I have no idea what they are) were on a log as we were headed to the car after a great day of photography. The question is, "Did you put the leaf on the mushroom?" My response is "Why would I put such an ugly leaf there?" If that sounds too much like a politician  the answer is no. However, I do frequently turn leaves or remove bright ones in the field. Enough confession for one day.

Technical: wide angle lens, standing to block the sun, cloudy WB

Monday, October 14, 2013

Palisade Head

I was at Palisade Head for sunrise last week hoping to get the warm light on the cliff face. The color was not as dramatic as expected but the rock texture in contrast to the lake caught my eye. 

Technical: captured using an iPhone. Conversion to B & W with a new app called ProCamera which, in my opinion, is the ultimate iPhone camera app. I have tried 5-6 different camera apps and each has had significant limitations. ProCamera clearly separates focus from exposure and has adjustable white balance. In addition in has image enhancements that are more realistic than most apps.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lady Slipper Lodge

Gooseberry Falls State Park is noted for its waterfalls but there is more to the park than what the typical visitor sees. This lodge was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps when the nation was struggling to get out of the Great Depression. Their stonework survives and is a treat to photograph, even for a dedicated nature photographer. Technical: focal length 12 mm, f 22, lens distortion corrected in Lightroom

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Minnesota Icon

Wolf Creek Falls in Banning State Park has been recorded by countless photographers and I'm sure a search of images in  Capture Minnesota would find some incredible images.  So, why photograph an icon? To me this is not a photograph of the waterfall but a story of a unique time and location.  Shooting this icon is like shooting a maple tree in autumn.  The challenge is shooting it how you see it, not as how you have seen it. Good shooting!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Leaves in Motion

 I spent a couple hours at this pool in Wolf Creek at Banning State Park trying to get a good composition and working the shutter speed to get a swirl I liked. Technical: 2 second shutter speed, tone curve adjusted in Lightroom.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

North Shore Color

I spent the morning looking for color along the North Shore with Gary Leeper (who is the author of an excellent North Shore guide book) and for the most part did not find any along Highway 61 to Tettegouche State Park. After sunrise at Palisades Point we headed back toward Two Harbors. Near there we climbed a short hill to find the best color of the morning which also highlights the green shoreline. Good color seems to be in pockets surrounded by brown or green.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Local Treasure

We explored the local county parks on Saturday and made it out to Mound Creek Park which is at the western edge of Brown County. We always seem to be there when the sky is overcast. Its unique feature is a 20 foot waterfall flowing over exposed red rock in the spring. Despite the recent heavy rains there was no water, a sign of the prolonged drought. 

Technical: This shot can be exposed in several ways. It would be a good HDR image to bring the sky in line with the foreground exposure.  A graduated neutral density filter would have been the choice with film.  Lately I have been exposing to get everything within  the histogram and using the graduated filter in Lightroom to show sky detail. Lots of different ways to achieve the same result.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Autumn Transition

Autumn photography is an exercise in composition using lines to break up color. The warm color is coming from light filtering through the yellow leaves. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

First Color

I finally broke free from office work and got out for my first fall color shooting yesterday. The overcast sky and light drizzle made the floor pop and diffuse light through the leaves was just right for the fallen leaves. Technical: 10 mm lens on Canon 7D, f22, ISO 640, cropped to HD format.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I have not had a chance to get out for several days. Teaching has made me aware of lines, even when having afternoon coffee. How does this relate to nature?  When photographing fall color, especially leaves in the trees, I like to consider the color the background and the tree trunks lines on the background.  Fall color is one of my hardest subjects to record because I'm overwhelmed by color and forget to create a good composition.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Good bye September

September was incredibly busy and early October will maintain that pace. This year I scheduled community education classes in the early fall and bunched them together since there have been cancellations in the past but not so this year. I am currently in a marathon of teaching 5 classes in 8 days.  All REI classes have been running to add to the mix.  I have an ambitious shot list for fall images after the classes are over, we'll see how it goes.