A Bluff With A View

I continue to feel fortunate for living in such a beautiful area of the country.  Without bluffs all would be flat – or at best a bit hilly.  I haven’t spent very much time in this spot atop Sorin’s Bluff @ Memorial Park this year.  It is a lovely place to take in a sunset or watch a storm roll on by.  It is a favorite location so shoot panoramas.


Red Wing’s lime industry started at the base of Barns Bluff where, in 1853 Phineas Fish operated a makeshift kiln. He gathered limestone debris from the bluff and reduced it to lime. More distant Sorin’s Bluff didn’t get into the lime picture for another 25 years. Then it challenged Barn Bluff for supremacy in Minnesota’s lime center.

Quarrying ended around 1910, and activity on Sorin’s quieted until Red Wing civic leaders of the Womens Community Association and Soldiers Memorial Association combined forces and started work on Memorial Park, a scenic Sorin’s Bluff retreat dedicated to soldiers of all wars.

They first raised money to buy 93 acres, then improved the quarry road to the summit. A parkway around the bluff top completed the first phase of the project. Veterans of the First World War made improvements to the park by clearing brush and planting trees. Red Wing dedicated Memorial Park in the fall of 1929, and over the years the city secured more land for the reserve.

– http://www.red-wing.org/memorialpark.html


MN North Shore – Autumn Journey – Day 3

Day 3 was the day – the morning actually – the sunrise shoot we had hoped for back in July when we planned this trip.  I love it when a plan comes together!  Hollow Rock was right outside our cabin; a mere 100 yards or so to the shooting location on the rocky beach.  That morning was absolutely gorgeous.  Everything came together nicely.  The clouds, color and sun all working in perfect harmony.

After an epic sunrise experience we set out to explore forest roads between the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage.  The color around Grand Portage [although past prime] was better than Grand Marais.  I’ve never seen so many Ruffed Grouse in my life.  I seen as many birds on this trip as I had all the years I used to upland hunt.  We were also searching for the third waterfall, Partridge Falls, on the Pigeon River and eventually found it.  We were unable to find a decent falls vantage point down river for a good photograph, but enjoyed the location just the same.  It is quite peaceful out in the middle of nowhere.  Natures beauty really consumes and carries you around from one location to the next.  At one point our travels were impeded by the handiwork some busy beavers.

One bit of advice whilst out and about in strange lands and big wilderness – study a map or two before you set out.  GPS, on more than one occasion, failed to provide adequate direction.  A little bit of mystery is fine, but having a general idea of where you will be traveling – starting and ending up – is paramount to a good trip.  “Ready to Navigate” displayed on the GPS, although humorous, is not helpful at all.  As you can see from the Lightroom Map below from GPS data, we covered some ground over three days.  It was a fabulous trip and experience with my betrothed.


Here are some photos from Day 3.

Grand Portage State Park – Pigeon Falls – Grand Portage, MN

This post has been moved to:  dantraun.com 

Grand Portage State Park – Gunflint Trail | MN North Shore

Fall 2013 North Shore series
[Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail] [Sunrise @ Grand Marais] [Sunrise @ Hollow Rock] [North Shore Abstracts] [Grand Portage State Park]
[The In-Between, Day 1] [The In-Between, Day 2] [The In-Between, Day 3]



Hollow Rock – The Location: Resort & Sunrise

This post has been moved to:  dantraun.com 

Sunrise @ Hollow Rock | MN North Shore

Fall 2013 North Shore series
[Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail] [Sunrise @ Grand Marais] [Sunrise @ Hollow Rock] [North Shore Abstracts] [Grand Portage State Park]
[The In-Between, Day 1] [The In-Between, Day 2] [The In-Between, Day 3]


Sunrise @ Grand Marais, MN

This post has been moved to dantraun.com

Sunrise @ Grand Marais | MN North Shore

Fall 2013 North Shore series
[Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail] [Sunrise @ Grand Marais] [Sunrise @ Hollow Rock] [North Shore Abstracts] [Grand Portage State Park]
[The In-Between, Day 1] [The In-Between, Day 2] [The In-Between, Day 3]

Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail – Grand Marais, MN

This post has been moved to:  dantraun.com 

Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail | MN North Shore

Fall 2013 North Shore series
[Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail] [Sunrise @ Grand Marais] [Sunrise @ Hollow Rock] [North Shore Abstracts] [Grand Portage State Park]
[The In-Between, Day 1] [The In-Between, Day 2] [The In-Between, Day 3]


Dreary Autumn Day- Part Duex

Hopeful for a clearing in the weather, Cyn and I set out to scout the West Bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  Sunday was no better than Saturday weather-wise.  To make things more fun, the Twin Cities Marathon was right in our tracks, but only part of the way.  We started on the East side of the river in St. Paul and eventually were able to make our way to the Mill Ruins area; home of the stone arch bridge and the Premium Grain Belt bottle cap sign.  At this point the annoying sprinkle had turned into a pretty steady rain.  We spend the rest of the day scouting in the car and sneaking shots in between rain showers.  The Fall color was plentiful all up and down the river.

I can’t wait to get back to some of these locations for a night shoot in a couple of weeks.

Dreary Autumn Day

A dreary Autumn weekend I should say.  It can’t always be rainbows and butterflies and/or sunshine and puppies.  You make do I guess.  All you have to do is think about how you could be at work and suddenly a little sprinkle isn’t such a big deal.  I don’t dislike my work, but I’d rather be doing other fun things.  I am lucky in that I enjoy my job and the people I work closest with.  It is still work; If it wasn’t work, they’d call it ‘Super wonderful crazy fun time,’ or ‘Skippedy-do!'” – Red Foreman 🙂

I can roll with just about any condition – raging downpours excluded and that is only due to gear limitation.  Rain, fog, snow, sunshine – they all other something different.  This last Saturday afternoon was mostly cloudy and misty.  We were on a mission to buy some homemade chicken pot pies and apple dumplings from Apple Ridge Orchard near El Paso, WI.  There was one issue.  We knew where to get them, but we didn’t know we needed to pre-order; that isn’t always the case, but there were no extras to go around this day.  Their homemade chicken pot pies and apple dumplings are highly coveted and sought after by many.  After we return from the North Shore we will be all about placing an order.  I cannot recall the last time I had an apple dumpling.  We left with some bread & butter pickles, Honey Crisp apple and a caramel apple for each of us – an acceptable compromise for now.

Finding ourselves just outside of El Paso, WI; very close to the blue ribbon wonder we call the Rush River, I could not resist an impromptu drive about.  Some of the most picturesque countryside in Pierce County, WI are in and around the valleys that contain spring-fed stream that are teeming with tasty trout.  I do very much miss fly fishing.  A lot.  It is the one hobby that I still have all my gear for as I ditched all other for photography a few years ago when I started to have issues with my one knee.  Maybe next season I’ll cast a fly or two.  We’ll have to see.

We were in very close proximity to another cold-water gem in the are, Lost Creek.  I very much enjoy the scenery that surrounds it.  You will find a beautiful stretch of road East of Ellsworth, WI on 63; then 72; then South on 450th which turns into 456th and then 400th right around where it meet Rush River.  Also here you will find a super-fantastic wine drinking/eating experience – Vino in the Valley.

The MN DNR has the area just across the river from where we at 10-25%.  That is pretty accurate.  The next week or two will bring prime fall color touring in the area.

Here are some shots from our little excursion.


Another image from that same day in October 2011, but later in the evening before sunset.  The same railroad lift bridge at a very different angle.  This photo was taken from the extreme Eastern edge (downstream) of the Raspberry Island; down past the Schubert Club Bandshell.  Most of the time [except in high-water] there is a sand beach there.  Part of my tripod was in the water on this shot to achieve the low angle.  This appears to be around the time that I learned about foreground components in a landscape.

//original 2011 post//

Original 2011 rendition

Here is the rework of the file.  16×9 aspect ratio crop and a bit of post processing work in LR5.


Creating a Backyard Oasis

Backyard view from deck
Backyard view from deck

Cyndie and I are on our second season of creation and construction of the backyard oasis.  This project has been extensive – lots of dirt and rock moved; all by hand.  No single master plan existed when we started.  There were many small plans that have come together on paper, in our minds and dreams.  Much work was completed last year and even more continues this year.  It is a labor of love creating a peaceful backyard oasis where you can relax over your lunch break, kick back after a long day at work or spend the better park of a Saturday lounging around listening to the stream, smelling the blooms and watching the wildlife.

As I post this and am looking at the pano-view above I see so many changes that happened yesterday immediately following the picture.  It is amazing what can be accomplished in a single day.  You cannot fully appreciate all that has transpired without seeing the before (coming soon), but I’ll take you around the space with a quick photo-tour.

Leaving the backdoor into the yard from the deck [completed last year]:


Up the path towards the pond patio [completed last year]:


The pond, stream and four waterfalls [completed last year]:


Right side flower garden [completed last year]:


Wiener Run (stairway to Wiener Trail) [completed last year]:


Wiener Trail [completed last year]:


Upper vegetable garden (carrots, spinach, dill, beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, dumpling squash, strawberries and blueberries  [new this year]:


Hammock patio [new this year]:


View from Hammock patio [main patio and pergola completed last year]:


Left side flower garden [partially completed last year] and “the pit” (foreground).  The pit has functioned as our plant staging place, bin and potting container collection site and home of “chippy” which Audrey is hunting currently.  Still formulating a plan in my mind for the pit area:


Backyard entrance – flower pallet  [new this year]:


Lower vegetable garden [completed last year]:


Side herb garden [new this year]:


*All rock for walls were picked by hand and hauled by car and set to rest manually in the yard.  Good times 🙂