MN North Shore – Autumn Journey – Day 2

Day 2 began exquisitely.  We made our way down to waters edge in Grand Marais for a sunrise shoot.  Nature cooperated nicely.  From there, we back-tracked a bit to Cascade River State Park for a beautiful morning hike up the river gorge among the picturesque cascades.  Next we got off the beaten path (Hwy 61) and made our way towards another destination (Hollow Rock Resort).  After checking in we were off on the Gunflint Trail  to drive a loop through the forest in search of Devilfish overlook.    We got closed, but missed a road and stumbled on a Red Fox – cute little bugger; then just continued on our way.  We decided to take another run at a sunset at Honey Moon Bluff that overlooks Hungry Jack Lake off the Gunflint Trail.  The second attempt yielded better results than the first.

Another full day on the MN North Shore.  Love this place.  There is a surprise around every corner.


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

This post has been moved to: 

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: 

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

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: 

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.

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 🙂

The Big Purge

It has been a long time coming now.  Backing up to the cloud takes time even with plenty of bandwidth.  My recent back up revelations have led to incessant purging of files.  It is a very long process.  2011, not a complete year (Aug – Dec), has been reduced to approximately 1000 shots retained; I am sure that could even be reduced further if I really had to.  I will leave some for a likely future last round of digital cleansing.  I guess when I first started to dig into photography I kept everything.  For the most part I am glad that I did.  When I look back it is very clear to me what worked and what didn’t.  I know a few more tricks in salvaging an image that was less than perfectly exposed, but that isn’t the ultimate goal.  Shoot and learn; shoot more and learn even more.

I am hoping with further review of subsequent years to see a style emerging; your style isn’t so readily apparent to you – at least it isn’t to me.  I have spent the last few years experimenting with many different things photographically.  It is interesting to look back at what you have shot. Remembering why you shot something is my biggest challenge (thankfully the memories are still fresh).  These are a few photos from 2011 that caught my eye while sifting through the nearly 4000 shots.

Assorted Photos – 2013: Week #15

A varied assortment of subjects from this week of photos.  Fire trucks, a fisherman, two-story schoolhouse and ice to name a few.  We are still being held hostage by Mother Nature and her fit of Winter.  Next weeks forecast includes snow as well – booo!