16:9

16:9 is an aspect ration for more than television and computer monitors.  It is a nice and interesting departure from the likes of 4:3 and it has quickly become my go to crop ratio; both horizontal (landscape) and vertical (portrait) orientations.  I’ve grown a new appreciation for 1:1 & 12:6 (2:1) lately as well.  Here is a great article on The Are of Using Aspect Ratios in Digital Photography.

We were leaving Red Wing yesterday morning on our way to shoot swans and were presented with an opportunity.  It was exactly sunrise as we crossed the Cannon River.  When you have nice color and clouds, there is no questions – stop and shoot it; so we did.  Here are my shots composed entirely in 16:9 both vertical and horizontal.  What I like most about the 16:9 vertical, with a wide-angle lens, is the sense of depth you can convey.  12:6 would deeper yet.  I will have to play around with that as well.

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Assorted Photos – 2013: Week #10

Another interesting week in photography and weather.  It is a crazy time of year; this transitional weather certainly affords a certain level of variety.  Huge dump of snow early in the week, hoar frost and fog mid-week and now rain at the tail-end of the week.  The rain will turn to snow,  ice, or both here shortly because that’s just the way it works around here this time of year.

Kayaking Cannon River – Hwy 61 to Hwy 35

With a wonderful Friday afternoon out in front of us – Doug and I decided to explore the Cannon, down-river from the Hwy 61 bridge.

Several kingfisher were darting about the river banks and there was a bald eagle perched in a tree around every bend.  Well…it was the same one that we kept moving along as we came into sight.  For the most part the only sounds were song birds, insects, the waters current as it cleared an obstacle and the occasional oar paddling.  We only ran into a couple of people fishing and that was early in the stretch.  It was absolutely gorgeous weather.

 Lots of trees down along this stretch and in the water.  There are many just below the surface that sneak up on you.  The driftwood and trash rafts were plentiful here.  We stumbled upon the usual artifacts – sunglasses and flip flops, but to my surprise…we even found the kitchen sink.  Even with the amount of trees in the water this was a great paddle.  The trees gave you something to paddle around and play with.  FYI – it isn’t a good idea to do the limbo with tree branches in your kayak.  I didn’t roll, but I listed enough to take on a very refreshing bit of water that stayed with me for the rest of the ride.  Oh yeah…see those orange dots on the map towards the top – that channel isn’t connected and there are sandbars throughout that track.  That section is mostly knee-deep mud with 6″ – 1′ of water on top.  It looks like some downed trees cut off the current on the one end and filled it in.  Next time I will head out to the main Mississippi channel at that point.

Cannon River – Welch to Hwy 61

Well…this kayaking thing is pretty fun.  It does resemble backroadin’ a lot; which is likely part of the reason I enjoy it so much.  I can only guess that it is extremely hard to have a bad time as I have yet to have one.  Last Friday morning I headed out to Welch with my buddy Doug.  It was time to rub some dirt on his new kayak and scuff up the hull a bit.  After the initial acclimation instance (minor flip over situation and the subsequent chasing down of a dry box and paddle downriver) we made our way away from Welch Village and toward  the Hwy 61 bridge.

This is the quiet and relaxing stretch, devoid of tubers, but not of all their trash.  We came upon a shallow spot – a sandbar of sorts I guess, that was covered in aluminum beer and soda cans (last two photos).  It wasn’t just a few either – the Cannon River has trash all up and down it.  Some of it from tubers/canoe’s/kayaker’s and some just from flood water carrying things around I suppose.  At any rate it looks very unsightly.  It would be wonderful if someone would implement an adopt a river program similar to the adopt a highway one.  A little bit of effort would go a long way.  Perhaps the rental establishments in that area would provide the watercraft for volunteers to retrieve this debris…hmmm.  Welch Mill does have ample receptacles at the landing for you to dispose of your trash.  There just isn’t a receptacle for stupid on the river though.

Shortly after garbage sandbar we were treated to a Bald Eagle sitting on the river bank.  I was able to get very close; at the very last moment before it took off, I was about 12′ from it.  By “took off” I mean that it hopped away from the river bank.  It was hard to tell if it was hurt or too full/heavy to fly or what the deal was exactly.   It was a pretty close encounter.  You never know what you are going to stumble upon out there.

Cannon River Kayaking

We just returned home from a wonderful 5 hours of kayaking 10 or so miles of the Cannon River.  There were lots of tubes, canoes, and a few other kayaks on the water.  The really nice a peaceful stretch is down river from Welch village (the end point for the tubers).  The last five miles consisted of complete peace and quiet.  Several juvenile Bald Eagles were flying overhead.  The Goldfinches, Kingfishers and Killdeers were plentiful and fun to watch as well.

We started out at the Miesville Ravine County Park (one of the drop off site for Welch Mill Canoeing & Tubing) and ended at the bridge on Hwy 61.  There are a lot of dead tree in the water, but nothing that you can’t paddle around.  The water level was good too, although I would have to think some areas are shallower now than before with all of the bank erosion.  There was one spot down river from Hidden Valley Campground that was narrow with a huge tree in the water.  You can stop and walk around it easy enough; other than that is was smooth kayaking.  It was a great way to spend the better part of the day.  Here are a few shots from the trusty point-and-shoot…no DSLR on the kayaks…not ready to attempt that yet.