“we often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work” ― thomas a. edison

driving north to the lake superior area to make images is work for people like myself who live in the twin cities area. i don't have the kind of income that allows me to stay overnight. "bedding down for the night" in a ford focus is not an option for someone of my size (safe to say, most likely, any size).


when i leave, it is almost always soon after getting off work around 5:30 pm or so. keep in mind i've already been up since 6:30 that morning. i'm of the mindset if i'm going to go that far, i'm going to make the most of my time up there. i generally find myself getting home late the next morning or early afternoon. in between, i'm all about exploration, composing images and, often, standing or sitting still in the great outdoors to just take it all in. i miss a lot because of my hearing but i try to make up for it by letting my eyes adapt to the surroundings in the black night. it's a different world at night and it showcases as much beauty as the daytime for those willing to put in the work. sleep is for those that are missing out right here, right now. of course, many would debate that they are missing nothing by not being out and about in the ungodly hours of the wee morning...


i pulled into my first stop a bit shy of 11:30 pm next to a lake. there, i spent a little over an hour trying some light painting along with making long exposure images. the stars were brilliant and reflecting on the glassy lake. i wish i had something to share from that but i don't. sometimes what looks good on the back of a small camera screen (even when zoomed in) does not look good on the computer. oh, i had some decent ones but i knew i could do better. however, it was far from a failed photo shoot. it was an opportunity that was "dressed in overalls and looks like work". i gained some additional practice with my light painting skills. i gained some new potential compositions through trial and error that i will be trying to implement next time i'm there at night. i experienced an incredibly cool water encounter while wading out in the waters to do some light painting. it was a bit unnerving but also thrilling to see. no, it wasn't a bear or something like that. that wouldn't just be unnerving; that would be scary. what was it? well, you'll just have to wait until i go back there some night. hopefully it'll still be there. i was so entranced by it i forgot to make an image or video of it. think of it as a surprise to share at some point if i can capture it.


there were two other things that happened there that also unnerved me a bit. the first was while i was setting up my image along the shoreline. i was wearing chest waders as i was also out in the water walking around. as i squatted down to look into the eyepiece viewfinder, i felt something moving in my waders and make a noise! i did a quick freakout dance and then settled down when i didn't feel it any more. a few minutes later, i squatted down to peer through the viewfinder again and felt something move in my waders and make a noise! i did another dance, peered down into the blackness of my waders (why i didn't shine a light down there i couldn't tell you) and..........saw nothing. fortunately there was no alien creature jumping up out of my waders! then i started thinking when i was feeling that motion. i was squatting down. i realized what was happening when i squatted again. air was expelling up and out the waders. kind of like a, you know.....ahem......a fart. it appeared that air was getting into my waders and it has to go somewhere when it is moved. i was getting freaked out by air moving up my waders (rumbling was more like it as i would feel a rolling movement) and as it exited, it made a low rubbery squeaky sound. whew! i had escaped that scenario with nothing more than a red face.


the second thing happened as i was putting my gear back in my car. i opened the trunk and immediately heard a loud buzzing sort of noise! i don't normally hear noises of animals because of my hearing loss so I was startled. i wasn't sure what kind of animal i was hearing but the noise was gone almost as soon as it started. about 30 seconds later, i heard the buzzing again and got a bit nervous. i was looking around with. my headlamp trying to discern where it was coming from. as a hearing impaired person, i cannot figure out the direction a sound is coming from if i hear something. so I'm looking around. seeing nothing, i turned back to my trunk and saw the culprit! it was...a cicada bug (cue a deflating noise here). that was the second time i was embarrassed at myself. i just chuckled, got in the car and moved on.


my next stop was in grand marais. i pulled into the parking lot where the lighthouse and artists' point were located. there, i walked toward the lighthouse side of the point under the stars and the glow of my red headlamp. i was hoping for a milky way shot. the galactic core was relatively low over the water. unfortunately, clouds had moved into that direction and i only saw the milky way for a brief moment before it disappeared behind the cloud cover. i then did some exploring for a composition on the rocks looking back toward artists' point. during the day, the rugged, rocky shoreline is a jaw-dropping scene sculptured over the millennia, forged by the mighty pounding of lake superior's hammer. under the sky full of stars in that direction and the glow of my red headlamp so as to keep my eyes adjusted to the night, it takes on a rather alien looking landscape. water-filled "pockets" in the rocks and small "gorges" can take on a shimmer in the night from the ambient light of the stars as your eyes adjust to the darkness. it seems to glisten even more when the moon comes out and "looks down" upon this terrestrial ball we live on.


(click on image to see it bigger)


this image was made looking back at artists point. i had stepped down into this small "gorge" to check out a composition. i liked the way the water seems to lead the eye through the image. on the left at the top of the rock, one can take in the lonely pair of scraggly pines. it's amazing how life sprouts and grows right out of rock. as the eye continues, you come to artists point on the right being lit up by ambient light situated back by the original lighthouse keeper's residence. you barely see the light, if at all, by eye but a long exposure brings it out. i'm not a huge fan of this kind of light pollution but i think it works well here. i just love the stars being reflected in the water as you move through the scene. at the time of this image, astronomical twilight had started a few minutes earlier which signaled the end of nighttime.


i took off from grand marais to head up toward hovland and meet up with gary arands. we were going to try to make images during blue hour, golden hour and into the sunrise. i shared a teaser a few days ago as to what i would be sharing. i mentioned that it was one of the more spectacular sunrises i've seen in recent years. i should have said golden hour as the image was made before the sun crested the horizon. a niggly fact but still something that needed to be set straight by my standards. gary and i made the quick drive down to horseshoe bay and took the trail going left to the shoreline. we parked, got out, grabbed our gear and headed off to our location to set up. while gary made his way over this incredibly rocky, boulder-strewn shoreline with the ease of a mountain goat, i followed behind moving with the speed of a slug. i had made the mistake of forgetting to attach my filter case and water bottle to my backpack so I was holding on to those while also handling my hiking sticks to steady my balance on the rocks. not a smart move. finally, after what seemed like hours (it was really only minutes) and probably giving gary a chance to be amused at my antics, i arrived at the location with gary. with our equipment set up, we hung out for a bit, chatted and watched the skies. i began to sense something special was going to happen. at one point, i mentioned to gary about how pink it was looking. i don't normally see a lot of pink and to this degree of pink in my sunrise expeditions overall. but here, pink was killing it! and i was stoked at what was unraveling before me!


(click on image to see it bigger)


this is a set of five images stitched together in post-editing. it was a beautiful golden hour experience just shortly before the sun crested! for those of you wondering, there was no manipulating of colors here. it looked like that to my naked eye! the orange and pink reflected in the water made for a gorgeous and harmonious color palette. the reddish-pink in the clouds behind the tombolo to the left just added that much more drama to the skies. i love gary's camera at the right end of the image. i think it adds to the story of this image here. to me, it adds the reminder of the awesome feeling of sharing a time like this with a friend. we stayed and watched the sun continue to rise in this scene and light up the shoreline to the right of this scene. shortly after that, we called it and made the short trek back to the car. this time, we took an easier trail, now that we could see a little better, that was on solid ground. i dropped gary off and headed back home hoping to beat the sunday traffic heading back to the cities. I didn't get too far before sleep weighed heavily on me and pulled over for a nap. a half hour later (it seemed like a minute), i awoke to the vibrating alarm and continued on my way. lady luck smiled on me not just on this adventure, but being at the front of the traffic all the way home.


i hope you enjoyed this blog! it was a great trip for me, especially to see the incredible colors in the sky during the golden hour! please feel free to share any comments and/or thoughts regarding the blog and images in the comments section below. i read them all and i respond to them all. you'll have to sign up the first time you make a comment but once you do that, then you will be able to make comments in the future without having to sign up again. i did some testing to verify that. i don't know why you have to sign up; it is a requirement of wix (the host site) at this time that i hope they will remove at some point.


these images are available for purchase. you can find them in the online store. both can also be purchased in media formats not seen in the online store as well. just use the contact form below to reach out to me if you are interested in a media format that is not currently in the online store. they would make great additions to your home and/or business as well as gifts for that special someone. i'll work with you to make sure you receive an artwork that will bring many years of enjoyment!


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thanks again for your support through the reading of my blogs and sharing them as well! i'll be back soon to share more "images from a quiet world"!











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