Chasing Waterfalls: In the City
I have gotten a bit behind on posting here, but this should be the last of the things I shot before the snow and ice melted. Really liking the icey arch at Minnehaha Falls, earlier this spring.
A 15 Hour Vacation
Twenty days ago, My brother, his wife and I, headed up to Lake Superior. Making a day of wandering along the northern coast. I had never been up there in the winter months and was quite curious about what much of it would look like. We started by chasing waterfalls. Figuring we would go to the most northerly destination first and make our way south from there. We arrived at stop number one and proceeded to be very underwhelmed, the falls were a mass of ice without any detail, or interesting ice formations at all. Ok, that’s fine, let’s hit My favorite waterfall next! A ten minute drive and a short hike later, we arrived! But, it was also a bit of a let down… The ice was not very photogenic. Realizing that the best Ice shots were probably to be had early in the winter, as opposed to our venture near winter’s end, we wandered back towards the car. Instead of taking the trail, we walked on the river. Which turned out to be very memorable! All was well for the first half of the stroll, but then we started encountering some pretty thin sounding ice. My sister in law being pregnant and carrying five thousand dollars in camera gear myself, we departed from the river walk and scrambled back up the hill to the trail. It was pretty rad walking on water though, even if it led to much anxiousness and a bit of fear..
After that, we made our way back towards the south. Pausing for a quick view of this rock beach that I had visited with a friend last year. It is actually private property, but I was a bit suprised to see that there was no sign of humans there. Clearly, this place was actually owned by deer. Who had left plenty of tracks in the snow… There were some pretty cool frozen rock walls, held together by ice. Some spots had a four or five foot overhang. It was pretty neat, especially because of the icey build up on the southern point in this miniature bay.
Then, we stopped at Tettegouche State Park. The crown jewel of the state parks system here in Minnesota. Opting not to bother with the hike inland to the falls, we stayed along the coast and were dazzled by the ice built up around the shore line. Many pictures were taken, much time passed by and just like My previous visits to this park, I did not want to leave…
We did leave this wintery wonderland though. The pregnant one among us was getting pretty tired. So we stopped at Palisade Head, where I took a lonely walk up to the the high ground. Pausing to take a shot of the communication tower piercing through the bold sun dog above, I made it to the overlook. What a view! You can see the southern quarter of the rolling hills to the north and the endless glitter of Lake Superior to the south. It was by far the easiest hike of the day and yielded one of the most spectacular perspectives on the north shore…
Continuing south towards Duluth, we made one more stop. So I could take some pictures of the light house at Split Rock. Unlike anywhere to the north, the bay was mostly iced over. Having walked down a river of ice a few hours earlier, I started My way out to the edge of the bay, walking on the lake… There is an island a couple hundred yards out. I noticed some people were on the island and also made note of the many lines of foot prints in the thin snow all around the bay. The ice was pretty thick, so I was quite confident as I wandered towards the spot where one can take a picture with the island and light house together. About a third of the way there however, there was a cracking sound and the ice shifted under My feet. Not by much, maybe an inch and a half, but I watched a crack form, a foot or so to the side of Me that stretched all the way out to open water. Heartbeat increasing to a rapid pace, I hopped over the crack. Which was inbetween Me and solid ground and hurried off the ice.. I then snapped a couple shots of the light house and neglected to make it out to the planned location of shooting. Adrenaline flowing, I walked the path back to where My brother and his wife were waiting and we departed.
We made a pit stop in Duluth to fill our bellies. Then decided there was still time for another stop. My brother and I were both curious to see Jay Cooke state park. We had camped there a few years ago, but wanted to see what it looked like now. The reason for this curiousity is that two years ago, a damm just up stream from the park broke. Sending a gnarly torrent of flooding southward in to the park. It washed away the bridge that is the only real access to the camp sites and many miles of hiking trails. The water was super low compared to our previous visit and there was a spiffy new bridge over the river. If there were any other real differences, they were hiding under ice and snow..
With the sun sinking in the sky and home being over two hundred miles away, we hopped back in the car and made our way south toward the Twin Cities. Quite the successful day trip! We even got to enjoy a pretty lovely sunset as we cruised down the interstate, on our way home…
Chasing Waterfalls on the Willow River, Again…
After the failed attempt to shoot hot air balloons on Saturday, we headed 15 minutes north. Neither of the guys I was with had been to the waterfall on the Willow River and since we were already three quarters of the way there, it seemed silly not to go. There was a lot more ice than the last time, but the falls were still flowing steadily. Here is a quick time lapse of it and a few pictures. Such a gorgeous place!
Behind the Scene
We are fortunate to have a picturesque waterfall, within the urban sprawl of the Twin Cities. Minnehaha falls, a very popular spectacle. I’ve taken pictures of it before, but had not investigated what is possibly it’s most awesome feature in a long time. Over the years, the falls have eroded a sizable amount of rock out from behind it. Making it possible to wander behind the beautiful waterfall. The ice laden cavern was about three times wider than My last visit, some 10+ years ago. Allowing for some pretty rad pictures. Sediment captured in the ice gave a pretty cool rainbow effect in some sections. Awesome stuff!
This beautiful hawk was clearly not happy about the amount of people stopping and walking toward it. I was more than happy to disturb it’s meal, considering it was on the side of a road. It was an intersection too, most of the people who drove by, turned around and came back. We spotted it and stopped immediately. Hastefully removing the wide angle lens from My camera and applying the hefty Sigma 70-200 2.8, since I did not think the bird would let us go near it. This large bird, which I believe is a ‘red tailed’ hawk, let Me within 15 feet or so before jumping up and perching in a nearby tree for a moment. I could feel a strong swirl of wind from the roughly 5 foot wing span as it took flight. Staying nearby as We humans went on our way, I assume it was going to swoop right back down on it’s kill. I admit the Mallard duck that it slayed looked quite delicious to Me as well, enjoy that fat meal bird. I hope no one hits it while it is feasting.. I see two or three of these birds of prey daily, never so close up though. They are much larger than one might think from seeing them perched atop a light pole on the side of the highway. What a magnificent semi-urban predator.
First Satsuma Mandarin of 2013
The tropical Minnesotan attic jungle is producing again this year. This orange was a pleasantly sour punch in the taste buds. The room was filled with a lovely citrus aroma when I peeled away the skin. Can’t wait for the rest to be ripe.
First Rose of the Year
I’m not even sure what variety of rose this is. It was given to Me by My Mom, late in the season last year. Hard to go wrong with $1 plants from the nursery.. Unlike My Lavender Lace Mini rose, this one is truely tiny. It stands a lofty 5 inches high, giving these nice pale pink blooms with fair petal layering. I put it in the attic with all My citrus trees for the winter, it seems happy.
True Entertainment for People of the North
Red Bull has hit it on the nail. This was the second year for their Crashed Ice event. If You aren’t familiar, think hockey, with no puck, or sticks, but on a twisting, hill laden track instead of a flat arena floor. I am quite certain if a bobsled team looked at the slopes built into the course, they would poo their pants, before realizing their lower jaws had landed on the ground. Actually, if they attempted to have a go, they would just fly off and into the crowds, or buildings, some of which were a mere 10-15 feet from the track.
It was unusually hard to get decent pictures of the action. According to one of Saint Paul’s Finest, there were well over 100,000 people in attendance for the 2 hour final. Considering the population of Capitol City is a mere 350,000, that is a huge turn out! This would also explain why it was nearly impossible to get close enough for some dynamic shots of the skating. I must admit, capturing these guys, flying down the course was a lot harder than taking pictures of drifting. Which is the only other thing I’ve had any real practice with rapidly moving subjects. So, I made sure to snap a picture or two of the cathedral. Wisely chosen 2 years straight as the backdrop for this, the only round of 5, held in the United States. Thanks for lighting it up for Me Red Bull. Not at all a common sight to see one of My home town’s most dominant structures glowing in so many colors…
I hope they continue to bring this event back here! Being the national home of hockey, home to 2 of the 3 major snow-mobile producers, as well as home of the coldest place in the contiguous U.S.(Embarrass, MN), hosting this truely cold weather sport in Saint Paul is a natural fit. Even better, they plan it to coincide with the Winter Carnival, so You get a completely diverse blend of people from many cultures and spanning all age groups. Honestly, do You think people elsewhere would happily venture out in sub-zero temperatures for some extreme sports and ice sculptures anywhere else? By the tens, or hundreds of thousands? Ahhh, Minnesota is a wonderfull place!
Last week, My Brother married His girl-friend of 13 years. Contrary to what many thought would be a large wedding, it was a nice small gathering in Their living room. I guess it had to be, since they decided to make it happen less than a month before hand. It was a nice ceremony. Lots of smiling, laughing and general happiness was flowing through the place. Congratulations Brother and now, officially, Sister!
There was one kind of odd moment, just after the deed was done, the pastor gathered everyone, hand on hand, into a huddle. He spoke a few words and proceeded to start singing a verse. Just as He drew in His breath to start, the music My brother was playing popped up, right on cue: “Where’s Your head at, at, at.” Basement Jaxx played quietly in the backround through the whole wedding, it was pretty funny. Actually, there were two other awkward moments… I hadn’t realized that I was to give a speach and failed to come up with something worth hearing on the spot. Sorry, I feel bad about it! Then there was this pre-wedding photo We did while waiting for people to arrive. I think it’s the best of the day though.
It was a good Tuesday night party that ended up doubling as a photo shoot. There is something to be said for a simple wedding, with little or no money involved. I think this is the best kind of ceremony. It’s all about the people anyways, why bother making it about anything else?
Winter has Arrived
Last night, it still looked like fall. The green of the grass was fading and leaves swirled about in the wind. Today however, we got a foot or so of snow. Wandering across town to pick up My Sister in law from work, I snapped a couple of pictures about half way through the downfall. No doubt, it’s winter now!