Saturday, January 31, 2009
Well, one thing all this ice is good for is ice fishing. There is a plethora of opportunities with safe ice everywhere. I haven't been out but I'm sure inland lakes have feet of ice by now.
They start 'em young up here- family ice fishing in the Upper Peninsula on Little Bay De Noc
Last night while we were enjoying a brew and fish fry at the Vierling, Terry came up and asked us how the ice was on the lake because he had some guys on the phone that were thinking about coming up with their, I don't know what you call em, ice boats, you know, the sailboats with ice runners on em. I know there's some ice skating smooth looking ice in both Lower and Upper Harbors, but I speculate as well there's an occasional pressure ridge built up,(perfect conditions for a face plant) not to mention these areas are the first place that might open up on a wind shift, but I think we're past that point now with thicker and thicker ice by the day. So maybe I'll wander out there this weekend and look for these ice boats.
Friday, January 30, 2009
After the lake is frozen, it's a LOT more quiet out here. So quiet, it's unbelievable, especially when there's no wind. It's a great opportunity to hear the wildlife all around us, especially the coyotes and wolves in the middle of the night. I don't know how to describe it, but sometimes the yipping and howls of coyotes can just cut right thru the air, with their sound waves kinda richocheting off of whatever they hit, creating a wierd mixture of "howling overtones", a crazy phenomenon if you're lucky to hear it. Kinda stands the hair up on the back of your neck. Pictured is a coyote wandering on the tritoned pack ice of Lake Superior. Don't know what drew this fella out there, as it's pretty barren this time of year on the lake.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I have a million photos of Marquette Lighthouse. So, what's one more added to the pile? Just couldn't help myself. The setting sun was giving the sky that winter pastel look and when I got to the lighthouse with the lighthouse reflecting off the ice, there was a few minutes of sunlight left, providing just enough illumination. There were some crazy fishbone designs going on in the clouds above, too. Winter can be so long, but so interesting as well.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Out at Presque Isle, the "wild" deer are becoming increasingly tame. You know what this means. People are feeling sorry for these animals, probably due to the snow cover and extreme cold, and they are feeding the deer. There's bird seed sprinkled everywhere and an occasional carrot or apple seen here and there. I feel sorry for the deer too, but this is not a good thing as you know what the city is going to do come Spring. Funny, the city has their occasional "deer culling" every few years or so in the name of preventing overgrazing by the deer and guess what? Same old cycle repeats itself.
It's natural for the deer to yard up in the winter, and Presque Isle is ideal for the deer as they can move to different sides of the island to be sheltered from the wind. When Spring comes, they move on, but this feeding I'm afraid is going to be bad news for these deer down the line.
Deer and fawn, Presque Isle winter of 2008-09, showing signs of an encounter with a predator
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Winter biker, on the iced over shores of Lake Superior
Pffft. The heck with a little ice and snow, those fat tires look like they'll get this yooper thru anything old man winter can dish out.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Where there's still any inkling of open water, which is a fetch to find, just as amazing sounds as sights are to be had. Big sheets of ice are shifting with the wind, coliding into each other like bumper cars. The lake sounds like a big soup of cracking and creaking with an occasional thunderous pop of a massive piece of ice sheet cracking. Tommorrow everything will probably completely frozen stone solid, that's how quick the lake is freezing now.
Lake Superior with pack ice to the horizon
Sunday, January 25, 2009
So here's a couple pics taken in haste. The simplest of tasks get amazingly difficult in this kind of cold, ie. leveling tripod, making sure cable release out of way, changing camera settings with gloves on, etc!
"Pancake Ice", Upper Harbor, Marquette MI, Jan 25, 2009
Pastel snowdrift at sunrise, Upper Harbor, Marquette MI, Jan 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Looking out over Lake Superior on a cold, cold, bright blue winter day
Friday, January 23, 2009
"Edge of Forever" cover of Peter Scott Eide's recent release
So, on this day, my birthday btw, it's blowing a gale outside, and is one day away from the national consensus of the overall most depressing day of the year. So, lol, at least my birthday is not on the worst day of the year.
Outside, recently in this bitter cold weather, there are things you see only in winter. When looking over Lake Superior, the lake effect storms were moving off at sunset and the lake was quickly freezing in sub zero temps. When looking towards open water where there was a huge temp differential between air and water, I could see the sky was clear but there was what appeared to be a squall of some sort, but there were no clouds for the squall to come from. The condensation must have been coming UP from the lake creating a lake generated squall at just ground level.
I guess you could call this an "ice fog cloud".
If you've seen something like this, I'd be interested to hear about it.
Closeup view of "ice fog cloud"?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
We do a lot of driving during the show season and see lots of interesting things. One of the things I keep a keen eye out for are abandoned buildings that tell a story of a different time, different place. Especially eery are the buildings that look like one day, the occupant(s) just vanished and nothing has been touched since. Here is such a picture, appropriately in black and white:
Haunted house? Looks to me like there's an apparition of someone sobbing in the second floor window.
Note the beautiful architecture of this once grand farmhouse, with curtains from a different era drawn open neatly. First thing that came to mind was Adams Family. Houses like this will never be built in this way ever again, and to see them neglected and overgrown tugs at my heart a bit.
This image would have never worked in color. The black and white defines everything and brings out the "apparition" in the second floor window.
Vivid color is a description that is very much associated with our work, but I find myself being drawn more and more to B&W and the visual definitions only possible through the juxtapositions of light and dark.
The winter Great Lakes surfing story photo essay I'm working on took on a whole new visual meaning with images in black and white. The two terms that keep coming to mind are definition and emotion. Kind of ironic, when not in the too distant past I had the ignorant attitude about black and white as it being bland and boring. It's almost like I'm a music student in college again discovering Miles Davis for the first time,then proceeding to make an uneducated comment to my jazz teacher, (hey Chas!) "What's so great about Miles Davis?" Ooops. An annual essay project was subsequently named in my honor for many years after where each student studied an assigned jazz legend and did a lengthy presentation on the life and music of that musician, which was enlightening and educational. Back then, I became very much enlightened to Miles' music,life and discography,(got to see him live in the 80's) now I am starting the journey of enlightenment to B&W.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
It's normal here to have things a little more quiet this time of year without having Lake Superior, with it's sometimes literally roaring waves, part of the ambience. The Big Lake is frozen to the horizon, but until it's really frozen, like all the way to Canada, the ice could move out tomorrow on a wind's whim and we'd have waves once again.
So back to the strange silence. I noticed this on a recent Saturday morning. We hear less traffic on M-28, a main east west artery in the UP, so much less that at times there's absolutely no vehicle noise. That means A LOT less traffic on the roads.
Saturday morning, hmmmmmm....
Ding! That's it! Where have all the snowmobiles gone???? Vintage snowmobiles lined up in a row
We have a snowmobile trail that is oh, maybe a half mile thru the woods to the south of us. There's NO snowmobile noise this winter, and I mean none. Well, maybe an occasional one or two every other day, but for sure, it's waaaay down this winter.
Then I think back to our expedition to the Grand Sable Dunes at the beginning of January and when going thru Munising and Grand Marais, the two snowmobile capitals of the northern UP, they were strangely devoid of snowmobile trailers, snowmobile semis, you name it some of the things these sledheads possess. One of the motels in Grand Marais said they are 75% down this year and they may close for the winter. CLOSING FOR THE WINTER! IN GRAND MARAIS! Wow, things are bad. On th roads this year, you are hard pressed to pass a single snowmobile trailer. This has really gotta hurt businesses that depend on the snowmobile season to carry them thru the winter. Is it the trickle down economy, or snow everywhere in places where the riders might otherwise come up here? A combination of the two? The solitude of the silence is one of those wonderful things I love about winter, but not hearing the whiz of snowmobiles reminds me that times are tough for a lot of people right now. Having a business that depends on snow has to be a real tough deal because this year we've had it in a big way, lots of it starting early in the season, beautiful fluffy stuff all winter long, and the least amount of snowmobilers I've ever seen. If you're a yooper, this is the winter to hit the trails,as I venture to say you'll have them largely all to yourselves.
Grand Marais Michigan with snowmobilers lined up at the pumps, on a good winter day a few years back
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Wetmore Landing, Marquette County Michigan, with winter approaching on the horizon of Lake Superior
It all happened in one day this year, from my recollection. We had some beautiful weather at the end of the autumn season, with temps occasionally in the 60s-70s as random stands of trees in Marquette County held on to the last of their leaves. I took that opportunity to check out some really beautiful areas in Marquette County, including subject pictured above, a stretch of public land along Lake Superior known as Wetmore Landing.
What a surreal day it was, with forecast calling for snow blowing sideways, yet it was 70 degrees and calm. I had dressed for the forecast, with layers under a waterproof windbreaker.
As I hiked, peeled off the layers, happened upon beautiful stands of the last of the color season to be found anywhere, the added beauty of Lake Superior was always present. It was just plain fun for me to experience the changing conditions brought on the by the approaching pumped up cold front, to which the lake effect snow cloud tops looked like thunderheads. With the wind being still, autumn foliage landscape photography was possible, an added bonus. Believe me, once the front hit a few hours later, autumn was over with snow flying sideways, and a drop in temperature of over 40 degrees. It's one of those winters where I haven't seen the ground since.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Aurora Borealis over Little Presque Isle, Marquette MI, Lake Superior, USA
One of the things I keep tabs on regularly is space weather. Living on the south shore of Lake Superior provides in my mind, one of the best places in the lower 48 to have the opportunity to see the aurora borealis. Looking north over Lake Superior provides the dark skies necessary for seeing the lights in all of their magnificence, with the ability to see to the horizon, which is very helpful in determining if there's any activity. Spaceweather.com is a great starting point to learn about what's happening in space, run by Dr. Tony Phillips, production editor at science@NASA. It's updated daily and will let you know when there's a good chance to see northern lights. Currently, the lake effect machine is kicking up again, one of the only major obstacles preventing people in this area from seeing the northern lights, and dontcha know, we get snow! Spaceweather mentioned people in the Arctic Circle could see them tonight, but that doesn't mean Michgan is out of the picture. If the auroral oval swings south enough, I've seen many a display when the forecast is only calling for higher latitudes to see them. It's been a good two years since I've seen an active display that had any kick to it. But keep your eyes to the sky. There's still a lot to learn about the aurora.
Go here to view more Aurora Borealis pictures from northern Michigan.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Unidentified surfer, Lake Superior, Marquette MI
I chose the Lake Superior surfer image for today as I have been working on a couple projects related to Lake Superior surfing, and, once again, I'm off on one of my sidetracked winding tangents. I posted a quick blog here for the local surf crew as I know many of the surfers in the area are getting pics and vids that they want to share, and this would be a great way of having a central point to find those.
I look forward to the feedback on this.
So where am I going with this? Going off on tangents isn't necessarily the best use of time,being reminded once again time on Earth is very finite.
It's hit me like a ton of bricks that structure and discipline are necessary, very necessary to get on top of workflow processes to be more productive. Laforet's final cut blog really struck a nerve with me when I realize I have over a year's worth of images that I haven't even gotten to a second look for the "final, final cut".
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I've been out to the ice curtains before to photograph the climbers, as well as some of the frozen waterfalls in Pictured Rocks,(click here for photos of ice climbing in the Upper Peninsula) and it really is beautiful when the ice has built up and you see a very intense aqua ice blue color. This is due to varying thicknesses in the ice not letting certain light waves thru, a pretty cool natural phenomenon. I'm really hoping this year that the Grand Island channel freezes solid enough to allow safe passage by ski or snowshoe, and the ice curtains on Grand Island hold as they are some of the most magnificent curtains in the area. From the looks of things, we aren't going to have to worry about any thawing in the near term.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Molly, our 5lb tiny toy poodle, relaxing by the fire
Molly's routine is basically this, she sleeps in until about 10 or 11am, usually under the covers in the winter, goes outside and does her business, gets her treat for doing so, hides her treat, gets me to play a game with her where she shows me where she hid her treat, eats her treat, then runs downstairs to the basement and takes a long nap by the fire. Dogs have it soooooo easy and we spoil her rotten, and I mean rotten.
Well, this morning with it being so frigid, little Molly got really cold paws while outside. See, she can't just go out quick and do her business,no, she has to find the right exact spot to her liking, which sometimes takes a considerable amount of time. Well, as you can imagine, I had to rescue her this morning once her paws couldn't handle the cold anymore. Once inside, she bolted to get to her specially prepared doggie bed by the fire, her content look shown in the pic to the left.
Frozen Lake Superior shoreline and windblown drifts
I continue to take the 15mm lens out to learn about it's wide coverage and what the different effects are at different angles due to barrel distortion. Here is a pic I shot a couple days ago showing frozen Lake Superior with some of the barrel distortion corrected in post processing.
I hope to find many uses for this lens as I really like it.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Lake Superior very icy waves, January 13., 2009
Here is the lake this evening, with ice formed almost to the horizon. All of this ice formed in two days.
Lake Superior, below zero, with ice mountains
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Lake Superior, near sundown, in a steel grey, ominous, almost colorless mood
These are two pics, first taken the day before the storm and second pic during the storm yesterday. Winds and waves didn't seem to be near what was forecast,probably because the lake is ready to really freeze. It's brutal cold now. What's left of open water on Lake Superior is looking real syrupy now, being in an almost supercooled state.
Presque Isle, with the bay diffused by blowing snow, taken with a 15mm
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Lake Superior looking towards Shot Point, Marquette County.
Monday, January 12, 2009
"ice volcano", Lake Superior
When the wind and temps are just right to cause the surf to splash up on the ice banks, the water from the surf keeps freezing, and the ice sometimes forms a hole that the water keeeps shooting through every time a wave hits the shoreline. These ice volcanos don't last long, as the ice keeps forming further and further out under these conditions, or it warms up and they get smashed to shreds. Pretty cool.
Oh, and Happy Birthday MOM!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Sunrise, Marquette Upper Harbor, near the mouth of the Dead River.
After having it snow for 20 some odd days straight(which means LOTS of cloudy skies), the sunrise yesterday was a most pleasant change of pace. In this picture you can see how the frost builds up on the plants from the outflow of the power plant nearby, and boy was it chilly, below zero again this morning.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Full moon lighting up the snowscape over Lake Superior
This moonrise and moonset has the biggest moon of the year, called the perigee moon. The moon is 14% wider and 30% brighter than other moons.
I went out this morning and thought I might get lucky with catching the moon setting between clouds. It cleared out beautifully, and here's a couple pics looking west towards Marquette MI. It was below zero when these pics were taken, with temperature differential adding to the distortion around the moon's edges at 300mm focal lengths.
the full moon setting over Marquette, MI, Jan 10,2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
surface ice piling up on the shore broken up into shards by a wind shift on Lake Superior.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Grand Sable waves- more pics from the Grand Sable surf trip available at a later date.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Surfable waves on the lakes don't happen every day. In fact, there's really only two times of year when the waves are at their biggest, late Fall/early Winter and after ice out in the Spring. So when the forecast called for 12-16 foot waves on Jan 05, 2009, we jumped on it.
Temps for the day didn't go much above zero all day. The winds, however, dropped considerably, which when all was said and done was probably a blessing.
We met up at Pictured Rocks Visitor Center 5 mi east of Au Sable. From there we snomobiled in, with surfboards strapped to one sled and equipment in backpacks such as wetsuits, 600 ft of safety rope to get down the "Log Slide", (a 300 ft sand dune), and lots of fortitude.
We checked out Log Slide and Hurricane River and decided on Log Slide due to the cleaner little peelers with less side wind and current to deal with. Dan is a freekin mountain goat. He basically ran down the Log Slide and was surfing before Billy even got his harness on to rappel down. I reeeeally wanted to get to the bottom, but no way for me. I didn't have cleats to dig in to the ice for footing, was hesitant, the dune was frozen and steep, so I reluctantly took a pass.
As it turned out, a birdseye view provided for some incredible sights and I'm glad it worked out that way. It was interesting to see surface ice forming on the horizon, slowly creeping forward with a fingerlike appearance, which seemed to contribute to dampening the waves down to a glassy appearance. Combine that with passing clouds reflecting pastels on the water with the low winter sunlight for a spectacular view. There's nothing like winter.
As usual, wave conditions were not even close to the forecast, the gentle waves made it possible to get in the water without getting pegged by slushballs on the shoreline. If waves had been bigger, it probably would have been a no go. So that's it for now,more pics will be available at a later date.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
It's the big lake, viewed from a 300 foot tall sand dune, Grand Sable Dunes. This time of year, Grand Sable could be considered back country as the only way in is 5 miles via snowmobile. That's exactly what we did yesterday, was take a ride in to the dunes, with temps topping out at about zero.
LOG SLIDE: This caution sign states that the dunes are 300ft in elevation at this spot, very steep, and at this time of year, frozen solid, with a 500 foot hike from bottom to top.
Grand Sable Dunes with the sun low in the sky-to see it covered in white was a refreshingly beautiful view. Tommorrow, I will be sharing an account and slideshow of what I consider an extreme backcountry "adventure" that few would care to attempt.
Monday, January 5, 2009
shadows of trees in freshly fallen snow
Sunday, January 4, 2009
minor ice buildup on Mesabi Miner-recently at Upper Harbor, Marquette, complete with Christmas tree
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Shore ice is really starting to build now, so as long as it stays cold, the ice mountains are really going to pile up on the shore line. We'll have to wait until a big thaw to see waves like this:
Presque Isle, Marquette MI shoreline, "black rocks"
Friday, January 2, 2009
A small plant encased in shore ice
These ice sculptures made by nature are one of a kind, works of art sculpted by temperature, time, wind and water.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
What better way to kick off the new year than to eat right, exercise more and START A BLOG...! (I hear chuckles already...)
I thought a blog might be a nice way to share current sights of the Upper Peninsula, Lake Superior, and our travels, as well as provide some impetus to getting my website updated and overhauled.
Should be interesting to see how this blog develops, or see IF it develops, lol.
This is going to be my attempt at doing something daily, and sticking to it, in attempt to do something in a disciplined manner!
Finally, our art show "off" season is here. Time to relax a little? We'll try to squeeze that in as well before the madness starts up again in earnest in May, 2009. However, now is when all the deadlines start coming up for juries and applications, lots of work.
Big news in these parts is we've had 24 straight days of snow.
This is the view out our patio door- it's piling up!
Yep that's right, it's been snowing every day for almost a month straight. We are forecast to get a good dumping tonight and tommorrow too, so the streak will continue at least a couple more days.
My Christmas gift this year was a 15mm fisheye lens. I'm busy testing this baby out to see how creative it can be. It offers some really cool perspectives-
Presque Isle, Marquette, MI. Winter 2009 Now that's a wide angle view.