Here is Part 1 of two installments for my Mini-Trip to the MN side of the Lake Superior North Shore. These images were taken at various parks and sites along Highway 61. I began with 735 images and narrowed that down to 136 RAW files to be processed, and of those, you’ll get 19 on this page and 30 more in Part 2.
The music for this page is the 1983 classic “Synchronicity” from The Police. Notable is Stewart Copeland’s drumming on “King of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger”…it caused me to stop working on this page (twice) and just sit there in awe of his performance. Andy Summers’ guitar work is wonderful and Stink was at the top of his game (back when he was still Sting).
We’ll begin with easily my favorite stop of the trip; Gooseberry Falls State Park. This is the primary waterfall area, which as you can see, is a good one. It’s easily accessed from the parking lot, and easy access was NOT a common theme for this trip.
The North Shore is heavy on waterfalls, so there is plenty of opportunity for images like this. Using my variable ND filter, I was able to cut down the bright sunlight enough to get this image.
Check out what you can do by changing your positioning and aspect ratio; this is the right side of same waterfalls from the first image. By changing how I took this, it takes on a whole new dynamic. See the guy in the upper right? That helps give you some scale.
Many were taking images, but only one photographer had a tripod; me. Subsequently, I was the only one who took home this image. I was also the only one who almost fell in (after taking this shot). While maneuvering the rocks for more stable ground, one foot did take the plunge; the water wasn’t deep but my shoe was wet/damp for 3 days.
From the department of “Duh!” – over these past few web pages you have read multiple times about me almost slipping and falling. There’s a reason for that; I recently discovered the soles of my shoes are totally worn with very little grip. A new pair has been ordered. Duh!
This is my personal favorite of the waterfall images. I waited for the cloud to position itself and I got in close to the falls. I like the composition here as it features good balance and keeps the image simple and clean. One thing I’m proud of is very few of these images required additional cropping.
This was taken near the main waterfalls area. I used a polarizer on this, and many of these shots. However, I over-used it on some and they had to be tossed
Please forgive my over-indulgence of waterfall images thus far, but I really enjoyed that location and hope my images convey what I was feeling.
Along a trail in Gooseberry Falls State Park. It eventually brings you to the shoreline.
Now along said shoreline, I spied this formation. Notice the fuzzy background? A low bank of daytime fog came in, and that’s what you see. Memories of Adrienne Barbeau came with it (“stay away from The Fog”)…
The shore had a dead tree, so I went to work with it. This is my favorite of 3 different angles. You can also see the fog across the center of the frame. The shutter speed tells you I used a tripod. This would be a far better evening shot but I was there earlier than that. Oh well.
Some rocks on the shore nearby the dead tree. The lake was indeed quite calm during my visit. I hand-held this so it was a little soft, so I used “unsharpen mask” in Photoshop to bring it into line.
I was very disappointed with the lack of wildflowers present (except the dandelions). I either missed them or it was a bad year. Apparently this is a Cowslip, identified to me by a friendly group of gals passing by. It was tough to capture, as the wind kept blowing.
The famous Split Rock Lighthouse. You will be seeing a lot of it over this page, and in Part 2. I would have preferred some clouds in here but after the lousy spring we have had, I was thrilled to see the sun.
Taken at the shoreline. It’s the classic Split Rock Lighthouse shot, but accessing it meant navigating 171 steps. That means 171 steps down, and (GULP) 171 steps back up. Try that with a heavy camera backpack and carrying a tripod…and I didn’t just do that once…
A view looking down the cliff wall of the lighthouse. Using a polarizer cuts the glare and allows us a view of the rocks just below the surface. Unlike the previous shot, the lighthouse itself is very easy to get to.
Now in my submarine, we surfaced to get this shot; and ran aground. Damn, I hate it when that happens. Shot from a tripod (on the rocks) and using a wide angle focal length and f/9 aperture gives this shot excellent sharpness.
After a poor-tasting and WAY over-priced walleye sandwich dinner, I returned to the lighthouse for some evening images. Some guy from Pennsylvania who was into lighthouses told me this one was right up there with the best. This was primarily because of where it sits. Location, location, location.
Way off in the distance I saw this ore ship on its outbound voyage. It was so low on the horizon and so far out, the water caused it to be somewhat distorted. The single ship with the somber sky felt very lonely to me (thoughts of the Edmund Fitzgerald also arose), and that’s what I hope this image conveys.
This looks like a Winter shot, doesn’t it? Very fitting in a year like 2013. Taken well after sunset, I needed a 20 second exposure to get it. That softened up the water and made things look almost frozen.
What’s the name of my web site? I waited almost 2 hours for this light, but it was worth it (besides, I had the entire area all to myself). I was hoping for a silhouette but the lighthouse kept reflecting the twilight, which was rather interesting. It is a “lighthouse”…DUH (I’m a little slow). This was taken shortly before 10:00pm CDT.
With my usable light fading, I scaled the 171 steps up back to the parking lot. Thinking I had perhaps another shot, I began walking back to the lighthouse, and I stumbled upon a very large deer masked in the darkness. Needless to say we scared the crap out of each other! I kept going and saw a smaller deer; hmm, parent and child. Not wanting to irritate the larger deer and become a news story (“FRIDLEY MAN KILLED BY DEER”), I wisely aborted.
It’s fascinating how the order of these images matches Synchronicity. The first half of that CD starts out quite uptempo, and so do the images on this page. The second half of The Police classic mellows out, and so does this page. Hunh.
So ends my North Shore Trip, Part 1…be sure to also visit Part 2, which is linked HERE. I think the images of Part 2 are better than this group, so there’s your teaser.
all images © Scott Woelm – June 2013