Tag Archives: lake superior

Working Lake Superior

I’ve tried to catch these photos for years, a lake cargo boat leaving at sunrise through the ship channel. It was one of those “accidental” shots, I was shooting the sunset from the balcony of our motel and turned to get some of the light house only to discover this beauty. The light couldn’t have been better with a hint of sunrise reflecting off the bow and bridge of the boat as it heads up the lake.

The Mainistee  makes an early morning departure through the Duluth ship canal  into the open water of Lake Superior,  on its’ way to do whatever it does. These Great Lakes working boats have always fascinated me in part because of their strange design and the fact that they add a nautical narrative to a state and region that is far from nautical.

My first encounter with both Lake Superior and the great north woods occurred in the early to mid 1950s when my family decided to venture up here from St. Louis, where I grew up. I have vague memories of the Duluth lift bridge and a harbor and water front full of working ore boats crewed by tough looking men who hung out in what is now Canal Park, as they waited for their boats to depart up the North Shore to fetch a fresh load of ore.

As we left Duluth and headed into the “wilderness”of the north woods I remember feeling that someday I would come back.

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Out of the ashes

Several years ago while on the North Shore of Lake Superior we decided to wander inland away from the big lake. The day was overcast so we really were not hopeful of finding some good locations. We followed the Gunflint trail toward the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and took a narrow gravel road off the Gunflint and stumbled onto a little collection of cabins tucked well out of sight except for the mailboxes standing at attention around a curve in the road.

The area was also in the edge of a fire that left ghostly blackened poles as reminders of what happened. Interestingly enough, this little area also was included in the early 2000s blow down that made a wide swath through the Boundary Waters leaving a path of destruction that left giant piles of logs. The storm also left behind many campers who had to be rescued and in many cases air evaced back to Duluth.

The photo below was one example of nature’s own reclamation efforts, understory growth was popping up in the early stages of ecosystem restoration. It represented a place of peace and reflection amidst the chaos of destruction.

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A different take on Split Rock Light House

A different take on Split Rock Light House on the North Shore of Lake Superior. These are from a series I’ve been working on one of the most photographed features on the North Shore.  One of my favorite and most used lenses is my 10.5mm fish eye, I like the way I can use it to “warp” reality and in the case of photographing people it also adds a more intimate dimension to both individuals and small groups. In a way it does a great job of putting the viewer into a photo.

So instead of the ordinary approach, I used my fish eye and then edited it with multiple layers of textures to achieve what you see.

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Mystery visiters on Duluth shore

A couple of years ago Duluth and the lower North Shore of Lake Superior experienced a particularly rough winter as huge waves washed over sea walls. The over wash froze and left some amazing sculptural effects behind that changed the shape and appearance of everything it touched through out the winter.

This photo was taken adjacent to the ship canal and lift bridge. It caught my attention because the way the ice and snow draped over the boulders, turning them into an apparition of hooded creatures emerging from the ground.

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