David Barthel - North Shore Images PhotographyDavid Barthel North Shore Images Photography
David Barthel

Photo Journal & News

Friday, August 27, 2010

Watchdogs of the Prairie

Another digression from my typical North Shore subject matter . . .

Anyone who has visited the prairie regions of the U.S. have, no doubt, encountered these friendly, squirrel-like creatures. Prairie dogs live in "towns," primarily in the regions west of the Mississippi. These "towns" consist of a network of burrows and tunnels that provide shelter. Highly social animals, prairie dogs were named as such due to their high-pitched bark-like warning call.

This image was captured in South Dakota near Badlands National Park at a ranch where the prairie dogs roam freely and are very tame, having become accustomed to being fed by the frequent human visitors. I had no food, but, thinking I did, they still took an interest in me - even occasionally nibbling at my shoes. Their tameness allowed me to use my wide-angle lens to capture both the prairie dogs and the beautiful surroundings they call home.

This image is also available in the northshoreimages.com computer desktop wallpaper collection.

State Fair

If you go to the Minnesota State Fair, head over to the Fine Arts Building where you will find this photograph along with many other interesting works of art, in a variety of media, created by talented artists from across Minnesota. This photo will be on exhibit throughout the duration of the fair.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unsettled Skies - Yosemite Valley

I've often felt that the name "North Shore Images" is a bit limiting as far as the photographic subject matter that should be contained on this site. What I mean is: an image of Yosemite Valley doesn't quite fit under this moniker - does it? Well, I am about to break this "rule" and digress for the first time on this site with this image of Yosemite Valley from the Tunnel View lookout on a recent trip to Yosemite National Park.

This is a classic view of Yosemite Valley includes the prominent 3000-foot granite cliff known as El Capitan toward the left, Bridalveil Falls toward the right, and famous Half Dome in the center distance. For comparison purposes, the height of El Capitan is roughly tenfold that of Palisade Head on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The name "Tunnel View" originated from the fact that visitors entering the park approach this viewpoint at the end of a long tunnel.

I was very fortunate to capture this view with these atmospheric conditions as most of my time spent in the park was under dreary overcast skies. Also, note the faint rainbow in the center. This panoramic image is the result of six digitally-stitched images, each from three separate exposures to produce a final image with higher dynamic range.

This is the first photograph in a new set of images that will be filed under the category, "Beyond Minnesota." Stay tuned as I add more!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Centennial Celebration - Fireworks at Split Rock Lighthouse

On the evening of July 31, 1910, Split Rock Lighthouse's beacon cast its first beam of light across western Lake Superior. For over a half-century, this cliff-top light guided marine traffic near the North Shore during Lake Superior's varied and sometimes violent weather.

One hundred years later, Split Rock was lit again - this time to celebrate its legacy as a navigational aid for ships, isolated home and work site for its many keepers, and tour destination for generations of North Shore travelers. Accompanying the lighting was a fabulous display of fireworks that wowed an equally-impressive, record-setting crowd at the park.

Like any birthday celebration, it was the gatherings of people that made this day memorable. For many families, it was their first glimpse of this historic light station; for others, it was the anniversary that brought them back for another visit. A private reception was held for the former keepers' families; countless memories, no doubt, were shared during this reunion. Finally, it was a gathering of photographers, eagerly planting dozens of tripods along the shore below the lighthouse in anticipation of the beacon lighting and fireworks display. I had the pleasure of conversing with several of them, some of whom were visiting the lighthouse for the first time. A few others were familiar faces that I have come to know over the years through a mutual interest in photographing this sentinel landmark in all seasons. For us, it was also a reunion of sorts.