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

Photo Journal & News

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Announcement: 2011 Art Fairs

I am happy to announce that I will, for the first time, be participating in and selling my work at a selection of regional art fairs this summer and fall. My inaugural art fair will be the Lemonade Concert and Art Fair, held on Thursday, June 23, 2011 from 11 AM - 9 PM near Atwood Center on the campus of St. Cloud State University (my alma mater), St. Cloud, MN. I will also have a booth at the Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair, held on the weekend after Labor Day (September 10-11) in Little Falls, MN. Please stop by my booth and say hello!

I anticipate adding a few fairs to this list over the next several weeks, so please stay tuned. I will post updates on my Facebook page and Twitter stream as these events draw nearer.

Early Spring Morning at Split Rock

I am very lucky to be able to live relatively near one of the most beautiful regions in the country. Up and down the North Shore lie impressive and charming locations too numerable to mention. I have visited (and photographed!) many of them and still have much to explore. Yet, my North Shore excursions often seem to bring me back to this iconic landmark - Split Rock Lighthouse.

This cliff-top lighthouse has attracted the eyes of photographers since its construction 101 years ago and has become the most photographed lighthouse on the Great Lakes and perhaps one of the most photographed in the world. It's not hard to imagine why it is so alluring. Not merely a historic lighthouse upon a cliff, it also stands in the midst of a relatively remote and scenic location on Lake Superior's North Shore. The lighthouse is strikingly visible from most of the half-mile of shoreline to the immediate south, providing innumerable viewpoints. Minnesota's four seasons and the ever-changing Lake Superior provide even further opportunities to witness the various moods of this icon.

The image above was made on an April morning in which the temperature was still cold enough to form a thin layer of ice in the small puddles within the rock. The warm hues of the sunrise were subtle, yet attractive. I found myself alone while photographing this scene, as I often do in the mornings here. At a busy place such as Split Rock, mornings can sometimes be the only time of day for the contemplative photographer to consider and compose a scene without distraction. And, mornings often contain the best light of the day, too. It is scenes like these that touch my inner spirit and keep me returning again and again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spring Snow at the Cascades

Northlanders know quite well that winter can hold its grip on Northeastern Minnesota well into spring. While nature's calendar now finally seems to be synchronizing with our own with warm temperatures and even bouts of severe weather, just a few short weeks ago, the North Shore received a seemingly requisite spring coating of snow.

Snow adds a distinct dimension to the rushing spring waterfalls of the area. Most people view the waterfalls in a sea of green, during the summer, at the height of travel season. In the middle of winter, when the ground is covered in white, often the falls are partially or completely frozen. There are only a few moments in the fall or spring in which the falls are running and the landscape has elements of white.

I made this photograph at one of my favorite waterfalls on the North Shore - the cascades along the Cascade River. The river was swollen with spring runoff that seemed like it was on a race to meet Lake Superior. This snow was perfect as it clung to the trees for quite some time, leaving an image to behold.

Even in these northern reaches, when winter makes its appearance, it retreats fairly rapidly at this time of year. The sun predominated the following day and melted much of the snow.

The rivers and waterfalls along the North Shore remain very active as recent rains have continued to fuel their awesome power and grandeur.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Abstracted Tulips

Longtime readers and those who know me understand that I spend most of my behind-the-camera time on Lake Superior's North Shore, trying to capture that elusive image that I had, or perhaps had not envisioned. It's sometimes difficult to imagine how anything else can compete with the grandeur found in that region we aptly refer to as "God's Country." Well, sometimes there are great images begging to be made right outside our doors.

May is the month when the tulips bloom where I live, and several are currently in blossom right beside my home. I happened to become intrigued with them this year and took a few photographs. Capturing these tulips in a pleasing manner had its own challenges since the flower bed as a whole was not exactly beautiful with last month's spent daffodils situated just behind these lovely fresh flowers.

I decided to take a semi-abstract approach by composing very close and keeping sharp focus only on the tip of the closest petal and letting the rest of the flower and background fall off into a soft blur. By doing this, I also all but removed the location context of these images.

Interestingly, I made these photographs on the evening of the severe thunderstorm outbreak in central Minnesota. Luckily, we were not impacted by the storms, but the clouds to the east created some unusual light that was perfect for these images.

Tulips have an interesting economic history. "Tulip mania," as it is called, was a period in the early-mid 1600s in Europe in which certain varieties of tulip bulbs became extremely valuable in the marketplace, some reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars in today's dollar value. It is the first recorded economic bubble in human history. After reaching these lofty heights, their values quickly plummeted as it became evident that the extreme prices were quite irrational. Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania.