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

Photo Journal & News

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"The Light of Love" - Holiday Greetings

"The Light of Love" - Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Merry Christmas everyone!

During the next several hours, many people around the world will pause to reflect on some of life's most important qualities: peace, love, friendship, and family. Stores and businesses, some that are open every other day of the year, will close and as many people as possible will be with loved ones or spending the holiday as they choose. However you choose to spend the holiday, please think about the "workforce footprint" you leave and whether your activities are important enough to necessitate another person to be working and away from his/her loved ones.

The sanctity of this day was epitomized by the many Christmas truces that occurred along the Western Front during World War I in 1914. Fighting on many of the front lines unofficially stopped, and soldiers on both sides mingled and exchanged gifts. While it's hard to imagine something like this happening during one of the world's bloodiest conflicts, it exemplifies the power of a man's heart to outshine his fists.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who supported my work during the past year. This was by far my most successful year as a fine art photographer, and this could not have happened without so many loyal customers and followers of my work. Thank you!

David Barthel

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Art at Ramsey and Newly Released Images

Happy holidays! I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. It has been quite some time since I last posted to my photo journal and sent out e-mails. If you are receiving my photo journal e-mails for the first time, welcome! For more frequent updates regarding my photography, please visit and "Like" my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NorthShoreImages.

I have one more art show remaining for the season - Art at Ramsey. This show takes place inside Ramsey Junior High School between Summit and Grand Avenues (just west of Macalester College) in Saint Paul, MN. Click here for a map. I will have some of my newest work as well as a few discounted display pieces available, so please come visit if you can!

Art at Ramsey takes place this Saturday, December 7, from 10am - 5pm. For more information, please visit http://www.artistscircle.org/artfairs.php.

Newly Released Images from Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the American Southwest

"Solemn Surf" - Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior, MN

This image was made on the evening of November 10 during Split Rock Lighthouse's annual beacon lighting, commemorating the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald 38 years ago. I have attended this event every year since 2005 and have seen the beacon lit on at least twenty-one separate occasions (many of them not on Nov. 10).

During this year's event, the lake was a bit more agitated than usual. I composed this image to illustrate a very small example of the fury that has made this an important and solemn day for Lake Superior mariners.

"Pewit's Nest" - Pewit's Nest State Natural Area, WI

This little canyon along Skillet Creek in south-central Wisconsin, known as Pewit's Nest, is a photographer's paradise in the fall when the leaves from the massive canopy of maples change color and drop onto the ledges and into the pools. Eddies within the slow current of the pools are revealed by floating surface leaves during long exposures with the camera.

"Fall River and Foliage" - Superior National Forest, MN

The afternoon sun shines into this intimate section of the Fall River in early October.

"Cedar's Rest" - Fall River, Superior National Forest, MN

Rock, water, and hardy, weathered trees are among my favorite elements to photograph, and most all of my images contain at least one of them. Sometimes all three are present, as in this photograph from the Fall River.

 "Honeymoon Sunset" - Honeymoon Bluff, Superior National Forest, MN

I must admit, to date, I have rarely ventured up the Gunflint Trail to make photographs. I seem to always be preoccupied with subject matter closer to the big lake, with the Gunflint Trail often an afterthought or on my 'someday' list. On an afternoon this past fall, I decided to deviate from my routine and drive halfway up the Gunflint to a short trail leading to the majestic overlook of Hungry Jack Lake known as Honeymoon Bluff.

Despite having known about this location for several years, this was my first visit. Lingering clouds provided for a sunset that would satisfy almost anyone spending a honeymoon up there!

"Driftwood Dawn" - Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, MN

I love finding distinctive pieces of driftwood along the shores of the lake. I stumbled upon this one during a sunrise photo shoot this past October. This piece of driftwood was likely beached here during the storm on October 5 that churned Lake Superior's waters. Have you ever wondered how far driftwood and other items have traveled before being washed ashore?

"Fly Me to the Moon" - Stud Horse Point, AZ

This image comes from an out-of-this-world location near Page, Arizona. Here, oddly-shaped rock formations known as Hoodoos (yes, that's a word!) dominate the landscape. That, in combination with the white bedrock and soil, made it seem like I was on the moon. Watching the full moon rise that evening reaffirmed that I was indeed just at an unusual location on Earth!

"Teardrop Arch" - Monument Valley, UT

Monument Valley is best known for its clusters of partially eroded buttes and spires, forming an unmistakable natural skyline that can be seen from miles away. Teardrop Arch, on the side of one of the buttes, provides a unique view of several distant sandstone monoliths. Getting to this location required hiring a Navajo guide who drove me in his 4WD pickup along "roads" that I wouldn't dare attempt with my passenger car!

"Morning and the Mittens" - Monument Valley, AZ

When many people think of the American West, scenes from Monument Valley come to mind. Movie director John Ford, through his many Western films shot from this location beginning in the 1930s—many featuring legendary actor John Wayne—transformed it into an icon of the American West. It remains a popular setting for media productions to this day.

I had not even spent a full day in Monument Valley by the time I awoke to capture what would be this scene. Just the afternoon before, I was setting up camp at nearby Goulding's Campground in the company of a Navajo flute player. He shared his musical talent from a ledge on the mesa directly behind the campground. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to my time in the valley. American Indian flute music really calms the soul!

When my alarm (something that doesn't calm the soul!) awoke me the next morning, I looked out of the tent and saw the makings of a good sunrise—clouds! Clouds are common in Minnesota skies, but in the arid Southwest, the appearance of clouds is rarer. The clouds remained as the sun broke the horizon, allowing me to capture this scene of the iconic Mitten Buttes.

Monument Valley is a special place. It is a place where some Navajo choose to live the traditional lifestyle, a way of life far removed from modern technology and other conveniences that most Americans would never live without. It is also a place one can connect with the landscape and admire and record its beauty and historical context. That's what I set out to do while I was there and this image, I hope, exemplifies part of that effort.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Southwest Images and Welcome to New Subscribers!

It has been some time since I have posted new images here. I have been fortunate to have had a great art fair season so far this year and want to thank everyone who signed up to my e-mail list at the events. For more frequent updates regarding my work, please check out and "Like" my Facebook page: facebook.com/NorthShoreImages. Thanks!

New Photographs from the American Southwest

This past spring, I embarked on, what turned out to be, a very productive 23-day photo expedition to the American Southwest and Oregon. While I have many images yet to process from that trip, the following are some of the works I have completed during the busy summer show season:

"Winter's Last Stand" - Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

This photograph is among the first chronologically that I captured on the trip. I explored Dead Horse Point and found this scene after a night during which I set up camp in a snowfall. Yes, you know it was a slow spring when leaving Minnesota for Utah in mid-April doesn't take you away from snow!

The remnants of snow resting on the shrubbery were from the last snowfall I experienced this past spring, hence the title. The river seen below is the mighty Colorado River, which carves through the Grand Canyon over 200 miles downstream from here.

Portions of nine different shots were incorporated into this panorama to achieve a wider field of view with high resolution.

"Edge of Dusk" - Horseshoe Bend, near Page, AZ

Horseshoe Bend is one of the icons of the Southwest where the Colorado River, deep within Glen Canyon, makes a nearly 360° meander in the shape of a horseshoe. I was fortunate to be there on a gorgeous spring evening, standing at the edge of a 1,000-foot precipice, to view the sun set over this stunning geologic marvel. Some people seem to experience acrophobia (fear of heights) while standing near the cliff's edge. I didn't — but then again, I kept a safe distance and didn't stand on any questionable ledges. This image was made by manually blending two consecutive exposures for increased tonal definition.

"Antelope Dream" - Lower Antelope Canyon, near Page, AZ

One of my favorite subjects to photograph in the American Southwest is the slot canyon. These canyons, formed by erosion of Navajo sandstone from flash floods, contain some of the most beautiful and unusual geologic formations on Earth, as well as amazing light! Sunlight bounces off the swirling sandstone walls of these deep and very narrow canyons, creating peach, orange, red, pink, and violet hues that are a feast for the eyes.

"Profile of Light" - Canyon X, near Page, AZ

Canyon X is a slot canyon that, in many ways, resembles nearby Antelope Canyon with its smooth and intricate sandstone formations within a deep, narrow chasm. One thing that sets this canyon apart from Antelope Canyon is the lack of crowds, due to its more remote location and the need to hire a guide to drive you there in an off-road vehicle. Due to its location on Navajo land, it is also off-limits to unaccompanied visitors.

 "Weeping Heart" - Canyon X, near Page, AZ

In addition to a knowledgeable Canyon X tour guide, I was in the company of a fine couple from Michigan, who pointed out this distinctive geologic formation. It's interesting how we can find some of the emotions we feel at times as human beings expressed in nature.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Lake Effect" to be Exhibited at the Minnesota State Fair

My photograph "Lake Effect" was recently juried into the 2013 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition.

I made this image on a -10°F morning at Brighton Beach in Duluth. This photograph portrays the sun peering through the fog that rises from Lake Superior when the air temperature falls to well-below the lake's surface temperature.

The State Fair's Fine Arts Exhibition, open for the duration of the fair, features the works of Minnesota artists in a variety of media. It is located in the Fine Arts Center, just north of the 4-H building on the east side of the fairgrounds.

Typically, about 15% of artwork submitted each year to this juried competition is selected for display. The last, and only other, time I've exhibited in this show was in 2010 when my image "Watchdogs of the Prairie" was selected for display.

If you go to the Minnesota State Fair, be sure to check out the works of the many talented artists on exhibit in the Fine Arts Center!

Upcoming Art Festivals

I want to thank everyone who visited me at the art fairs this summer! Your support and interest in my work is very much appreciated! As we enter the second half of the art fair season, I'd like to take this opportunity to extend a 5% discount offer for any purchase made at one of the remaining shows this year. Just mention the "newsletter/blog discount" when purchasing.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Upcoming Twin Cities Art Festivals

Art festival season is upon us! For those of you in the Twin Cities who would like to see and/or purchase some of my work, the opportunity is here! I will be at four great Twin Cities art fairs during the next four weekends. From my effort to make room for newer work, expect to see some nice discounts on older pieces. In addition, mention this post when purchasing at any of these four events and receive a 5% discount on your entire purchase! (Click on the links for more info about each event.)

Website Facelift

Regular visitors to my website and photo journal will likely notice a new look. I recently launched the first major cosmetic upgrade to my site in nearly three years...long overdue! Improvements include a reconfigured gallery structure, improved navigation between galleries, less text clutter, and a more refined look and feel.

Feel free to take a peek!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Announcement: 2013 Show Schedule

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who visited my photography booth at art festivals in 2012! Your interest in my work is very much appreciated!

The following is my list of confirmed shows so far for 2013. This list will be permanently accessible using the "Show Schedule" link on my website and augmented with additional events as I am juried into them. These are great opportunities to see and purchase my latest work in person...please come visit!
*I am currently on a waiting list for a location at Art Fair on the Square in Madison, WI during the weekend of July 13-14. In the likely event that I do not get called from their waiting list, I will be showing at Brookings Summer Arts Festival in Brookings, SD.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Images from Grand Teton National Park and Mexican Hat

Here are a few images from the American West that I processed over the winter...

"Mount Moran and Mergansers"

I captured this image on an evening last spring in Grand Teton National Park. I wasn't treated to dramatic skies during my time in the park, but this image evokes a feeling of serenity, with the Mergansers paddling on the calm waters of Oxbow Bend as the last light of day slowly slips away.

 "Chapel and Cathedral Group"

Like many people, I find a certain appeal in rustic structures from an earlier era, especially those exuding beauty for their simplicity.

I captured this photograph of the Chapel of the Transfiguration last May in Grand Teton National Park. This chapel, built in 1925, actually predates the park it now resides within by four years and was constructed by local ranchers to serve guests and employees of the dude ranches north of Jackson, Wyoming. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the chapel continues to be utilized for weddings and some services.

 "Chapel of the Transfiguration"

This is the interior of the chapel. While inside, I felt a deep sense of serenity that was enhanced by the silence within and the rustic nature of the exposed log interior. Behind the altar, a picture window, seldom a part of churches and chapels, frames a magnificent view of the Cathedral Group of the Tetons, which is viewable through the window from near the front of the chapel.

 "Tetons and John Moulton Barn"

This photograph is also from last spring in Grand Teton National Park. This barn, once part of the John Moulton estate, is one of a few remaining structures that was built during the early 1900s along a string of homesteads known as Mormon Row. John's brother, Thomas A. Moulton, also built a homestead in this location, less than a half-mile south of this barn.

I rarely make black & white photographs. However, this scene, I thought, made good use of the format.

 "Mexican Hat"

This one was captured back in 2010 on my first trip to the American Southwest. This natural rock formation. located in southern Utah, is called "Mexican Hat" for a reason that should be visually evident. There is also a small village nearby that is named after this unique geologic formation.

This week, I will embark on a new photographic expedition to the American Southwest and Oregon. You can follow along on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NorthShoreImages) where I will regularly post images and updates from my iPhone.

Friday, March 22, 2013

New E-mail Format

To my e-mail subscribers: As you may have noticed, I have migrated to a new platform for delivering e-mail updates. Because this new platform does not require what was, in some instances, a rather awkward activation step during sign-up, for some of you, this may be your first message from me, even though you signed up a year or two ago. If that's you, I welcome you aboard (finally)! If you who have changed your mind since signing up, you may click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the e-mail.

For all others who have been already receiving these updates, the only noticeable changes should be cosmetic.

Thank you for following my work and enjoy!

David Barthel

St. Patrick's Day Aurora Borealis

It's been some time since we've experienced an active showing of the northern lights in Minnesota. Therefore, when I received the alerts for possible auroral activity at 3:15 AM, I quickly dressed, bundled up, and headed out into the crisp -8F darkness, all while a seemingly more sensible side of me was being tugged back to the comfort of my bed.

I drove to a location about six miles north of where I live in Sauk Rapids. Immediately after exiting the light of the city, I saw the unmistakable lights dancing in the sky. With colors ranging from green to blue to purple to red, the show of light lasted right up to dawn. The emerging light of day gradually overpowered the continuing auroral show.

Of the four displays of aurora borealis I have seen in my life (all within the past 14 months), in my opinion, this one ranks at the very top of that list for color and second for overall activity and dynamics.

What luck it was to witness this magnificent green light in the northern sky during the wee hours of St. Patrick's Day. I wouldn't have traded it for a four-leafed clover!

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Stoney Point Gold and Other Recent Work

Most people visit Lake Superior's north shore during the heat of summer and the brilliance of autumn, but those who can tolerate a little bit of arctic air and snow get to experience a truly exquisite winter treat! All of the images featured here were captured within about a 24 hour period.

"Stoney Point Gold"

The image above was captured on Stoney Point, just south of the village of Knife River. This little fishing cabin on Stoney Point has withstood the test of time, having been exposed to Lake Superior's elements for many decades. It is a testament to the rustic nature of Lake Superior's fishing past.

I've been to this location a few times and have always wanted to capture this historic cabin in the right conditions. All of the elements I was seeking came together last weekend.

 "Stoney Point Dusk"

This image was captured about 15 minutes later that evening as the sun set and the clouds took on magical pink and purple hues. You can even see a sun pillar and snow shower in the distance toward Duluth.

One important lesson I've learned over the years regarding photographing sunrises or sunsets is to stay around until it's completely over (or arrive early enough in the case of sunrises). Sometimes, you just don't know what will transpire!

"Lake Effect"

When it gets bitter cold, Lake Superior gives off steam — literally. On calm, subzero nights, this steam rises from the lake and hovers there until it is burned off by the sun's heat or wind carries it away. The steam occurs when the surface temperature of the lake is much warmer than the temperature of the ambient air above it. This is analogous to how boiling water creates steam by being much warmer than the air above.

It was around -10°F when I captured this image on the shore of Lake Superior at Brighton Beach in Duluth. The lake was a bit too calm for my liking, but with a little luck, one relatively large wave rolled in and allowed me to make the image I wanted.

 "Winter Light"

This image was captured on the evening of January's full moon. Typically, this would be one of the best nights of the year to see (or photograph) the full moon as it rises from behind Split Rock Lighthouse.

With the full moon having been visible at this location every January for at least the past five years, it has become well known among photographers as the most reliable night to witness this spectacle...that is, until Split Rock Lighthouse, in partnership with a photography instructor from Two Harbors, decided to hold a photography workshop for this January's full moon! Murphy's law at work...the moon didn't appear this time!

I must admit that I wasn't overly disappointed as I have photographed this moonrise enough times that it has become somewhat cliché for me, personally. I do, however, feel bad for the workshop organizers and participants who were hoping to catch a glimpse of Earth's natural satellite in such a majestic place.

To brighten everyone's evening, the lighthouse historic site manager and "keeper" did flip the beacon on, so everyone there could at least capture this rare January scene.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

First Light - Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse is both an easy and difficult subject to photograph well. Its ease comes from the fact that there are numerous vantage points along the shore that make for obviously appealing compositions. On the other hand, given the sheer number of photographs made here, it can be challenging to capture something fresh.

This image from last September is the result of a very deliberate effort of combining 18 individual frames into one seamless panoramic image with enhanced tonal range (meaning that no detail is lost, from the brightest highlights near the sun to darkest shadows in the rock crevices). The panorama blend allows for the image to be printed as large as 30"x90" (if I were feeling a little adventurous) without a significant reduction in detail, while the enhanced tonal range gives the image a "real world" appearance that would be impossible to capture with a single exposure. The result is an image depicting the first light of day, as I remember it, with exquisite detail throughout.

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