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

Photo Journal & News

Sunday, December 1, 2013

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.

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