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

Photo Journal & News

Monday, February 15, 2016

New Photographs from Minnesota and the American West

As a photographer who participates in numerous art festivals during the summer and fall, I often find winter to be the quieter and slower-paced time of the year. The hustle of hours on the road and setting up a big white tent is traded for the comparatively relaxed and deliberate pace of culling and processing new work from some of the best photographs I have made over the past few years. It's a balance that I've come to enjoy.

This winter, I have been a bit more diligent in completing new work than I have been in past winters. Below are thirteen new images, in no particular order, that I've completed since my last update in December. I hope to have at least that many more ready to go before the 2016 art fair season begins in May.

"Kawishiwi Falls" – Superior National Forest, Minnesota, USA

Last summer, I visited the town of Ely, MN for the first time to participate in the Blueberry Arts Festival. On two consecutive evenings while I was there, I visited these falls at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. On the first evening, the conditions did not cooperate for the image I had in mind, but it was good scouting opportunity for the second evening...when I was able to make this image!

I really liked how the curving cloud boundary in the western sky matched the curvature of the falls, albeit in an inverse fashion.




"Twists of Time" – Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California, USA

The bristlecone pine is considered to be among the oldest living trees on Earth, with some specimens believed to be over 5,000 years old. It is a humbling experience to walk among these ancient, weathered trees which thrive in some of the harshest environments, at about 10,000 feet in elevation in the White Mountains of California.

I had also anticipated doing some night photography in this location, but a couple of circumstances hindered that plan. First, clouds obscured the night sky for most of the time while I was in the area. Also, not long after making this image, I fell ill with what seemed to be a digestive bug and was pretty much confined to my motel for 24 hours. Despite my short visit to this grove, I was happy to bring this image back.


"Hidden Oasis" – Kanarra Creek Canyon, Utah, USA

The Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park gets most of the attention from photographers and visitors seeking a slot canyon experience in southwestern Utah. Kanarra Creek Canyon, while not inside Zion, is a hidden gem that is often referred to as a miniature version of The Narrows in Zion.

There are a couple of waterfalls within the canyon that can navigated by well-placed ladders and ropes. I wanted to venture further up the narrows when I was here last April, but the light was quickly fading. So, my journey that time ended at the base of the first waterfall where I made a few photographs.

Hiking this canyon was an awesome experience and is definitely on my list of places to return.



"Stone Wash" – Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, USA

Yes, nature's beauty and design can be found on the floor of a narrow canyon in the desert! I found this beautiful arrangement of stone while exploring the southern Nevada desert. When it rains here, which isn't very often, lots of water rushes through this narrow chasm. The patterns you see are sculpted by thousands of years of sediment-carrying flash floods.




"Til Death Do Us Part" – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Glacier NP is renown for its stunning mountainous landscape, of which I enjoy photographing. But, sometimes an interesting subject, soft ethereal light, and deep meaning converge at an unexpected place and moment.




"Triple Falls" – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

The area around Logan Pass could easily be considered the crown jewel of Glacier N.P. During the summer, snowmelt from the upper elevations cascades down innumerable slopes and into streams and rivers. In this spot, three small creeks cascade together into a large crevice before continuing downstream.



"Clements Mountain & Wildflowers" – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

This image doesn't have the stunning sky like the falls image above, but I like how the early morning light highlights the towering Clements Mountain.

During the months of July and August, while much of the country is sweltering in heat, it is springtime at Glacier NP's Logan Pass. Numerous wildflowers can be found blooming in the alpine meadows. The yellow and violet flowers seen here are known, respectively, as Broadleaf Arnica and Monkey Flower (yes, I had to look those up! :)).




"Ice & Surf"
– Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota, USA

I made the trek to Split Rock Lighthouse last month with hopes of once again seeing and photographing the annual moonrise behind the iconic Lake Superior lighthouse. The clouds did not part enough, for the 100+ eager photographers present, to get a glimpse of the glowing lunar orb, but there was still plenty to photograph, including a rare winter beacon lighting!

I found much beauty in the ice formations along the shore. There is a lot to take in within this image, but if you know some of the basic compositional guidelines, it really is an organized chaos.

For the photography nerds among us: the shore ice and incoming waves form a "leading line" that guides the viewer toward the somewhat distant cliff-perched lighthouse. "Counterpoint" is another technique used here to balance the composition. The subject of interest is the lighthouse, and the bottom-right cutout shape in the ice serves as a counterpoint. Finally, did you notice the similarity between the cutout shape in the near ice and the shape of the opening in the clouds above the lighthouse?



"Catalyst" – Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

Light, color, and form converge in a unique place on the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona. What more is there to say...it is a sandstone paradise!


"Surf & Sunrise" – Grand Marais, Minnesota, USA

I enjoy walking along Lake Superior and watching incoming waves wash over the ancient basalt shore. For thousands of years, the tempestuous lake has sculpted the volcanic rock into some of the interesting shapes we see today. This images is from Artists' Point in Grand Marais.




"Blazing Roof Ruins" – Cedar Mesa, Utah, USA

Scattered throughout the canyons of Cedar Mesa are several ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings that have survived for hundreds of years. This particular dwelling is colloquially known as "House on Fire" for reasons that should be obvious by viewing the photo. I have another shot from a slightly different vantage point that I'll show in the future that will make the name even more evident.

I chose this composition for how the pattern in the roof and the slickrock "steps" at the bottom left draw the viewer toward the ruins.

"Morning Rainbow" – Grand Marais, Minnesota, USA

How would you like to wake up to this?

As I was photographing the sunrise image at Artists' Point (two images up), I turned around to discover a brilliant rainbow over the Grand Marais harbor! I quickly repositioned myself and snapped a few frames before the rainbow quickly faded along with the delicate morning light.

Here's an interesting rainbow tidbit: if you imagine a rainbow completing the full circle below the horizon, the center point of that circle is exactly opposite, or 180 degrees from, the sun. That's why we don't see rainbows in the sky during the middle of the day. And yes, rainbows really are complete circles—we only see about half of a rainbow because of our usual vantage point in relation to the geography.




"Mobius by Moonlight" – Alabama Hills, California, USA

For this image, I used a combination of moonlight and light from my headlamp to illuminate this scene featuring California's iconic Mobius Arch in the Owens Valley, just east of the Sierra Nevada range.

I love looking up at the starry night sky, especially in a location like this where it is not only warm, but the landscape holds intriguing features!

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love your photographs! I am purchasing the Boreal Canyon for my mother for Mother's Day. I will also be purchasing a photo for myself but I can't decide between the Kawishiwi Falls and the Manitou Cascades! I plan on visiting your display at Park Point this summer.

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