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

Photo Journal & News

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Holiday Greeting

"Shovel Point and Moonrise"

May the beauty of the holiday season bring you inner peace and warmth, as well as quality time with loved ones.

May there be peace on Earth and goodwill to all!

Merry Christmas!

David Barthel

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Art at Ramsey - December 1, 2012 - Saint Paul, MN

If you're looking for a unique holiday gift or something to enhance your living quarters, Art at Ramsey beckons! With over 70 artists selling their handmade and artistic creations at the Twin Cities' premier holiday art show, there is something for everyone. For the second year, I will have my photography on display and for sale. This event will also be my final on-site sale for the year, and I will be offering special discounts on pieces and presentations that I am retiring or that contain minor flaws.

Art at Ramsey is this Saturday, December 1 from 10am - 5pm and is located in Ramsey Junior High School between Summit and Grand Avenues, west of Snelling Avenue. More information is available at www.artistscircle.org.

Friday, November 23, 2012

November Gale - Split Rock Lighthouse

Every 10th of November, Split Rock Lighthouse's beacon, as most Split Rock aficionados know, is lighted in memorial of the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Great Lakes ore freighter that became a victim of Lake Superior's wrath on that day in 1975. All 29 aboard were never seen again.

I've stood on these shores on many a November 10th evenings in recent years and the weather on this year's anniversary most closely resembled what I imagine the conditions were like on that fateful day in 1975. Cold, wind-blown rain and mist accompanied several foot rollers crashing into the rocky shore.

Photographing in these conditions is, not surprisingly, also difficult. In between the inevitable episodes of cold mist gathering on the front of my lens, I managed to capture the rare combination of a lighted Split Rock and a rough Lake Superior.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Gale

"October Gale"

When I am making photographs on the North Shore in early October, my usual and primary concern is capturing the ephemeral beauty of the northern autumn.

On the afternoon of October 4th, my attention was abruptly shifted to Lake Superior's rapidly changing mood. In a matter of hours, calm waters were transformed into a fury of several-foot rollers brought on by gale-force winds in the range of 40-50 miles per hour. Winds from the southwest meant areas near Grand Marais were experiencing the brunt of this force due to the southerly-facing shoreline. Standing on the rocky shore and pummeled by spray from the violent breakers crashing ashore, I felt an incredible amount of exhilaration, being so close to Superior's wrath, as I made several exposures with my mostly plastic bag-wrapped camera.

"Lighthouse Breaker"

A few of the breakers even reached heights above Grand Marais' breakwall lighthouse. On a typical day, people can be found standing next to this lighthouse. That was not an option that afternoon.

"Stormy Evening" - Artist's Point

The stormy conditions continued that evening and into the night. As evening approached, a bit of sunshine filtered through the clouds in the distance, making for one of the most memorable scenes of the day.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Teton Dawn

The Rocky Mountains traverse much of the western interior of North America, but few of its peaks match the beauty of the Grand Tetons. The highest of the distinctly sharp peaks of the Tetons exceed an elevation of 14,000 feet, or 7000 feet above the valley of Jackson Hole. While this mountain range alone is magnificent, icons of the Old West, including near-century-old barns, chapels, and buckrail fence dot the valley landscape.

One of the most iconic of these landmarks is the historic Thomas A. Moulton Barn. This barn is part of the Mormon Row Historic District, a cluster of homesteads, including barns, corrals, and drainage ditches, built by Mormon settlers during the early part of the 20th century. The barn is all that remains of Moulton's homestead.

One day this past spring, as the early morning light from the rising sun first struck the Teton peaks and barn, I made this panorama by taking eight consecutive vertical exposures and later blending them digitally to create a very high resolution image. I could print this image on canvas to a length of 14 feet with little loss of detail. If you look very closely, you'll see a couple of horses in the far distance drinking from the stream on the left.

Another morning at Grand Teton National Park brought me to the banks of the Snake River at Schwabacher Landing. This particular location along the river is basically a beaver pond and typically calm, offering nice reflections of the Cathedral group of the Tetons. Again, I was rewarded with the best light just as the first rays of sunlight hit the peaks of the mountains.

I was drawn to this composition due to the many forms of symmetry present. The most obvious element of symmetry is due to the reflection in the river. There is also an approximate symmetry vertically down the center involving the peaks of the Cathedral group as well as the arrangement of the trees on the opposite bank of the river. Particularly interesting is the inverse relationship of the apparent size of these trees to the distant peaks moving from the center of the image to the side edges.

I captured many more photographs of this majestic national park this past spring and look forward to sharing more in the near future . . .

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Aurora Borealis

It's been some time since I last posted here as summer art festivals have kept me quite busy. I have been fortunate to meet a number of wonderful people over the past several weeks, some of whom are now readers of this photo journal. Thank you and welcome! I look forward to sharing my photographic journey with you.

It was during the weekend of the Grand Marais Art Festival in mid-July that something wonderful happened. A few days prior to the festival, the sun unleashed a powerful coronal mass ejection directed toward Earth. The consequence was a potential for a nice display of northern lights that Saturday night.

I had seen aurora borealis only twice in my life prior to this occasion and neither were great displays, so I was really excited to be in far-northern Minnesota for a potentially-stunning auroral spectacle. So, Saturday evening, after sunset, I drove inland from Grand Marais to a location along the Cascade River just a couple of miles south of the BWCA wilderness. Being a lifelong suburban dweller, my journey to this location seemed to nearly stretch the boundaries of what I consider "the middle of nowhere." As the sky fully darkened, the faint light of the aurora became visible and a bow in the northern sky. It was a pleasure to see, but it was far from extraordinary. With little more to see and thoughts of a long day Sunday with the art festival, subsequent tear down, and a five-hour drive home, I decided I would depart at midnight.

Suddenly, at about 11:58 pm, the sky exploded with northern lights with an intensity and shapes unlike I had ever seen. They were everywhere in the northern sky and even directly overhead. The lights were bright enough to slightly illuminate the landscape around me. Needless to say, I abandoned my midnight departure plans and put extra effort into capturing this amazing display. The lights danced and flickered long after I finally left this spot at 1:00 am in seek of a few hours well-needed sleep.

I often find it a treat if I can include more than one level of interest in my photographs. Here, I included the Big Dipper (part of the constellation Ursa Major) with the aurora display.

There were few red hues in the Aurora that night, but the blues made an appearance.

Overall, it was a wonderful couple of hours as a spectator of the northern sky. I wish I could have stayed out all night and enjoyed the auroral display. As with many of life's joys, it is both exquisite and ephemeral.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Announcement: 2012 Show Schedule

I'd like to thank my customers for making 2011 a successful first year for me in the art festival business. I am looking forward to an even better season this year, with a number of events added to my roster. The following is my list of confirmed shows for 2012. 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. If you can make it to one of these shows, please come visit and see my new work!

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    New Autumn Image

    Yes, okay - I'm a bit out of sync with the seasons here. But, as some of you probably know, I regularly post new shots taken at random times in the past and processed only recently.

    This image, entitled "Autumn Meander," was captured from last fall along the very-popular Oberg Loop hiking trail near Lutsen. The loop includes several expansive views of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains.

    I have captured many images from the scenic overlooks, but I also decided to make a photograph depicting a very small portion of the journey after seeing the potential of this particular spot. By this time, after having already spent a couple of hours photographing the overlooks, it was mid-morning. The sun was rising higher in the sky and the forest was aglow with colors ranging from green to yellow to red. This would be my last image of the morning.

    To paraphrase a often-quoted proverb: In a life filled with goals and destinations, never forget to enjoy the journey. It's often just as interesting and rewarding as the destination.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    Temperance River Sunrise

    There is something special about a sunrise. In our human view of the world, it marks the beginning of a new day and evokes thoughts of new opportunities. Viewing the sunrise from the edge of a calm Lake Superior strongly amplifies this experience. This image was made near the mouth of the Temperance River in Temperance River State Park, located approximately midway between Duluth and the Canadian border on Lake Superior's North Shore. The park contains some of Lake Superior's most scenic shoreline in Minnesota.

    Winter Moonrise Over Lake Superior

    Moonrises over Lake Superior are also quite a treat. This image was created near Brighton Beach in Duluth in February.

    I originally posted it only on my Facebook page to get some feedback before posting it here, as I wasn't completely sold on the image at the time. The response was affirmative, so I decided to add it to my online gallery.

    The many random designs in the ice and embedded driftwood log serving as a leading line to the moon are the key elements that, I think, make this image a keeper.

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Aurora Near Home

    It was not even one month ago when I saw my first view of the northern lights on Lake Superior's North Shore. I didn't think round two would come so quickly. This time, for better or for worse, I was at home. I knew, due to the highly-publicized nature of the solar storm that triggered these auroras, that I would be venturing out well after dark in pursuit of the elusive lights. This image was captured about five miles north of my Sauk Rapids, MN home.

    As with my previous experience with the aurora, the light was discernible with the naked eye with some faint color, but the camera was necessary to truly capture the color and brightness.

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    Water Slide - Morgan Falls

    Now that we have some semblance of real winter here in Minnesota (not to mention it's March already!), I suppose it's appropriate to start thinking about spring!

    We have had a very dry last half of 2011, so all of the new snow will be a boon to the rivers and those who enjoy viewing the rushing spring waterfalls.

    These photographs were made last year from the Wisconsin side of Lake Superior. The falls, known as Morgan Falls, is located about 17 miles south of Ashland in the remote Chequamegon National Forest.

    I found the form of this falls to be quite distinct. It is very narrow and cascades down what seems like a hiking trail switchback. The creek then curves sharply and tumbles down another cascade to a pool below.

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Split Rock Aurora

    I have always found the Aurora Borealis, also known as the northern lights, to be a phenomenon that has eluded me for most of my life — actually all of it — until Saturday evening. Pictured here is my first known view of the northern lights in my life!

    I first caught sight of the aurora while driving north from Two Harbors to Beaver Bay along Highway 61. It was not a particularly strong light show, but a test shot with my camera upon arriving at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park quickly revealed that this was the real deal and not just some clouds illuminated by distant city lights. Trying to contain my excitement, I quickly slid on my cleats, donned my headlamp, grabbed my camera gear, and dashed down the the dark trail to the lakeshore.

    The colors of the aurora were not easy to discern with the naked eye, but with a long (30 second) exposure, the camera allowed some of the dramatic colors to be brought out.

    The aurora was there, I was there, and I was thrilled!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Winter Storm Sculptures - Grand Marais

    With winter largely silent this year, I am glad that I maintain an archive of previously unreleased images to share, including this one from Grand Marais, MN. This image was made in January of 2011 during a winter that was quite the antithesis of the the current winter, with storm after storm pounding the region and ice-cold surf pummeling the North Shore.

    With the lake temperature near freezing and everything on land well below freezing, much of the water hurled ashore quickly froze onto whatever surface it made contact with. This included the rocky shore (cleats highly recommended when exploring!) as well as any trees and shrubbery. The ice-coated landscape, by means of wind and water, was an amazing work of art, made by the force of nature through a higher authority. I am pleased to share with you a small part of this icy grandeur.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    January Full Moon at Split Rock Lighthouse

    It's been quite an unusual winter so far here in Minnesota with unseasonably warm temperatures and a lack of that white stuff which half of us love and half of us hate. Photographers looking to capture classic Minnesota winter scenes have been out of luck thus far.

    In contrast, in the four years I have been photographing January's full moon at Split Rock Lighthouse, the moon has never failed to make its appearance. Like clockwork, the moon slipped above the horizon, on schedule, at 4:18 PM and continued its ascent as sunlight faded. As the sun set, the eastern sky took on a pink hue that seems to be most evident on these clear winter evenings.

    As daylight faded further, the pink transitioned to blue. This period of blue sky is known as the "blue hour" to photographers.

    It has been a goal of mine each year to capture the moon centered directly behind the lantern of the lighthouse as it makes its trajectory. This is somewhat challenging as there is only a small window of opportunity in which this shot can be made. Once the moon is above the lighthouse, it is too late.

    There is always a sense of awe in watching the full moon in the first minutes after clearing the horizon. Its apparent size seems to, at times, defy the imagination.