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

Photo Journal & News

Monday, April 6, 2015

New Photographs from Lake Superior and the American West


I hope everyone's year has been off to a good start! This is my first photo journal update for the year, so it is packed with new images to share with you. Most I captured within the past year, but a few were made in 2013 or earlier and only processed and released recently. The photographs are shown in no particular order.

For those of you interested in my art fair schedule, it will be made available within the next few weeks (you will get another message, if you subscribe to my updates). There are still a few unknowns in the schedule that should be more clear by then. If you'd like to know whether I will be at a specific event before that time, please feel free to contact me.

Also, if you are on Facebook and would like to also follow my work there, please like my page at www.facebook.com/NorthShoreImages.

Now, the images...

Rock Candy – Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

The slot canyons of the southwest offer some of the most spectacular examples of glowing color created by reflected light. Lower Antelope Canyon exemplifies the convergence of color and formation created by these canyons. In this case, sunlight enters the slot and bounces off of the sandstone walls of the canyon, producing color ranging from near blue to contrasting orange and yellow.

The slot canyon continually takes on a different character throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. I don't think I could ever tire of walking though and photographing it. Even if I didn't make photographs, there is a sort of spiritual experience that I feel when I spend time here. It's kind of like candy for the soul!

At the Heart of Second Beach – Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

I made this photograph last spring on my first visit to Second Beach on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. While I didn't experience an epic sunset by any means, my introduction to this spot was plenty grand!

After a several hour drive from the Columbia Gorge, I arrived (later than I would normally prefer) just as the sun was setting. As day transformed into twilight and the light became ever more sublime, I found myself in front of a bed of seaweed that bordered a residual tide pool in the sand. What the sky lacked in colorful clouds was made up for by a magnificent crescent moon above the beach's most iconic sea stack.

After making a several images, I briefly met renown photographer Dreamscapes by Ian Plant, who was leading a photo workshop in the area. I was surprised to learn that he had recently relocated to my home state of Minnesota.

It was a magical evening at perhaps one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever visited!

Fresh Snow Sunrise – Two Harbors Lighthouse Point, Minnesota, USA

I spent a morning this past February making a few photographs on Lighthouse Point in Two Harbors, overlooking Lake Superior. There was a lot of stacked plate ice adorning much of Minnesota's shoreline around that time. A snowfall occurred the evening before I made this image, so the ice itself wasn't very photogenic. As the color on the horizon was building, I quickly searched the area for a suitable composition and was drawn to some patches of grass poking through the fresh snow.

At first glance, this scene could look like one from a white sand desert if you didn't see the ice and lake in the distance!

Twilight Falls – East Branch Baptism River, Minnesota, USA

 The rivers that drain toward Lake Superior's north shore contain many dozen, if not hundreds, of waterfalls. Many of these are rarely, if ever, seen by people. I would categorize this one as a "rarely-seen" falls. I made this image on an October evening as dusk was fast approaching.

A lesson for me and other photographers: make sure you always know where your focus point is located. In my haste to make this image, I focused (or left my focus) too far into the scene. This left the foreground rocks a bit softer than I would have liked. Normally, I am quite obsessed about my focus throughout the frame, but working quickly in the fading light must have led me to make this error. However, I still like the mood this photograph conveys.

Alien Dusk – Stud Horse Point, Arizona, USA

In an off-the-beaten-path location on the Colorado Plateau, a bizarre set of seemingly improbable balanced rocks, known as hoodoos, tower over a landscape that could resemble the surface of an alien planet. If it wasn't for our understanding of how erosion has worked over millennia to create these unusual forms, it would be easy to think of these as the creations of some ancient intelligent life form!

This is a new image I captured two years ago and recently processed.

Let There Be Light – Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

The slot canyons of the Southwest are some of the most sublime natural wonders anywhere on Earth. Antelope Canyon in northern Arizona exemplifies the beauty of these narrow Navajo sandstone passages, sculpted by occasional flash flooding that has occurred over millennia.

I captured this image nearly two years ago in Upper Antelope Canyon and just processed it recently. Photographing this particular canyon is challenging for two reasons. First, because of the high walls and narrowness, the canyon interior is relatively dark in most areas, except for spots with sunlight peering in from above. This results in extreme differences in light intensity, which can be difficult to record in a photograph. Second, due to its unparalleled beauty and relative accessibility, the small space is enormously popular among photographers and sightseers, making it nearly impossible to make an image without someone else appearing in the shot. With some skill and a little luck, I was able to bring this one back!

The East Face – Palisade Head, Minnesota, USA

This 200-foot sheer cliff overlooking Lake Superior, an exposed section of rhyolite formed about one billion years ago by the Midcontinent Rift System, is a favorite of rock climbers. It's also a fine location for the less-adventurous looking for one of the best views of this Great Lake. Its highest point is about 300 feet above lake level.

I made this image during the fall of 2011 and just processed it for the first time recently.

Red Sky at Morning – Grand Marais, Minnesota, USA

The ancient rhyme, "Red Sky at Morning" has been used as a rule-of-thumb by mariners for centuries to forecast the weather and sea conditions. While modern tools have made for more accurate prediction of the atmosphere, this rule-of-thumb remains a fairly reliable indicator of whether an impending storm or fair weather is on the way.

Red sky at night, shepherd's delight.
Red sky at morning, shepherd take warning.

or the more popular variant...

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.
Red sky at night, sailors' delight.

This is a new image from this past fall.

In Flow – Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota, USA

This is a brand new image that I made last fall at High Falls of the Baptism River on Lake Superior's north shore. At about 60 feet, this is the highest waterfall located entirely within Minnesota's borders. On the border with Canada is High Falls of the Pigeon River, about double the height of this falls.

Alpine Eruption – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Last summer.
The mountains called.
I went.

They delivered.

Late last summer, I snuck away between art fairs and spent about a week in Glacier National Park. Conditions in the park made for great photography. Just before I made this image, I happened to be photographing a nearby subject in the direction of the sunrise. I turned my head to find this scene unfolding behind me. An important lesson in landscape photography, particularly when making photographs at sunrise and sunset, is to keep an open mind and prepare to compose your shot toward the best light. Sometimes, it all comes together...behind you!

The peak in this this image is Mount Grinnell, located in the Many Glacier region of Glacier National Park.

 Swiftcurrent Sunrise – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Often referred to as the "Crown of the Continent," Glacier National Park's beautiful alpine landscape has few rivals. When the atmosphere cooperates and provides amazing light, epic photographs can be made. I particularly like the moody pre-dawn light, as well as the directional flow provided by both the Swiftcurrent River's rapids and the intensely-glowing clouds in the sky.

I have several more images from Glacier National Park that have yet to be processed. Stay tuned for more from this beautiful landscape.

Edge of Dusk – Horseshoe Bend, Colorado River, Arizona, USA

This is a re-process of an image that I captured in the spring of 2013 and originally released about a year-and-a-half ago. My processing techniques and sensibilities have become more refined since then, so I decided to give this image new life.

Over 1,000 feet below the edge of this cliff, the mighty Colorado River makes a distinctive horseshoe-shaped meander through Glen Canyon as it flows its way downstream toward Grand Canyon, some 50 miles to the south.

Quiet Dawn – Grand Marais, Minnesota, USA

This image from early October along Lake Superior's north shore almost didn't happen. Before the sun broke the horizon, a rather thick fog completely blanketed the lake. The fog hung around for several minutes after the sun rose while I patiently waited to see if the golden light would break through. Oftentimes, the best landscape photographs are made during the most challenging and seemingly improbable conditions. The sand in my glass nearly ran out, and then this happened.

Morning Surf – Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota, USA

When I wake up early and set up my camera at locations like this, I usually hope to see an amazing show of light from the sunrise. While an explosive sunrise would have made this scene extraordinary, I do like the rather stormy mood exhibited by this image.

Basalt & Surf – Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota, USA

Sometimes I find beauty in more subtle, less dramatic landscapes, such as this one looking out over the great expanse of Lake Superior. The gentle crashing surf over the volcanic basalt rock added a dynamic element to contrast with an otherwise peaceful scene.
Lucky Light – Central Minnesota, USA

A few weeks ago, on St. Patrick's Day, we had a spectacular display of aurora borealis. This was one of the best displays of northern lights I have seen in at least a year. I have never seen the red hues as intense as they appeared on that early morning . I didn't spend much time out exploring, so I didn't get too creative and pretty much just sought an unobstructed northern sky.

Some of you may remember that the aurora made an appearance exactly two years ago to this day in the northern USA. Must be something about St. Patrick's Day...

The Road North – Central Minnesota, USA

Here's another from that morning, this one with more foreground interest that leads the viewer to the glow on the horizon.

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