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

Photo Journal & News

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Holiday Greeting

Magic of the North – Minnesota, USA (2014)

The tree is trimmed, the cookies are baked, and snow is on the ground (okay, just a tiny little bit). By official standards, we won't have a white Christmas this year where I live in Minnesota (neither did we last year), but at least the days are getting longer!

It seems not so long ago that I composed my last holiday greeting. Now a few years into my thirties (that ticked up one notch yesterday), it feels like years now pass like months did when I was a kid. Priorities have changed too. A wish list for more material goods have been (mostly) replaced by dreams of experiences, especially those that enrich our lives and the lives of others.

As the holiday hustle and bustle transitions to celebration and reflection this evening, I want to take this time to thank everyone for your support over the past year. It was my most successful year in most every measure. My goal with photography is to enrich the lives of others with my interpretation of the natural world through my lens. Your support, whether it is through purchasing prints of my work to display in your home or simply being an active part of my online community, helps give my life meaning. You are all like one big extended family.

Exciting experiences await us in the upcoming year, both for me and for you. I look forward to having you along for the journey.

My warm wishes to you on this Christmas Eve for a happy holiday season and peaceful Earth.


New Work

Here are a few images I've completed in the past couple of months...

North Shore Aurora – Palisade Head, Minnesota, USA

Every fall, I make a point of spending several days hiking and camping along Lake Superior's rugged north shore, usually in search of the ephemeral autumn colors that so gracefully adorn the region. Yet, so often it seems, my best photographs result from unplanned moments not related at all to the fall colors.

That was again the case one evening this fall. Around midnight, I was just about ready to crawl into my warm sleeping bag when I saw the telltale glow on the northern horizon...and it was bright! I knew that one of the highest points overlooking Superior happened to be just a few miles away. Minutes later, I found myself at the base of Palisade Head's one-lane winding road that leads to the top—head lamp, tripod, and backpack in tow. The gate was locked, as it usually is after dark, which meant a brisk quarter-mile hike uphill to the top was in order.

Over the course of the next two hours, I watched in awe as the magical light drifted and pulsated across the northern sky from my solitary perch at the edge of a 150-foot cliff. This image was made just before 2 AM, near the end of my two-hour-long stay. I used my headlamp to illuminate the nearby cliff face to add some context and dimension to the scene.

Gooseberry and the Galaxy – Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota, USA

I made this image on a clear, moonless night earlier this fall at Gooseberry Falls near Lake Superior. You can see the faint band of our own Milky Way galaxy above and to the right of the falls.

The part of the Milky Way visible above the falls is opposite in direction to the galactic core and therefore does not have the bright, highly-visible nebulae that you see in some images of our galaxy. It is rather more like a concentrated band stars with very faint visible gases.

To illuminate the falls in the darkness, I used my headlamp to "paint" light throughout the scene, emphasizing the most important areas.

Mountain Goat Gaze – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

As most of you may know, I typically shoot landscapes and rarely photograph wildlife, so this is something a little different from me. I happened to be in an area with several mountain goats meandering about and simply could not resist!

This one must be fairly young, as it's horns are just starting to develop. Or, maybe they shed and regrow them periodically...I don't know for sure.