Monday, June 28, 2010

Motorcycling Iowa

Following the Mississippi is one of my favorite routes on the bike (non-pedal bike) and will grab any excuse to ride though those river towns.  I love the history along the river and usually there are great roads nearby as well.  It was a  roughly planned a four day ride-starting in Augusa, then up and down the coulees north of Alma and then down to the river.  The route followed the river on the Wisconsin side, then across in Winona, and down thru MN to Lansing, IA.  From there up to Decorah.  One of those curvy roads you just want to go down and ride again.  Day two was back to the river and then up to Buena Vista and Ballville IA.  Downtown Dubuque is no fun, so a round about route led us to Clinton, and then the longest "town" in the Midwest-Quad Cities.  Muscatine IA was the 2nd stop.  Crossing the river again and into Illinois and skirting Moline then up to Savannah and a scenic route inland-like a roller coaster in many ways.  Galena was a drive around the downtown on a tourist packed Main St. and an escape to Potosi WI for fresh brew.  Onward to Prarie Du Chien and crossing back into Iowa along the west shore to Lansing again.  The run back into Wisconsin on the final day led to drying roads and clouds overhead, but still discovering new roads to ride and reasons why we have some of the best biking anywhere.

Miatkes Wheat field

So never put the horizon in the middle of the frame. Well, broke that rule.  There was a time when wheat was not very common in Wisconsin, but over the past few years it seems to be making a comeback.  My good neighbor to the north has planted it for a few years now and I love this time of the year when it begins to change color and ripen.  Since my morning drive this morning to Greenwood didn't produce a lot of good images, I thought I'd get the pups a good walk/run and bring the camera along.  This shot doesn't have a lot, but maybe simpler is better.  Worked for me anyway.
I missed the one picture when Ruger popped his head up to peer over the wheat, but this shot with his ears flopping along was nice too.  "Happy dog...happy dog..."

Rural Greenwood

Over the years the quickest way to get back to my hometown of Wausau is to buzz up cty G, which changes to cty O on it's way north to Hwy 29.  Each time I drive that early in the morning I see two old farmhouses with worn blue shingle roofs.  And each time I see them I think-I should make a picture of them.  Finally, I decided this was the day-hopped in the truck and drove.  I may have been a bit late-the early morning sun had already started climbing and those rich warm colors are fading quickly.  I stopped in the middle of the highway a mile from blue house #1 to watch a mature bald eagle lift up and get harassed by a flock of blackbirds.  He flew away too quickly for an image. (I did spot "him" again a few miles to the west on another road, this only it was the crows turn to bug him). When I pulled over to shoot this house, it just didn't have that...."look" I had imagined.  Maybe it would be better in winter, without the green?  I walked around and I guess I still don't have my fill of the wide angle lens yet.  After downloading it, the color did nothing for me and perhaps I was disappointed.  What to do? Delete?  Try black and white?  So the point of the picture was the blue roof and I, of course now get rid of all color. I knocked down the highlights and ended up with a halo around the roof-maybe that was okay and kinda of fitting.  Better luck next time.
Driving around west of Greenwood there are a lot of Mennonite and Amish farms and just places really off the beaten path.  While driving up a dirt road, I saw this human-like shape, but with a white head.  Curious, I turned around and just had to go back.  It ended up to be a welder by trade and just enjoyed what he came up with to advertise his location.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Clint and Heather Langreck

Weddings are sometimes filled with pressure, anxiety, excitement and fun...for the photographer.  I've photographed a few, mostly for friends.  I'm not so sure I want my photography to become work-something I have to do, but I have to admit, some of these have turned out well and I've been happy with the images and sometimes can be creative.  Clint and Heather are former students and outstanding track athletes I had the privilege of coaching years ago here in Neillsville.  They are just two of the best people I've come to know, so when they asked me to be their photographer, it was easy to say yes.
Knowing I'd be shooting this wedding long ago, it kind of gave me a good reason too upgrade equipment- a Canon 50D, a 80mm lens, a 10-22mm,  bags etc.  I found out quickly how important having two cameras along can be.  Just as the bride is about to be led down the aisle by her father, my camera stops shooting!-"CF Card Full!" in about two seconds, I tossed the backup camera down-ripped out it's card-slammed it into my shooting camera...just in time to fire off some nice shots of them finishing their walk to the groom.  Lesson learned-watch the display of images remaining.  It worked well to carry the 80mm on my main camera, and a 17-55mm on the other.  I wanted to shoot it documentary style as much as I could, but also had a "required picture" list from the couple.  That's expected and they gave me freedom to try locations wherever I wanted.  The wedding was at the High Ground, one of the nicest outdoor places around.  Partly cloudy day, so light was very good and it was later in the afternoon.  I shot around 700 images, so the past 2 mornings I've been editing them down.  Next on the work flow is a slide show which I'll get onto a dvd for them.  As always, you miss some shots, focus might be off by a tick, but more often than not, there are nice surprises when I downloaded and viewed them.
What follows are some of my favorites.
Heather and the flowergirl before the wedding.
Heather commented about how nervous she was and how slowly the clock moved as she waited for the guests to arrive.  Window light can be so great sometimes.
I find the lighting at wedding dances is so difficult to deal with.  The 50D has better low light control, but still it's dark in those halls.  I like the "slow sync" flash for dances-gives a lot of feeling of action-and all artsy-like.  Clint and Heather slipped out for a slow dance, and I noticed the candles behind them.  A couple quick shots with the lens stopped down worked well-I love this shot.
I loved their expressions-they were a couple that truly enjoyed the reception and this day.
The family and wedding party pictures were finished at the High Ground and we were all walking to depart, when Clint needed to catch his father-I quick shot this and it reminded me of some kind of stock wedding photo you find in those picture frames. ;)  It was hard to not take a great shot of these two.  Congratulations!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Shot a wedding rehersal (Clint and Heather) last night and needed to download a bunch of images, but decided to take a quick walk and just shoot some wild flowers down the road.  I think I shoot daiseys every year and am pretty ho hum with what I get.  To common?  Maybe.  I thought maybe the new lens would give me a different result, plus it was early morning light, dew covered everything and you won't get anything without pressing the shutter button.  The 10-22 allows really close in shooting, so if the focus is on, then the end result can look pretty nice.
I walked by these "Squiggle Stems" along the road and just smiled at the way they were all curvy-thought the color didn't help and this was more about line(s) so I changed it to black and white and it seemed to work well enough.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Originally uploaded by SJMeurett
So last night I spent a few hours of quality time labeling recently bottled wine. Raspberry, Cranberry and what I call "Wild berry." WIld berry is usually a yearly batch from whatever fruit I have left over from the previous year. In this case it was Cranberry, blackberry, rhubarb, some wild grapes, Whitney Crab and Raspberry. These mixed fruit wines come out pretty good sometimes-almost my favorite. One of the six cases here goes to the raspberry farmer-that was the deal-he supplies the fruit, I make the vino.
Oh, this is a photo blog! So I used the 10-22mm again, flash on to darken the cluttered basement background and.....well, that's all the photography going on in this picture.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blanche Grimes

I've been here before-just a few weeks ago, in fact.  I'm not sure why, but I stop by "Baby Blanche Grimes" grave in Columbia a few times a year.  It's known locally as the "Baby Grave" or in geocaching circles as "The Lonesome Grave."
Other detailed information on the grave site is located here:
Whenever I stop here, something is always changed-the toys, the flowers, jewelry, and perhaps that's why I stop.  If I'm riding mtn. bike, it's a quick rest on the top of a small hill, and just a few miles from Levis Mound.  Today, I had been laying out some new trails at Levis, was soaked, tired and thought a quiet minute here would be good.  I had my 10-22mm lens along and thought such a wide angle might be interesting.  Not sure I really like the photos, but thought they'd be interesting to post anyway.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blogger Updates via email

Sorry, but there seems to be some issues with how the blog updates look within  the body of an email message. I know in my Yahoo email, the pictures and text are all jumbled.  If this is the case for you, just click on:
"On-TheEdge" and it'll take you directly to the blog or click on the post title and it will take you right there.  Better yet-subscribe as a follower!  I love comments!

Black and White-the other Green

Out on a photo hike yesterday with Ruger and Molly.  Again, everything is green so I thought I'd just look for patterns, shapes, anything of interest that might be cool in black and white.  (I did shoot a white chipmunk along the way-pretty cool-see him on Facebook).  Ended up with these three shots.  The water drops really is what made them more interesting to me anyway.  The 85mm just does such a nice job on the close-ups.  Waiting for my Canon 50D and 10-22mm to arrive!

Monday, June 7, 2010


So Kirk has been one of my closest friends since college-we met thru curling, when my team played his in Wausau and later in LaCrosse.  A weird story about that first La Crosse Bonspiel, but too long to get into now.  We next met when I transferred to UWL in the fall of '79- we were in the same painting class I believe.  From there, I joined the La Crosse Curling Club, then we became roommates for several years.  Bow hunting, art, motorcycling all were common interests and we just have always been great friends.  Twangfest has been going on for 27 years now and started as a weekend camping bow hunting gathering.  I'm pretty proud that we all still get together for it each November and I think Kirk gets more geeked up than anyone about it-his military costumes and reenactments illustrate it!

Last week I had the chance to get on the river with him and Lynn for a cruise and was able to get some cool eagle and GB heron shots (in an earlier entry here).  Also some of him and a required sunset on the river shot.  You just have to sometimes you know?  Looking forward to the next time we tip a glass and have a good laugh.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

On the River

Had a great opportunity to get on the Mississippi River upstream from LaCrecent MN yesterday evening and had been anxious to make some photographs finally.  I'd had all good intentions during the day on my drive down to LaCrosse, but nothing made me pull the camera out.  Until here.  Kirk and Lynn and I worked our way downstream to an eagle nest, high in a cottonwood tree.  Three young eaglets  were there, but no adults.  I really couldn't get a decent picture of them (300mm not long enough and light wasn't there), but a Great Blue Heron did pull up and swung by the boat and I got off a few shots while panning-the end result was some "painterly" images, which I like.  They are pretty cool birds, but Grandfather Schultz used to call them "Shy-Pokes" or when the young ones were not around, "Shit-pokes."  Not sure why, but that's the common name I always knew.
Turning around, we headed upstream toward  lock and dam 6 at Trempeleau and saw an adult Bald Eagle in the top of a dead tree.  We moved in closer and he/she didn't seem to mind the attention.  Out of nowhere, a crow started harassing  it, which is pretty common.  Small birds like blackbirds bug crows, robins go after hawks, crows annoy owls and eagles.  It's kinda funny, because this eagle could have taken the crow out with a flip of it's little pinkie (okay, talon) had it wanted to.