Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Return To North Dakota

As I write this-the winds here in Wisconsin are starting up and rain decided it was time to revisit once again.  In ten hours or so, Dave, one of my closest friends, Rick, Tenleys  man and labs Gracie and Barley, will begin our journey west.  In seven or eight hours of driving (if we're very lucky tonight- read: blow and snow) we'll arrive in Lehr ND.  This will be our fifth trip out west and every one brings excitement, laughter, friendship and memories.  There is a unique beauty there that I love.
This is also my chance to shoot a lot-with 12 guage and camera.  I usually make a photo book from the trip each year, and the guys love and charish that.  It feels good to share my images in that way.  At times I wonder what it would be like to just be a photographer during this annual hunt.  Sure would make things easier making good photographs.  The gun, shell, dogs and keeping a keen eye out for shooting (the gun) does hinder photography.

But, I guess if I only held a camera in my hands I would be an observer, and I really love being a participant.  So I do need to hold the gun, smell the burnt powder and harvest some game and hold them in my hands.  There is a difference....I can't really hunt with just a camera.
Dave in North Dakota

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Twangfest 2010

This is a photo blog, right?  So I'll post the most unusual photo I have here, but really this isn't about the picture.  Hmmmm maybe it is.  Twangfest will see its 27th addition in a few weeks and I'm pretty amazed the group of guys have kept at it all along.  It started when we all were in college in La Crosse (WI ) and we'd take Sundays to head up to Black River Falls to bow hunt.  Somewhere along the line, someone came up with the brilliant idea to make it a weekend and camp, hunt and just enjoy ourselves....and call it Twangfest.  The bow hunting part has always been very important, but also the chance to get together each year as brothers.  Over all these years this group of guys have seen jobs come and go, marriages, divorce,  children brought into the world and sadly some our parents leave it.  We're scattered now across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Tennessee, but still make the journey back each fall.  It's funny... in a good way, that it takes all of 2 seconds to feel like we've just been together, even though a year has past.  We jump right back into our close knit friendships.  I guess the picture does tell some of the story-music, skits, hunting, autumn and goofiness which all play a role in Twangfest.  I know for myself, as the air cools, trees turn color and the first squawking of blue jays ("THERE he is....there HE is!") start, I get excited about Twang getting closer.  It effects all of us during the year too, new purchases of gear, vehicles, and hunting clothes all have a sense of Twangfest in the back of our minds.  "This will be great at Twang!"
Not too many days to go now-better start packing.  I can't wait.
The 1987 Twangfest Brothers

Friday, October 15, 2010


So Molly is slowly recovering from her broken hip-it's been 8 weeks now and she seems to have turned the corner physically and mentally.  She is excited about life again, acting like a lab should.  It was really hard during her recovery watching her waste away, no energy, not eating, not being able to do the things a dog loves to do.  She still can't quite run, but she has a good little jog and trot and water is always one of her favorite things.  I liked the full color of this shot from a late afternoon hike in the woods.  Most of the fall color is going quickly, soon no leaves will remain, but a new season is around the corner. :)
Molly at Pond

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Twisty Branches

So I always have this contradictory feeling as fall slowly starts edging toward winter.  I love fall-the smell, the color, the coolness, the depth of feelings from years spent in Autumn woods.  But there is also an excitement around the corner-coolness changes to crisp cold and snow.  The real quality time with bow and gun starts soon and that is also such a part of me.  It's sad to see the color give way to the bare branch, but on a short walk yesterday I saw beauty in that also.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mythical Sunrises

So sometimes I get an idea in my head and finally have to act on it-sleep sure wasn't working.  So photoshop elements was loaded at eleven thirty and I pulled up the recent sunrise images again to work on.  Maybe it was something I'd read about Ansel Adams today...about "post processing" and if that was "real " photography.  We do call this "making a picture," right?  The author stated Adams once said that shooting the photograph was just half the work, and the rest was creating the image in the dark room.  So we're back to our darkroom, the computer.  I do understand in journalistic terms images can't be altered, but in artistic terms, anything goes.  I'm not doing anything original here-other photographers have selected areas, copied, pasted, stretched, tweaked to get their vision of an image.  I had done a technique like this many years ago, but for whatever reason the idea came back when I worked on the sunrises yesterday.
Not knowing which of the images really turned out the best (in my mind) I kept rolling them in front of my eyes.  I still don't know.  They look mythical or dreamlike to me- whatever that really means.  Sometimes it's fun to just really work an image, and this is what sometimes happens....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cave Point Sunrise

Sunrises and sunsets-I feel obligated to make pictures of them-they do stir the soul.  But...everyone does them.  It's a struggle to decide if I should or let someone else make those images.  In the end, I pressed the shutter because I made the effort to rise early, drive like a maniac to get to this location and manage to get lost.  By god, I was going to shoot this day!  Cave Point is just north west of Whitefish Dunes State Park and a photographers "got-to" location.  There were several other photogrpahers there when I arrived (after getting lost along the way!) who had been there since early morning.  It had looked like the light would be gone, but a distant cloud bank lifted and the morning light poured through.  It's amazing (and maybe shouldn't be) that I can take 50 frames and only have a couple "keepers" or images that I think are interesting.  So here are my sunrise pictures from an October morning in Door County.