Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

What is my photographic muse?  It is that big, beautiful body of water called Lake Superior, a frequent subject of my photos and thoughts.  The shores of Gitche Gumee are ever-changing, and each season has its own character and allure.

Grand Marais Lighthouse

I have to give a nod to Bryan Hansel Photography, and an evening photo workshop I was fortunate enough to take from him yesterday in Grand Marais.  It was the kind of evening that reminds us why we put up with months of sub-zero temperatures and bone-chilling winds off the frigid waters of the Lake.  As we set up our tripods and adjusted to the fading light, the haze of campfire smoke and fog settled into the pine-covered hills rising from the shoreline.

Across the bay, the lights of the charming town of Grand Marais danced and twinkled across the calm waters.  The sound of bluegrass music from one of the local bars wafted on the air.  Rather than intruding on the peaceful scene, the notes blended seamlessly with the soft colors of the sunset.

Grand Marais at Sunset

The waxing gibbous moon illuminated the dark waters as twilight turned to night.  A loon’s haunting cry … the silent ripples from a beaver swimming in the bay … the night shift was starting …. my muse never sleeps.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Muse” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Afternoon Dose of Vitamin D

Breaking free from cabin fever seems to have been the theme this month with some of my fellow northern bloggers.  Earlier this month, Heather from “Our Adventures Up North” expressed the frustration of these often gray winter days, in this post, while Kathy of “Lake Superior Spirit” shared deep-winter thoughts from her side of the Big Lake, here, along with photos of the impressive ice fields resulting from the extended cold temperatures.

Saturday was a window of opportunity of sunshine and warmer temps for many of us craving them, and I was not alone in getting outside to soak up the much-needed Vitamin D.  Heather also enjoyed the beauty of the frozen outdoors on Saturday, from the shores of a different Great Lake, Lake Michigan (enjoy her writing and photos in her post, “A Day in the Sun.”)

Ellingson Island, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park houses both the historic site with the Lighthouse and a lovely set of trails and scenic campsites year-round.  Ellingson Island is located a short distance from the shoreline trail, and only seasonally accessible to foot travel.  In all the years of living in northern Minnesota and exploring Split Rock’s park and trails, I had never wandered onto the island itself.  While I noted the footprints crossing the frozen bay to the island, I initially took the conservative path where the points of land were closest to each other (as seen in the last photo).

Rounding the southern side of the island, the vast frozen expanse of Lake Superior stretched seemingly forever.

View from Split Rock's Ellingson Island

I shared with you a photo of my handsome outdoor companion in this week’s response to the Daily Post’s photo challenge, “Rule of Thirds.” While clambering over the snow- and ice-covered rocky shoreline on the eastern side of the island, we were provided an elevated view of the frozen bay extending to the iconic Lighthouse. Animal and human tracks criss-crossed the ice, creeping much closer to open water than I dared.

Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior

The icicles sparkled in the changing light, as the sun moved across the sky.

Icicles on Ellingson Island, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Corbin and I had planned to make a short stop at Split Rock before driving further up the North Shore to Temperance River or Tettegouche State Park, but we instead found ourselves enjoying a leisurely hike and simply appreciating the frozen beauty surrounding us.

Split Rock Framed by Icicles

The sun sank lower and shadows grew long.

Silhouettes by Split Rock

Soon, the sky began to glow a soft pink and purple with the sunset, and the forecasted return of bitter cold could already be felt in the air again.

Winter Sunset by Ellingson Island

“She felt an enveloping happiness to be alive, a joy made stronger by the certainty that someday it would all come to an end. Afterward she felt a little foolish, and never spoke to anyone about it. Now, however, she knows she wasn’t being foolish. She realizes that for no particular reason she stumbled into the core of what it is to be human. It’s a rare gift to understand that your life is wondrous, and that it won’t last forever. ” ~ Steven Galloway, The Cellist of Sarajevo

Ciao! ~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

My muse for the “rule of thirds” photo challenge … while enjoying a winter hike on Ellingson Island at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

Faithful Companion at Split Rock

Blue skies, warm sun …. even 15°F (-9°C) feels warm after a stretch of sub-zero days!  With another round of brutally cold wind chills and temperatures settling in this evening, a few hours outdoors was just what the spirit needed.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Rule of Thirds” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background

I had hoped to capture a shot for this week’s challenge while at the cabin this past weekend, but no such luck.  Pick had challenged us to:

Take a picture of yourself or someone else as a shadow, a reflection, or a lesser part of a scene, making the background, or — as in the example above — the foreground, the center of attention.

I turned to my photo archives from a few years back, and found this one I took while hiking at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park – just me and my shadow, standing on top of Day Hill looking toward the lighthouse.

Split Rock Lighthouse from Day Hill Overlook

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”In the Background” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Moonrise Over Split Rock

Remember how I mentioned that one of the privileges of being the driver is having the ability to decide where and how often we pull over for a photo op?  I admit to feeling a little guilty about this one, but how could I just drive by the highway overlook when I can see in my rear view mirror that the moon is rising over Lake Superior, just as the sky is turning pink with the sunset?!  Never mind that I have a car full of hungry people, including my parents visiting for the weekend, after we have spent the day hiking and geocaching at various State Parks up and down the North Shore, already running late for something we had planned that evening, with dinner deteriorating into an option between fast-food drive-through lanes another half-hour down the road . . .

Full Moon over Split Rock Lighthouse ~ September 29, 2012

The small wayside was full of folks, many with cameras in hand, all with faces turned toward the big, beautiful moon rising above Split Rock Lighthouse.  I have stood on this same spot many times.  I have plenty of photos of the Lighthouse from this same angle, taken at various times over the years.   Yes, one always has the ability to try to revisit scenes such as this through the lens of one’s memory.  But, to just drive by a scene like this and not try to capture it with the camera lens (even if that lens is only attached to a little Canon PowerShot SX130), seemed to suggest a callous regard for the magic the scene represents.

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

I suppose that is why I have many photos from this spot – different times of day, different times of year.  Each time I view the scene, I cannot help but admire the beauty of that old Lighthouse, standing so proudly on the cliff’s edge, looking out over the vast waters of Lake Superior, a graceful blending of the manmade and the natural.  Add the white light of the full moon, the soft hues of the sky surrounding it, and you have one of those moments where your senses remind you to stop and never lose that sense of wonder.

Ciao! ~ Kat