Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

There is nothing more musical than a sunset. ~ Claude Debussy

Nature paints works of art like no other.  Within the span of just minutes, the palette changes.  Colors shift, light dances.

Two Island Lake at sunset ~ Grand Marais, Minnesota

Winter continues its lingering goodbye in northern Minnesota with Spring competing for the landscape.  While the loons called out, always a welcome sign of the shifting seasons, the snow on the edge of the lake provided a foundation for the fading light, taking on hues of gold, blue and violet.

An extra element was placed on the canvas in the open water closest to shore.  From the start of sunset until the last light disappeared, a delicate film appeared on the water’s surface.  Ice crystals were reforming with the help of the frigid water and crisp evening air, as if Mother Nature was tucking her lake in for the night with a gossamer blanket.

Sunset on Two Island Lake ~ Grand Marais, MN

The scene at sunset was made even more sweet by the fact that we had endured a damp chill for most of the day with heavy cloud cover and even snow flurries. But, a day full of art made it worthwhile.  Two friends and I arranged a photography workshop with Bryan Hansel of Bryan Hansel Photography, a photographer from the Grand Marais area whose work I have admired for some time.  In fact, he beat me to it in posting a photo from this lovely sunset on his Facebook page, and sharing the wonder of watching the ice crystals spread their way across the water in the fading light.

After gathering in the campground shelter at Cascade River State Park for a slide show on some DSLR photography basics and techniques, we enjoyed a short hike to the cascades for which the park is named.  We learned how to apply our newly expanded knowledge of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal length and more to the always-stunning beauty of Minnesota’s scenery.  With the insights Bryan imparted, the hands-on workshop allowed us to create our own works of art ….

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

For more information on the photography of Bryan Hansel, or if you are interested in taking one of his photography workshops (highly recommended!), visit his website.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. ”Work of Art” 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.

 

 

Geocaching in Cascade River State Park

When we meandered to the northern tip of Minnesota at the end of September, following the North Shore of Lake Superior (as I shared in this post about Grand Portage State Park and this post about Judge C.R. Magney State Park), we also stopped by Cascade River State Park.  This multi-park day trip was motivated by the Minnesota State Park’s “Geocaching Avian Adventure” that began in June 2012 and goes until June 2014.

Waterfalls of the Cascade River ~ Cascade River State Park, MN
Waterfalls of the Cascade River ~ Cascade River State Park, MN

Perhaps you are not familiar with geocaching?  The website geocaching.com is the “go to” resource for people new and old to the hobby of geocaching.  But rather than my trying to explain to you what geocaching is, or how to “go” geocaching, here is a two-minute video put together by geocaching.com that concisely explains this activity enjoyed by so many people:

 

And, now back to our regularly scheduled programming. . .

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

Cascade River State Park has some trails that climb to stunning overlooks of the Sawtooth Mountains (we use the term “mountain” loosely in Minnesota).  The geocaching coordinates took us to a loop that started at the cascading falls, and then turned back to go along the river upstream from the falls.

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

This geocache at Cascade River State Park was the 5th find for my son of the 82 geocaches that make up the “Avian Adventure” — completing the adventure may be a bit ambitious, given our schedules the next couple years, but we will have fun trying when we do have time!

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

Geocaches can be cleverly hidden, and the one in Cascade River State Park did not disappoint.  I will not give away the precise location, though, so the next geocacher can enjoy finding it as much as we did.

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

Any other geocachers out there?

Ciao! ~ Kat B.

Judge C.R. Magney State Park: More than Devil’s Kettle

Many of Minnesota’s beautiful state parks become known for one particular feature or trail.  In the case of Judge C.R. Magney State Park, the Devil’s Kettle waterfall is usually the “can’t miss” sight.  When the water is running high, as it was when I took the first few photos back in the fall of 2007 (and never again have I managed to properly set my camera to capture the rushing water blurred just so!), it is exhilarating to hike the narrow path — going up and down the steep wooden stairs, and then standing at the edge of the falls and feeling the water spray as it mysteriously streams into a large opening in the rock, seeming to disappear into the depths of the earth.

Devil's Kettle Falls ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

Brule River ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

The falls empty into the Brule River which winds its way through the rolling hills, just northeast of Grand Marais, Minnesota.  Judge C.R. Magney State Park is not a heavily traveled park, particularly if you wander off of the main Devil’s Kettle trail.  Many years ago, my husband and I camped at the park, which has several lovely spots for tent campers.

Brule River ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

This fall, during autumn’s last hurrah at the end of September, we headed to Judge C.R. Magney State Park to capture our fourth geocache in the Minnesota State Park’s Avian Adventure.  The activity led us to the Timberdoodle Trail, a short self-guided loop which had many interpretive markers along the way.

Timberdoodle Trail ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

Leaves were not only past peak in color, but thinning out significantly as we walked along the leaf-strewn path.  The almost-barren birch stood like sentries on either side of the trail, marking our way.

Timberdoodle Trail ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

Whether you take the classic river trail, or meander along a forest path, Judge C.R. Magney is a state park where you can enjoy peaceful solitude.

Ciao! ~ Kat B.