Chasing the Auroras

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Autumn in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is magical.  The colors of the changing leaves here are unmatched and the weather can change in a heartbeat.  Once again this year I had the pleasure of traveling to the northwoods to photograph this fall foliage, but the highlight of the trip was photographing the Aurora Borealis over Lake Superior at Eagle Harbor. It had been more than two years since my last encounter with the Auroras and after several misses I was excited to witness this large and dramatic display. The first sign of them came shortly after dark on the night of October 6th but the lights never really developed . After waiting a couple hours I decided to get some sleep, setting my alarm to wake up every hour throughout the night. When I awoke for the third time at 3:30 am, I was stunned to look out and see a large green band high across the northern sky. The moon was to my right and behind me so it illuminated both the lighthouse and the rocks nicely – no light painting was even necessary.  Capturing the band of dancing lights in a single frame was difficult so I leveled my tripod and tilted my camera vertically to create a panorama.  I reshot this scene a couple of times to ensure I would get the shots I needed.  After this hour of incredible visuals the colors began to fade.  I packed up my gear, in awe of what I had just witnessed.
My memory card had a nice number of aurora images from that night but I particularly like this panorama because it demonstrates the drama and scale of the scene that was in front of me that night. This image is comprised of nine vertical images that were stitched together, creating this 66 megapixel image.
Camera Settings 15 seconds @ f/2.8 ISO 1250

Wagner Falls in Winter

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Although this popular waterfall near Munising has been photographed many times I always make a point to stop here. It is beautiful in every season but winter is my favorite, and this time I caught it after a heavy snowfall. After hiking through the deep snow which was thigh-deep in some areas, I was able to capture this beauty surrounded by a fresh blanket of powder. I spent some time trying to capture what I felt was the best perspective and this ended up as one of my favorites.
Settings: 1/2 sec @ f/13, ISO 50

You can view more of my winter images here.

Guess What Happens When Six Photographers Meet Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

My friend Aubrieta Hope is a great photographer and writer.  This week she wrote an article as the guest blogger for Pure Michigan, about our photo adventures in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this fall. Check it out and don’t forget to follow her on Facebook to see all her beautiful images!

2015 Michigan Calendar – The Perfect Christmas Gift

Today I realized that Christmas is only six weeks away.  Wait..what?!!  Don’t worry, I’m here to help.  My 2015 Michigan Scenic Calendars are for sale on my website, along with Fine Art Prints and Canvas Wraps.  A few simple clicks and you’ve got one more person crossed off your shopping list.  No driving through heavy traffic to get to the mall.  No long wait in a crowded line to check out your items.  Feeling better?  Glad I could make your holiday shopping experience a little easier.

To view the images in the calendar and purchase, click on the link below:!/p/calendars

2015 Michigan Calendar

This month I spent a few days in the Upper Peninsula with the goal of capturing the winter landscape in this rugged part of our state. One stop that I absolutely had to make was a visit to the Eben Ice Caves.

These caves are beautiful frozen formations located in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness within the Hiawatha National Forest. According to geologists, water drained from sandy loam seeps through the sandstone bedrock. As the temperatures drop, these intermittent “leaks” through the sandstone create ice stalactites over the entrance of undercuts in the exposed bedrock cliffs.

I walked around the area and shot for a couple of hours, trying to capture the cave’s size without having a person in the photo to show its scale. This was one of the last images I took that day and I hope it accomplishes that :)

Looking “Through the Teeth” of the Eben Ice Caves

Winter's WindowGrand Haven is far and away my most photographed lighthouse. Besides its somewhat close proximity to my home, the setting – the red inner and outer lighthouses on the south pier and the large sprawling beach adjacent to it – just feels right to me!  I typically go here for the sunsets, but on this day I set out early for some good morning light.  I have shot this lighthouse from just about every angle so today I  was wanting something different.  Framing up shots all along the pier, I attempted to incorporate the ice formations into the photo while still keeping the lighthouse as a prominent part of the image.  Nothing was looking right to me.  Finally, as I made it out toward the end of the pier I tried using the icy legs of the catwalk to frame the lighthouse in the center, which also has the lines of the catwalk and the largest icicle leading right to it.  One more thing that I liked was the morning light giving me a front-lit subject, it really made the red lighthouse stand out against that dark blue sky.

Winter’s Window